A great numismatic place to visit(especially if the ANA's shows and museum are normally too far away to be practical) is a United States Mint facility. Recently, I visited the Philadelphia mint with my family. Granted, I probably enjoyed it the most being the numismatist of the immediate family, but for the majority it was a great experience. Now I shall endeavor to walk you through our trip through the three-floored visitable area of the facility.
The start(and later, the finish) was in the lobby. After passing through security, we were greeted by a large screen on the opposing wall upon which various enlarged coins falling endlessly were projected. In various places beautiful Tiffany Glass mosaics adorned the wall, all pertaining to the mint and it's coinage. Several different helpful brochures were available on a stand below the falling-coin screen. The lobby also contained what is dubbed the, "Collectors Corner". Numerous examples of brilliant coins and medals from the mint were on display. A St. Gaudens double eagle(though sadly not a ultra-high relief or high relief), current American Bullion coins, and the Oregon Trail commemorative are just some of the items viewable. Strangely, there was no examples of a Liberty Walking half-dollar(apparently the world has yet to agree to operate precisely to my standards). One final note before heading to the next level; One of those change machines, which bills for quarters, was available in the lobby, and it only dispensed the most recently released quarter in the America the Beautiful series, at the time the quarter honoring the War in the Pacific. The first level, the lobby, was a pleasing one.
Now for the second level, the mezzanine(which hopefully I am spelling correctly). By the balcony overlooking the lobby was a coin timeline. Cleverly thought out, the concept is that you pull a coin from your pocket/purse/wallet, and see what happened on it's date on the timeline. Displayed all around the mezzanine are various historic artifacts from older mints and older mint machines. Early counters and weighers were among the interesting throng. Depictions of early equipment and explanations of the examples were also available. Additionally, various coins, including several that were the result of "Teddy" Roosevelt, were viewable. Another place to visit on the mezzanine is the Rittenhouse Theatre(or was it Theater?). An amusing six-minute film was played, which involved the development of our coinage by the founding fathers. The mezzanine certainly is an entertaining one.
For the final floor it is now time to explore. Set up in a walk-through path manner, it is organized such that as the name suggests, you walk-through the minting process, from design to bagging. Each step in the process is explained in an excellent manner, with different forms of visual aids. Windows provide a view of the factory floor, along with a technically live demonstration type visual aid. Other steps had items displayed, such as a master die hub, or modern and older tools employed in the design process. While the various visual aids were helpful, another great aspect of the third floor were the interactive displays. In one, you can design(to a limited extent) your own coin, which appears on a large screen nearby temporarily. Another such display had coins in darkened containers, having a part of their rim exposed. Created so that you can see if you can tell what coin denomination each container held based off the rim, discovering the answer upon pushing the button to light up the container, it certainly was a great interactive setup. The third floor, the factory floor, was definitely a great one.
After completing the final floor, it was time for the final ride on the escalator, this time though, it was down, down to the exit. Granted, before leaving we visited the mint gift shop, which had, among other things, mint-themed products, numismatic books and tools, and mint products. While there I purchased two bronze medals, one depicting past president Ronald Reagen, the other, St. Pope John Paul 2. Finally, I procured a penny from the elongating machine, which, as opposed to the traditional two quarters and a penny, accepted a one dollar bill for the fee, providing it's own penny. A great trip and well-spent time, the visit to the Philadelphia mint was a fantastic one.