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Bureau of Engraving and Printing

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The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is the largest producer of security documents in the United States. Tours are offered at their Washington, DC facility throughout the year. Peak times are March to August and free tickets are required.  Otherwise from September to February space is given on a first-come, first-served basis.  Call 1-866-874-2330 for updated information about tour hours and closures.

Contact Info
1-866-874-2330
Price: Free admission
Age: 5 and up
/bureau-of-engraving-and-printing
Bureau of Engraving and Printing
14th and C Streets, SW
Washington, DC 20228
 
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We went with a group, where the youngest child was 8. I think kids much younger than that would be bored. We had advanced reservations so we didn't have to wait for tickets. The visitor center and video was very interesting. We saw the history of money and a little of how it was made. The tour was good as far as seeing a lot but I don't think we had a good tour guide. She was very informative, but sounded like she was reading from a script. I wish she had been more interactive with the kids.

Wed Apr 27, 2016 by InnaB

Went last year. It was good, not great. Favorite parts were the video at the beginning and gift shop at the end.

Thu Nov 7, 2013 by DanielleW

We just went on Friday! There were 5 kids in our group ages 5 to 12 and they loved it! Best part for them was watching the money rolling through the presses -- they didn't want to leave the windows when our tour guide said we had to move on. My tip is to be prepared for a wait in line! We waited about 35 minutes but then there is more of a wait once you get inside - may want to have some kind of activity to keep them occupied. - Shelly L.

Mon Jan 21, 2013 by ourkids

Sorry but I think elementary kids would get bored. The corridors are quite narrow. I took my high school classes but I wont be taking my own kids. - Kim H.

Mon Jan 21, 2013 by ourkids

I took my kids last summer (ages 9 & 6) and they loved seeing all the money. They were printing 100 dollar bills the day we were there, and an employee held up a stack of money and then a sign reading "This is $800,000!" Pretty cool. - Amy H.

Mon Jan 21, 2013 by ourkids

We went last year. My kids were 8, 6, and 2 and all loved it actually. We went that morning and got tickets from the ticket booth on a weekday, had no wait and a great time. While they may not have understood all the details that were discussed, it was a great, free opportunity to see how our money is made. - Jennifer H.

Mon Jan 21, 2013 by ourkids

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by Kim Engstrom
September 5, 2011

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing Factory in Downtown DC is one tour you will really wish gave away free samples at the end! Watching how our US currency is created is an educational experience for both parents and kids alike.

Tours of Engraving and Printing are held weekdays only beginning at 9am. The logistics of touring the plant vary greatly depending upon the time of year of your visit. From September through February no tickets are required for the tours. Groups are taken every 15 minutes from 9 to 10:45am and 12:30 to 2pm from the line out front of the Visitor's Center on 14th Street. Beginning in March through August, visitors wishing to take a tour must obtain a free ticket from the booth around the corner from the Visitor's Entrance. The ticket booth opens at 8am daily and remains open until all of the day's tickets have been distributed. Additional tours are held from 5 to 7pm in spring and summer.

Tours of the "money factory" begin in the Visitor's Center with a short film about the process of making US money and how that has changed over time. There are displays on the walls of this area with information about all of the protections built in to our current dollars to avoid counterfeiting. The most popular display in the lobby here is the glass case containing one million dollars in ten dollar notes! Once the film is over and you begin to tour the actual money printing areas you must park any strollers that you have brought along. The corridors are tight and there are several staircases to maneuver along the way.

The guided tour takes you through the process of making money step by step. On the day of our visit they were printing $100 bills. We saw the paper come out of the printer with the background colors, the front and back printing process, the cutting of the printed bills and the sorting and packaging into bundles. Along the way we were able to see how many times the currency is checked for defects or misprints. Seeing that many $100 bills in one place was amazing!

Taking a page straight from Disney, the half hour tour ends in the gift shop. There are many money themed items are for sale including wallets, balls, pencils, and toys. Stickers of the $100 bill are available for 25 cents and erasers with the same image are $1.00. You can also view uncut sheets of bills for sale here and measure yourself along the wall to see how tall you are in 100 dollar bills.

To fully enjoy the experience of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing kids should be old enough to understand a bit about the value of a dollar and why seeing so many in one place is unique. To get the most out of your tour I would recommend introducing the word "currency" to your children before you go as they used it more often than the word money in both the tour and the film. Overall a visit here is best suited for kids in elementary school and up.

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is closed on weekends, Federal Holidays and the week between Christmas and New Years Day. Scour your school calendar for a mid week teacher prep day for the perfect time for a visit! Tours are most popular during Spring Break/Cherry Blossom time of year and tickets during these weeks often run out by 8:30am. Tickets in summer also go fast but often are still available until 10 or 11am.

To get there by metro, exit at the Smithsonian station on the blue and orange line and follow signs to Independence Ave/Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The closest free parking is along the Independence Avenue side of the Mall. Restrooms and baby changing stations are available in the Visitor's Center.

Find a day off and head over with your kids for this educational tour in Downtown DC.

Bureau of Engraving and Printing
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