An incredible adventure for kids and adults of all ages, the Pirate & Treasure Museum offers visitors a chance to journey back to the era of the Golden Age of Piracy. This unique museum showcases one of the largest collections of rare pirate artifacts in the world including Captain Thomas Tew’s 17th Century Treasure Chest and the Journal of Captain Kidd’s Final Voyage in 1699.
In 2005, Pat Croce, an author, sports team executive and entrepreneur, opened a pirate museum in Key West, Florida that included many artifacts from his personal collection. The history buff has been collecting pirate memorabilia since he was a young boy. Some of the artifacts are over 300-years-old. Five years later, he announced that the museum was relocating to St. Augustine. It reopened across from the Castillo de San Marcos in December 2010 occupying the former location of Teepee Town and the Christmas Store. It displays one of the largest and most authentic collections of historic pirate artifacts under a single roof. Pirates such as Sir Francis Drake and Robert Searles who frequented the nation’s oldest city and the Spanish fort, the Castillo de San Marcos, played a major role in the history of pirates and Colonial America. The St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum offers an exciting and educational museum experience that transports you and your family back in time over 300 years to Port Royal, Jamaica, at the height of the Golden Age of Piracy.
The high-tech, interactive exhibits create a multi-sensory experience for visitors of all ages. Explore the fascinating history of the swashbuckling buccaneers who used St. Augustine as their home base as they pillaged the Spanish Main. These cutlass-wielding buccaneers also plundered the city twice. Several festivals held throughout the year celebrate this pirate legacy. The pistols, swords and gold doubloons on display in the Pirate and Treasure Museum bear testament to this fascinating chapter in the city’s history.
The museum’s more than 800-piece collection includes the oldest known bonafide treasure chest in the world. You can also view one of only three remaining original Jolly Roger flags, Blackbeard’s blunderbuss and pieces of gold salvaged from his ship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge. Experience the life of a 17th-century pirate as you hoist flags, tie knots and fire a cannon.
The fun and educational galleries enable you to walk the cobblestone streets of the pirate haven Port Royal and imagine yourself regaling other infamous pirates with tales of your adventures in the Rogue’s Tavern. Rove the main deck of a pirate ship, tour the captain’s cabin and explore the life of a sailor below deck. View an award-winning Disney documentary as you relive Blackbeard’s final sea battle. See the world’s oldest wanted poster as you learn how these treacherous buccaneers met their macabre fate and then examine a sample of their ill-gotten booty, a centuries-old gold bar. An exhibit also covers Hollywood’s enduring love affair with pirates like Captain Hook and Jack Sparrow. The scenic outdoor deck overlooks Matanzas Bay.
The museum attracts the largest crowds on weekends. It is also a popular destination for school field trips. The museum is least crowded when it first opens at 10 a.m. While most nearby attractions close around 5 p.m., the Pirate & Treasure Museum stays open until 7 p.m., so it is a perfect spot to visit after exploring one of the other nearby sights. The museum is open every day except Christmas. Children 4 years and under are admitted free. Parking is available across the street at the Castillo de San Marcos or hop off the Old Town Trolley.
Things to Do Nearby
St. Augustine is filled with a variety of shops, galleries and points of interest. When visiting the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum, consider adding these nearby attractions to your itinerary.
The country’s oldest masonry fortification, the Castillo de San Marcos is a 17th-century bastion built to defend Spanish interests in the New World. Having withstood several sieges, the fort is the oldest structure in St. Augustine. Visitors can view rooms that housed officers, soldiers and prisoners as well as enjoy panoramic vistas of Matanzas Bay from the ramparts.
The Old City Gates were originally built in 1704 as part of the Cubo Line, a series of defensive walls and fortifications. The portal was one of the few passages through the line of earthen redoubts, palmetto log barricades and masonry walls. The current coquina structure was constructed in 1808 to replace the original wooden passageway.
Housing over 160 figures, Potter’s Wax Museum is one of the oldest attractions of its kind in the country. George Potter founded the attraction after being inspired by a visit to a London wax museum. Inside, visitors find likenesses of political, sports and entertainment icons like George Washington, Michael Jordan and Elvis Presley.
Colonial Quarter is a living history museum dedicated to highlighting life in St. Augustine from the 1740s. Explore the two-acre site for a captivating journey through the history of the oldest city in the United States. Visitors can also climb the watchtower, participate in a cannon drill and relax beneath the shade of the Colonial Oak.