My son is crazy about pirates right now. Not exactly sure why, but it makes for a fun little theme trip in St. Augustine.
Black Raven Pirate Ship: The Treasure Hunt
So, the premise of this attraction is that you're just hitching a ride on a "real" pirate ship and seeing what "real" pirates do in every day life. Suddenly, the ship is boarded by bad pirates (because I guess we're with the good ones?), the treasure is stolen, and it's off on the chase. My son loved looking for "the baby pirate ship" in the ocean, and really didn't care about the show going on around him.
The show: They told jokes and sang songs while "training" the children to be pirates. The training consisted of coming up with a code word and telling the kids to yell at the top of their lungs when they heard the code word. The kids got to participate in coming up with the code word and the whole thing was all around pretty interactive. I did think the jokes were slightly off-color for little ones, but I guess that could be just me.
Once we caught up with the thieves, they boarded the ship, the kids heard the code word and screamed and the bad pirates gave the treasure back (they're scared of kids and didn't want any trouble) and went on their merry way. The big treasure box was full of little treasure boxes and each kid got to keep one as a token of appreciation for helping recover the treasure. There was also birthday party on the ship, and the birthday boy got his own special treasure.
Social distancing and hand sanitizer was present on the ship, and most everyone stayed out of each other's faces. There is normally sword fighting with the pirates and face painting, but these activities have been COVID suspended at this time.
All-in-all, it was a neat activity for the kids. My only complaint was a few of the jokes and commentary. I realize this is the world of pirates, though, and they were probably not that kid-friendly, but they tried. LOL. My son enjoyed it and says his favorite part was when they stole the treasure.
For those interested, they also do an adults only sailing on the weekend. My husband and I did this a few years back. It's one of those experiences I'm glad I had, but it's not really my thing, so I doubt I'll be doing it again. But, if you enjoy dirty jokes, loud badly-sung pirate songs, and plentiful booze (for a charge, of course), and no kids, this is the attraction for you. It's how I imagine a real pirate ship would be, honestly. These sailings have been suspended until Florida's bars open back up, which will be soon, from what I understand.
The St. AUgustine Pirate & Treasure museum
I have long said that this is absolutely my favorite museum in the history of museums, and (if you can't tell), I'm not really a fan of pirates. But the sheer amount of information and the interactive exhibits is what makes this museum so great. You'll see one of only 2 original jolly rogers and the only remaining pirate's chest still in existence. As a history buff, I did find those things fascinating.
I'll admit, as a four year old, my son was kind of everywhere. So, if you're taking small kids, don't plan to soak up all the history. But, he had a blast finding all of the clues for the treasure hunt (and turning his paper in to get his treasure). He also liked the ship wheel, the interactive cannon (that was probably his favorite), and the screens with each pirate's story (because, who doesn't like screens?). There are also exhibits where you smell & guess the cargo that pirates carried, practice tying knots (although this exhibit was closed, presumably because of COVID), a story told by animatronic Blackbeard, and an audio theater where you can hear a retelling of the final battle of Blackbeard. The final exhibit is full of movie props from pirate theme movies, such as Hook and The Goonies.
Besides the number of interactive exhibits, the thing I love about this museum is that you'll see very few replicas. The artifacts here are actual artifacts used by real pirates.
Masks are required inside of this museum (and all indoor areas of St. Augustine), and they strongly encourage massive amounts of hand sanitizing. I didn't notice anyone cleaning the exhibits, but there is hand sanitizer accessible in every room.
The last few times we have been in St. Augustine, we did not visit our favorite restaurant. So, it was definitely time. We had skipped lunch, so an appetizer was in order. We're chips and dip kind of people, so the spinach and crab dip was looking really good...and it tasted good, too! My usual entre order is the Coconut Shrimp, but today I was feeling Fish and Grits for my palate. There's a few options for the fish, but I went with blackened flounder. A Bimini Breeze gave the final touch for a pretty delicious meal. I was not disappointed in my decision to break away from my usual. They have a kid-friendly meal, too, and ours got his usual: hamburger and fries. We ate outside, but masks were required for indoors going to your table or using the restroom.
St. Augustine remains my favorite little weekend getaway. There's so much to do that everyone, kids and adults, will find something they enjoy. There are so many themes that this city can take on, too...pirates, history, beach, art, food/wine/beer, ghosts, the list goes on. I definitely recommend this oft-overlooked destination, especially if you've never been!
What did you think of our trip? Would you be interested in a pirate themed getaway? Let me know in the comments!
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