Federal Bureau of Engraving (Fort Worth)

Texas

The Federal Bureau of Engraving is one of the few places where we have ever experienced such tight security.  It was so tight in fact that we couldn't even bring in our phones or camera, we had to leave everything in the car.  You can't even walk up to the building, you have to park and take a special shuttle bus that takes you to the front entrance.  It's no surprise then that I don't have any photos of the amazing things we saw so I'll just have to describe it as best I can. Fort Worth is one of only 2 places where paper money- the money you have in your wallet, is printed in this country.  The only other is in Washington DC.   Before our tour we milled around taking in all the displays which were incredibly fascinating.   We learned how the bills are designed incorporating watermarks and other intricate details to foil counterfeiters.    We learned about the type of paper that's used and about the printing process.  Next time you get a chance, take a look at one of the bills in your wallet with a magnifying glass-that's only the beginning.  There are also some explanations for the designs on the bills and a debunking of some of the myths about the eye in the pyramid and other mystical mumbo jumbo surrounding our currency.  As our official tour finally got underway we headed into what looked like a very sophisticated printing plant-which I guess is exactly what it is.  We saw huge sheets of $5 dollar bills being printed and stacked.  Some of the presses were printing the brand new $100 bills and those were covered by a curtain as we were not allowed to see them for security purposes.   At one point we did get to see about $50 million dollars in hundreds packed and ready to ship to one of the federal reserve banks. That was a once in a lifetime moment to be sure.  What's pretty crazy to think about is that it's all just a bunch of paper. At the end of the tour we checked out  the fabulous gift shop.  I can tell you that this gift shop is truly one of a kind with some really unique souvenirs you cannot get anywhere else.  I bought each of my kids a commemorative Lone Star Bill which is only made at the Fort Worth facility and has a star at the end of the serial number  "made in Texas, by Texans, for Texans or for those who wish they were Texan"  They are really special and I keep them hidden in a drawer.  I don't want anyone accidentally spending them if you know what I mean.  Some other awesome souvenirs include "Lucky Bills," paper currency guaranteed to have at least three consecutive sevens, large sheets of uncut bills or a 5 lb bag of $10,000 dollars worth of shredded money. Joel took some of his birthday present money and bought himself a small sheet of uncut $2 bills that were mounted inside a neat little plexiglass stand.  It still sits on his desk, hopefully as inspiration to strike it big one day...We can only hope.  If you get even remotely close to Fort Worth, don't miss this really incredible activity where you can learn everything you always wanted to know about the good old American dollar.

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