While you are visiting Denver, CO, you have the opportunity to visit one of the few facilities of the United States Mint. While there are several places that produce money for the United States, there are only two places that offer tours - the one in Denver and the one in Philadelphia. It would be an excellent place to take the whole family and see where - and how - our money is made.
A tour of the Mint enables members of your family or group the opportunity to learn about the mint process, and see some of the history of the Mint. They get to learn about what it takes to make money. This includes the making of original designs, to the sculptures, and the actual striking processes in coin making.
The Mint in Denver started producing coins in 1906, but it did not start there. The current building is actually the third one that was handling money - often in gold and silver. In the early days of the Colorado Gold Rush, miners had no place to bring their gold. Businessmen opened the first building for the purpose of minting gold coins.
This business was later purchased by the government in 1863 - during the Civil War. It turned gold and silver into bars for the next 50 years - but no coins were made. Finally, in 1906, it began producing pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. For a while it also produced coins for Mexico, Israel and Argentina, but stopped in 1984.
Besides manufacturing the lower denomination coins, the Mint is also responsible to produce "proofs" for coin collectors and coins of special metals such as gold, silver and platinum. The Mint also produces official medals, too.
Tours allow people to go into the Mint and see the processes involved. They do not actually go into the spaces where the coins are being produced, but can view the processes from above. This allows visitors to be able to see everything going on unhindered.
Tours of the Mint are free. They are limited to about 50 people per tour and it is better if reservations are made in advance. Groups of 20 people or less can make reservations online, but groups between 20 to 50 people must call in their reservation. Although people may be permitted in who do not have a reservation (standby tickets are offered at the door), they may only be allowed in if another group cancels, or if there is room and the 50 person limit is not met. Reservations can be made online.
The United States Mint is under the auspices of Homeland Security and precautions are in force. This means that every person must go through scanners and many items are not permitted. They are rather strict and the list may change of what is permitted and what is not. Be sure to go online to find the current list. Backpacks are not allowed, nor are carry bags - including diaper bags, to name just a few. Cameras are not permitted.
A gift shop contains a number of items, especially those that encourage saving and collecting coins. Other merchandise relating to the Mint is also available, such as T-shirts, books, and piggy banks. No coins are sold at the gift shop. All collectors' coins and sets must be purchased online.
Tours are given on an hourly basis. They are offered from 8 AM until 2 PM on Monday through Friday. The United States Mint in Denver, CO is wheelchair accessible. In the event of a Homeland Security Code Level Orange, the Mint will not be open for tours.