Our friend and neighbor Mr. Ron is a very unique guy...with a very unique job. He works for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Fort Worth. When it's time for him to go to work, he often says, "I've gotta go make money!" - literally! :)
Earlier in the summer, Mrs. Debbie suggested that we go with her sometime to tour the place, see billions of dollars being made, and see Mr. Ron in his "cage." (Security is of course, very tight around there, and the production floor is literally a series of cages containing machinery and money in various states of completion.)
Well yesterday was the day! And again, security is very tight - no cameras allowed, not even phones. So there are no pictures here, just memories.
When we walked in the door, we were immediately greeted by metal detectors. My purse was x-rayed and hand-searched, and the boys thought they were hot stuff when they each got to go through the metal detector separately.
On the other side of the metal detectors, we got to ride in a little bus to the actual production facility. The bus was really exciting - no seat belts!! When we got out we were greeted by a little interactive museum of sorts, showing the history of currency and the details of the printing process...and escalators and vending machines. The Wellsbrothers were so excited about the bus, escalators and vending machines, it wouldn't have mattered if we saw anything else cool or not. :)
Mr. Ron met us at the desk, walked us around the museum, and then as our tour began, he went back to work. We got to walk through an enclosed elevated walkway suspended over the production floor...and Mrs. Debbie has a few extra jewels in her crown for helping me keep up with the Wellsbrothers! We got to see Mr. Ron in several cages, wave to him and his friends, and saw so much money that it was a little mind-boggling. I think Conner and Micah were a little disappointed at how big the cages were - they were hoping to see Mr. Ron curled up in a oppossum cage. :)
It was all very interesting, but I don't think it really clicked to the boys what they were seeing until we began to reach the end of the production process and the money really began to look like money. And even then it was obvious that they didn't really grasp how much money was there. Give 'em a few years - right now quarters are actually more valuable than paper money. :)
We got to "measure" the boys at a column of shredded money. If I remember correctly, Conner was a little over, Micah was right at, and Joey was a little less than a million bucks "tall."
Then of course, we stopped off at the gift shop, where (after some major decision-making) we procured a basketball printed with $50's and $100's, an oversized nickel, and a ruler with pictures of all the presidents. Then we got to ride the bus again - this time in the very back - and we were on our way back home.
Mr. Ron and Mrs. Debbie, thank you! What a great idea, really fun day, and sweet memories!