The Royal Australian Mint is located in Deakin, less than 10 minutes from Canberra's city centre. It is a working factory and also a tourist attraction, with hundreds of thousands of visitors and school groups walking through their doors every year. The Royal Australian Mint is where all of Australia's circulating coins are made and they also make coins for other countries such as Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, the Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea and more. They also make collector coins called Proof Coins and Uncirculated Coins, which they sell in the shop in the foyer. As well as all this, they also make medals for events such as the Invictus Games, Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games, with some of them on display.
As soon as you walk in the door, your eyes are drawn to a huge dome of shiny $1 coins, with 24,999 coins inside. According to the friendly staff, it was meant to contain 25,000 coins, but they discovered that one had rolled out after they had screwed the lid down. Also, check out the staircase up to the Gallery which is full of 5 cent pieces! Kids will enjoy the sight of all this money and these 5 more things to do, below...
Coins galore at the Royal Australian Mint! Image: Royal Australian Mint Facebook
1/ Free Activity Books are handed out to children at the front desk, so they can follow the questions around the Mint and have fun, whilst learning a few things along the way. The first question starts at the huge dome of $1 coins, sends them up the stairs and then has them answering questions about historical coins from Australia's National Coin Collection, as well as what is happening in the factory. It keeps them entertained the whole way around!
2/ Colouring - In is also available for smaller children who may be too young for the Activity Books. When you get upstairs to the Gallery there is a small children's area where they can sit down together and colour-in or draw.
3/ The Factory Walkway is fascinating for children (and adults!), as you can look down through the windows and see the coin production in action. Along the walkway, you can peep through the windows and see where they make the collector coins, the medals, the tools needed for the factory and at the far end of the walkway is the Circulating Coin Hall, where all of Australia's coins are made. As well as over 200 staff at the Mint, there are 3 robots in this room which make the process faster to get the coins to the banks quicker.
Titan is the largest robot in the factory and also the second-largest in the Southern Hemisphere. His job is to pick up the 750kg drums and tip them into the hoppers to start the production process. In between tipping, he is also programmed to bow, move and swivel, which is entertaining for all ages. Two other robots to look for are Penny the robot forklift and Robbie, whose job it is to suck up the finished bags of coins and pack them into boxes.
* Please note that the factory and robots are not in operation on the weekends - it is a working factory on weekdays only.
Walk along the factory walkway and look down onto the different rooms, to see coin making in action
4/ Make Your Own $1 Coin is a popular activity once you get back downstairs and into the coin shop in the foyer. There are two coin presses which make the coins, with each coin costing $3. The design on the coin changes on the 1st January every year and is unique to the coin presses in the shop, with each coin having a "C" mintmark on it for "Canberra". As well as making a coin, the coin presses also supply a protective card to go with it, which you slide the coin into. Kids particularly enjoy putting their own $3 into the machine and watching the coin getting stamped with a big "thunk"!
5/ Mini Minties is a pre-schooler craft and activity program, which is held once a month in the Education Room at the Mint. Kids put on little white jackets like the workers in the factory and take part in age-appropriate crafts that relate to coins, robots, Australian animals or subjects on the coins. As well as crafts there is often Storytime, walks to look at the robots, special guest performances and more. Each parent also receives a coffee coupon to use down in the café. See Eventbrite for the next program, or keep an eye on the Royal Australian Mint Facebook for details.
Pre-schooler fun at Mini Minties! Image: Royal Australian Mint Facebook
Although there is a lot to do for adults at the Royal Australian Mint, with panels to read and videos to watch, there is just as many things for kids to do as well. There are also free tours held throughout the day and there is a handy café down in the foyer for any drink or snack stops. If you like money (and who doesn't?), then you will enjoy this fascinating (and free!) attraction just minutes from the city centre. Why don't you check it out these school holidays?
Finish your visit with a photo on the coin stacks!