7 tourist attractions that can teach your kids about money
Follow the money
When most people plan a summer vacation, their heads fill with images of swaying palm trees, pristine mountain lakes, theme parks, and thrilling foreign capitals. My dream list of tourist hot spots includes a few that some might find…unusual. That’s because I can’t resist a good financial landmark or museum.
While you’re out seeing the world with your kids, why not use the time to teach the kids some solid money values? Talk about how you saved for the trip, what you as a family sacrificed to pay for it, and how you budgeted travel, meals, and lodging. And, if you can, add one of these sites to your itinerary:
In the U.S.
Museum of American Finance in New York City: Learn about markets, entrepreneurship, and Mr. Ten Spot himself, Alexander Hamilton, right in the heart of Wall Street. Nearby is the Federal Reserve of New York, home to the largest known pile of gold. That’s more than 6,000 tons of the stuff, housed in an underground vault that you can actually visit.
Denver Mint: One of only two U.S. Mint facilities open for tours (the other is in Philly). They’re literally printing money here. Plus, from Aug. 1 to Aug. 5, Denver hosts the 2017 edition of the World’s Fair of Money, where a nickel worth $3 million will be one of headliners.
Gallery of Numismatics in Washington, D.C.: It’s inside a bank vault. Makes sense—this collection within the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History includes a $100,000 bill.
Chicago Fed’s Money Museum: The history of the Federal Reserve through cool simulations that let your kid spot counterfeit bills or steer the U.S. economy by role-playing a virtual Janet Yellen.
Around the world
Monnaie de Paris: Talk about old money. This French mint dates back to the year 864.
Numismatic Museum in Athens, Greece: Tour thousands of years of history through coins, ingots, obols and medals dating from the 14th century B.C. through the present, all housed in neoclassical mansion in the heart of the Greek capital.
Yap Island, Federated States of Micronesia: Yes, this Pacific island is an ambitious destination for a family vacation. But the giant stones traditionally used as currency put Yap on the map in the weird and wild history of money.
These places make the basics of finance and the history of money fun, fascinating, and interactive. A visit can spark family conversations about where money comes from and where it goes, plus how to save and invest it. Oh, and all those ancient coins are supercool.