"I don't understand why this museum isn't rated the #1 attraction in St. Augustine. I can only guess that it's not there yet b/c it's very new. But it certainly deserves to get there in my opinion!
I was completely blown away by the pirate museum. Simply put, this place is PHENOMENAL! I honestly wasn't expecting too much after reading about it before our trip, but when we got there, it was so, so much more than I had hoped for! I'm talking just as good as (or maybe even better than) some of the newest attractions at Disney -- that's level of attention to detail and aesthetics here. They even have different sound effects in each room, playing at all times. These awesome soundtracks add so much to the experience. But unlike Disney, everything here is REAL! Yes, real, authentic artifacts from actual pirates and shipwrecks. This place is no joke!
I was under the impression, after seeing some of the TA reviews, that photography inside the museum is strictly prohibited. But that's not true!!! They ask that you do not use a flash, but I was allowed to take as many photos as I pleased, and boy, did I! Because everything was so fascinating and looked so incredible. It was all just so beautifully presented. Part of the museum is even made to look and feel like you're on the deck of a pirate ship, complete with a gorgeous wall mural, but it's built right inside the building! And all of the other rooms are uniquely themed as well. They have some very well preserved and priceless exhibits, like the original Jolly Roger flag, the journal of Captain Kidd's last voyage, and the world's only surviving pirate treasure chest, which is 400 years old! It's amazing!
It will take you hours to see it all, so plan to spend some time here, and if you're lucky you can catch a free tour with the costumed Capt. Bill Mayhem, their resident pirate & expert. (Admission fee required, of course.) I don't remember how much it costs to get in...I think it was around $12, but it's worth much more. The kids will LOVE it!!! YOU MUST GO!!!! I know I will definitely plan on going back for another visit next time I'm in town, and I'm sure I will see plenty that I overlooked before. This place was my favorite part, the highlight of our first trip to St. Augustine."
- Visitor from Sarasota, FL (12/10/12)
"This was a great introduction to St. Augustine's bloody and turbulent history. Having seen all the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, my teens could really get into the exhibits and the real stories of the notorious pirates. The many artifacts were impressive and it gave you a good sense of why pirates were not really such good guys."
- Visitor from Pennsylvania (3/3/12)
"This was actually my second visit to the Pirate Museum. My Mom and I went in May and really loved it. We were in St. Augustine in December and had a great time there again. Has lots of interesting artifacts and I know that the people that work there are very nice and also helpful.
Highly recommend to do this on your trip to St. Augustine!"
- Visitor from Sarasota, Fla. (12/18/11)
"Just a short note to say what a great time my wife Rhonda and I had sailing the high seas, dodging mermaids, sea serpents, and landlubbing pollywogs at your incredible Pirate and Treasure Museum in St Augustine. After 31 years active duty in the Navy, the tales of our past are sometimes forgotten in time. Thanks for keeping the seas alive with the great treasures of history."
-Email to Pat Croce (used with permission) from J. Randall Stapleford, Captain USN (Ret), Military and Veteran Affairs, Office of Congressman Jason Altmire (PA04)
NOT JUST FOR KIDS!
When visiting friends suggested the Pirate & Treasure Museum, I was doubtful. St. Augustine is overrun with "thing piratical," but I went along with the group. The museum is great! Yes, there's a high entertainment value, but if you're interested in true history, there's a wealth of artifacts, great interactive maps and learning tools, and a recognition that pirates weren't exactly the nicest people around.
While the museum is small, it's about the right size for most visitors who want to make the rounds of historical sites and it's well located across from the Castillo de San Marcos. After the museum and fort, enjoy the "No-Name Bar" next to the museum. Sit outside and people-watch the other visitors.
- Visitor from St. Augustine, Fla. (9/20/11)
"I'm an English woman visiting Florida whilst on my travels and have to say that this museum is one of the best I've ever visited. (I've traveled the world and visited many.) For a smaller museum, it's incredible how much there is to see and do... The informative 'guide' and extremely talented pirate magician 'Captain William Mayhem' adds his own wonder, intrigue and charm to this top pirate attraction that anyone visiting St. Augustine should be sure to put at the top of their 'must do list'."
