My family and I recently returned from a trip to the Dallas, Texas area. While we were there, one of the things that we did was went on a “money factory” tour meaning that we went to the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) facility in Fort Worth, TX and saw how paper currency was printed. I found it quite interesting and almost disturbing that the website for the US BEP is at moneyfactory.gov.
Fortunately, the tour was free which was a nice change of pace from having to pay admission prices for 8 people at some of the other attractions in the area. The security to get into the facility is much like that in an airport although I could keep my shoes on. There were no cameras or any other electronic devices allowed (like cell phones).
We started by watching a 15 minute film that explained the production and printing process. Then a tour guide took us through the facility to look down onto the printing floor and watch how the bills are made. We were counted at each stop along the tour even though we were in a contained hallway and not even close to the money. There were also plenty of security cameras.
Afterward, we took the time to look through the exhibits on the two floors outside the production area. It was a small little museum that had some history and explained the printing process in more detail. There is also a little gift shop as well.
All in all, it was a fun afternoon and very educational. I would recommend it if you are ever in the area. I would leave about 3-4 hours at most. It is not something that would require all day, but when the temperature is over 100 degrees outside, free indoor activities are great!
Now there are probably a lot of things that could be said about fiat currency, the Federal Reserve, inflation, etc. I plan on saving that for a different post in the future. If you want to offer up any comments on those topics, however, I am certainly willing to discuss.
What are some fun things that you have done on vacation, especially that were free?