St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum

“Let’s jump on board, and cut them to pieces.” -Blackbeard

Murder, mayhem and mischief.  Pirates have done their part to earn this reputation.  But there is so much more to a pirate’s life!  Treasure, for one, and weapons and cargo and battles and divine rescues…  The St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum offers a real glimpse of a pirate’s life, treasure and tools of the trade.  Hurry aboard, ye lilly-livered land lubbers!

The pirate adventure begins once you spot the Jolly Roger.  (Note the stocks in the center of the photo below- fun photo op!)  Before you enter through the Treasure Shoppe, take a few deep breaths and s-l-o-w down.  It’s a small enough museum that you could breeze through- but there is SO MUCH to take in!  We spent 1 hour and 30 minutes (at the pace of interested 5 & 7 year olds), you could easily stretch to 2 hours on a hot or rainy day.  You won’t be hornswaggled (cheated) out of your admission here!

If you’ve been a reader for long {<- click to subscribe if not}, it’s no secret that I love history.  But I didn’t know much about pirate history.  After reading just one or two plaques at the Pirate Museum, I knew more than from watching all 4 Pirates of the Caribbean movies!!  {haha}  Seriously, though, this place is no tourist trap- you’ll see  over 800 artifacts that are hundreds of years old.  Guns and sabers, tools, china and gold- discover more at every turn!  Information is attractively presented- you may not even realize you’re learning.  ;)

My boys moved faster than I wanted to, but that’s okay- the Pirate Museum kept them busy with a treasure hunt so I could take it all in… more on that in a minute.

Here is my little pirate reading the interactive, touch-screen “Book of Pirates.”  We were both fascinated to learn there were so many pirate raids in St. Augustine!  The walls of the Rogues Tavern are lined with paintings of the freebooters whose lives touched {or should I say torched?!} St. Augustine.  Did you know one pirate, Andrew Ranson, was rescued by God and went on to live a respectful life?  True story!

Earlier, I mentioned the treasure hunt… it’s ingenious, really.  While I stood reading as many plaques as I could, the boys were dashing around searching for the skull & crossbones knobs that indicated Discovery Drawers.  Designed for readers, some drawers were higher than Andrew (5) could reach.  But that didn’t slow him down!  The treasure?  Learning more about pirate life- he saw games they’d play and tools they’d use.

It’s a very interactive museum- this 30 something mamma liked it as much as the littlest pirate.  There are cannons to fire, rope knots to tie, cargo to guess by scent and 10 minutes of piratey ghost stories you can listen to in a dark “hold” below deck {Disney produced the Blackbeard Show}.  Shiver me timbers!

More artifacts: touch a real treasure chest, see a Jolly Roger, ooh & aaah the only remaining pirate treasure chest in the world, and get close to shipwrecked treasures leant to the museum by the state of Florida.  The pearls are my favorites.  :)

More theatrics:  Blackbeard speaks to you, the skeletal remains of a dastardly seadog hang in a cage, cannons boom and Jack Sparrow’s sword is on display!

More to learn: The history of St. Augustine and the accounts of pirates are inseperably intertwined.  For example, we have the pirates to thank for Castillo de San Marcos! {well, sort of.  they burned down the wooden fort}  And the question of who is the pirate and who is the protector?! looms each time control of the settlement changed hands.

More to buy: Alex, in the Treasure Shoppe, pointed out “real” swords and actual gold coins from shipwrecks off the coast of Florida!  They also sell eye patches and daggers, and cute little pirate baby bowls.  {He’s also a wealth of information about pirate and treasure history!}  My favorite treasure was this cool hat.  Avast ye!  Maybe it is a pirate’s life for me!

St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum
9 am – 8 pm daily
$12.99 adult, $6.99 children 5-12
click here for discounts for locals
12 S Castillo Drive
(877) GO-PLUNDER

 p.s.  I must commend the Pirate & Treasure team for seamlessly integrating the building with historic St. Augustine’s buildings.  Well done!

p.p.s. We toured the bloody pirate museum for free- held the cutlass to their throats, we did!  {Thank you, SAP&TM!}  The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Comments

  1. Okie who loves St. Augustine says:

    When in town I’ve seen the museum but have never taken the time to enter and enjoy. I’ll be back in St. Augustine in July and this review was enough to tempt me to visit. Thank you for such an informative piece!

  2. I wanna visit St. Augustine!! Love your blog(s)

  3. My wife and I visited St Augustine in June of 2014. It is a fabulous place to visit especially of you love early American history. The Pirate’s Paradise is more than a fun place…it is a real tour of St Augustine’s pirate past presenting a narrative that covers much of the history along with dates and names. Famous pirates, famous captains, famous ships that everyone will know. Never boring, just plan fun.

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