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St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum Review
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Looking for somewhere in Florida other than Disney World to take the family? In my opinion, St. Augustine is your very best bet – it is America’s oldest continuously settled city and a ton of fun with charm, beaches and a whole host of quality attractions. And the St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum is one of the very best of the best attractions in this incredible city. Perfect for both adults and children, history buffs and casual fans of pirate lore. Take a look around our website and you’ll find that we just don’t recommend a lot of non-Disney experiences – the fact that we’re recommending this one tells you something about the quality of the St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum.
The St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum is located in the Old City area, not far from the Castillo de San Marcos. Old City St. Augustine has wisely regulated building styles to maintain the integrity of the area. If you’re looking for something flashy, you might be tempted to pass by the pirate museum but that would be foolish – like pirate chests, unassuming exteriors can hide incredible treasures. If you’re on the fence about visiting, I’d recommend that you step into the gift shop at the museum entrance and head back to the area where admission tickets are sold. You’ll be able to ask questions, look at the museum map and even get a glimpse of some of the nearby displays before committing yourself. I think you’ll be impressed by what you see.
The experience just gets better and better once you enter the museum itself. The floor plan is very well designed and allows you to move easily from one area to the next but there is nothing to keep you from skipping a section and returning to it later – that’s something you’ll want to remember if you come to a crowded spot. Take a look at the museum itself before you dive into the displays – everything from the lighting, signs, furniture, and even the background sounds is designed to evoke an appropriately seafaring feel. Anyone who has been to a sterile, academic museum will certainly enjoy this elaborate attention to detail. Those with a casual interest in pirate history can enjoy the displays and descriptions at a comfortable clip but history or pirate buffs will find plenty of material that lets you dig deeper. Children love looking for the hidden displays found in special Discovery Drawers that aren’t obvious at first glance, making them active participants in the process. Not only are there things to see, but there are also things to touch…guests can feel the weight of a gold bar, practice nautical knot tying, or simulate the firing of a canon – again, giving the guest an interactive experience. For many visitors, the highlight of the museum is the “Below Deck” special sound experience that lets you imagine that you are on Blackbeard’s ship during a battle – this experience scares the daylights out of some young children but older kids and adults love it! Since I run a Disney-focused travel agency, I was very interested to learn that this experience was designed by Disney Imagineers.
Pirates have a larger-than-life quality but the really cool thing about this museum is that pirates here were real. The artifacts on display are also real – incredible artifacts like Thomas Tew’s treasure chest and an actual Jolly Roger pirate flag. This exciting era is just as much a part of our history and our struggle to exist as the Declaration of Independence or the Civil War. If your kids can grab hold of the idea that history is full of fascinating characters, rather than just a litany of facts and dates, your visit will be worth far more than the cost of admission.
You’ll also want to check out the museum’s website – not only does it give you all the information you need to plan your visit, but it is also a treasure trove of pirate information with short biographies of famous pirates, quotes, and trivia. Pulling the kids out of school for this trip? The website is a great resource for kids who have to write a report about the things they learned while away from school. It is also great for adults whose to the museum visit left them wanting to know more about the pirate era – you can go to the website after your visit and add to your knowledge of piracy at your own convenience.
The museum does a fantastic job of bringing the golden age of piracy to life but the owner, Pat Croce, and staff would make the worst pirates ever! First of all, they’re sharing these pirate treasures with us all – rather than burying the private collection in a vault or private residence. And they’re truly some of the nicest, most positive people you’ll ever meet. They’re always working with other area attractions to make St. Augustine the best it can be – not just for the visitor but for the residents as well. Pirates made life pretty miserable for the early settlers of St. Augustine so there is something very satisfying about the way this museum raids pirate history for the benefit of St. Augustine and its visitors today.
Just in case you’re wondering: I visited the museum with:
My mother – a retired school teacher who favors educational attractions and does not approve of pirates because they won’t study their spelling words and they don’t bathe.My sister and her husband – They don’t have any children and they’re sophisticated travelers who usually avoid touristy things.My husband and daughters – they love pirates, anything touristy and anything fun.
I asked for their honest opinions after the visit and, without exception, they all agreed that the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum was great, far exceeding their expectations. They all said that they would definitely recommend it to anyone – adult or child – visiting St. Augustine. My sister said I should warn you that the museum doesn’t have its own parking lot – a common situation in the Old City area – so allow time before your visit to find a parking spot.
A few tips to make your museum visit the best it can be:
The museum is busier on weekends so visit on a week day, if possible.The museum is at its least crowded when they open at 9:00AM - this is a great tip for weekend visitors.Most of the Old City St. Augustine attractions close at 4:30 or 5:00PM but the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum stays open until 8PM, making it a perfect place to visit after seeing the Castillo de San Marcos or shopping along St. George Street.The museum is open seven days a week – except Christmas Day.Check the museum’s website for discounts on admission – they have AAA discounts, advance purchase discounts, senior citizen discounts, resident discounts, military discounts, group discounts….I told you these folks would make terrible pirates!
St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum
12 S. Castillo Dr.
St. Augustine, FL 32084
This is our honest and unsolicited review of the St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum.Build A Better Mouse Trip is not affiliated with the museum in any way and we have not been paid or otherwise compensated for this positive review.