- Emily Culley, Stafordshire, England (5/27/2011)
- Zane Lamprey from HDNet's Drinking Made Easy TV Show (5/14/2011)
Scott Stroh, Director, Florida Division of Historical Resources: "I just finished touring the museum and all I can say is WOW! This is what all museums should be like. It is absolutlely awesome and I loved it. The whole feel and look is amazing, the interactives and hunt both fun and engaging, the collections powerful and evocative, and the educational content enriching. And, I loved the audio in the restrooms; just brilliant.
"Please know that your team was most kind, hospitable, and generous. I can't wait to bring the whole family. Just fantastic! Thank you for letting us be part of this great museum and thanks for so prominently and compellingly displaying the State's artifacts. Wow, what a great time."
"Mr. Croce, I had been through your excellent museum in February 2006 when it was located in Key West. I liked it then and I even enjoyed it more this time with its expanded exhibits. My two favorite exhibits are the 2-D display with city archaeologist Carl Halbirt on Drake's raid and the video board with you informing museum visitors of the famous pirates around the world. Both were very well done."
- Joseph W. Zarzynski, RPA, Underwater Archaeologist & Documentary Filmmaker/Scriptwriter, Search for the Jefferson Davis: Trader, Slave, Raider
"I absolutely love this place. I need a season pass to absorb it all! It is a wonderful place and right up me alley. I highly recommend it to all lovers of pirates... Great experience. Even if you are not a fan of pirates, the historical artifacts are impressive and being in a city founded to fight piracy, but one that ended up being attacked several times by pirates, makes it so much more fitting to be located here. Thank you for moving here. I love that museum!"
- Joseph Osteen, Nautical Adventure Author, Pirate Historian & Fan
"Collectively, the museum was equally as magical (and far more educational) to the kids than any Disney experience. From my perspective, the two areas that I found riveting were the Rouges Tavern and the interactive wall of original pirate settlements. Rouges Tavern allowed you to learn by accessing an interactive touch screen panel filled with visuals and historic facts about real life pirates. Similarly, the interactive wall had a large map of all the original pirate settlements ready for you to select any one of them. When you touched a settlement, for example, Havana, Cuba, a life-sized video of the museum's owner, Pat Croce, popped up and explained in fascinating detail the significance of each settlement at its time.
"Venturing back to the future, the last room of the museum had information and displays about all of the pirates of Hollywood that we know and love today. As my family and I left the museum buzzing with excitement, we encountered a special treasure when we happened across the owner of the museum, Pirate (as the locals call him) Pat Croce. While engaging my children with a sense of passion, wonder, and energy that uplifted us all, I thought to myself, now here's a man totally in his element. Wow."
- Bill Olson, Philadelphia, Entrepreneur (2/23/2011)
"On behalf of the Board of Directors of Florida Living History, Inc., I'd like to thank you for arranging our visit to the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum on Saturday (2/5/2011). All of us have been wanting to tour the museum and we certainly appreciate having the opportunity to do so.
"The museum was most impressive! We were delighted to see the focus on the true history of piracy -- a remarkably rare occurrence in St. Augustine and Florida as a whole. In particular, we noted the spotlight y'all place on the buccaneers who actually menaced La Florida -- a bit of genuine American history that seems to be almost entirely unknown today.
"Again, many thanks for allowing us the opportunity to visit your cutting-edge, fun-for-the-whole-family, educational facility!"
- Davis Walker, President, Florida Living History, Inc.
"My First Mate and I visited the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum today and spoke with Pat, and had an especially wonderful chat with Nancy from Boston. As the captain of the Cedar Key Pirates in Paradise, we give our hearty approval of the new museum. It should be mandatory for anyone with a "Pirates's Soul" to visit... almost like a pilgrimage of sorts. Great Job!"
- Robert McCabe, Cedar Key, FL
"Well done, really neat, fun and educational."
- Frank Haunstetter, Tampa, FL, first official guest at The Pirate Museum
"Very interactive, will be back again."
- Ramona Haunstetter of Tampa, FL, first official guest at The Pirate Museum
"I'm so excited for you guys. I've never supported another tourist attraction like I have with you guys. I really think you are the perfect fit for St. Augustine and a compliment to our community."
- John Brueggen, Director, St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park
"Great addition to St. Augustine. This is a "Have To" when visiting the city. This museum is both educational AND fun. The technology is Disney caliber. You will learn more here about pirates than anywhere. Want to know where "Dead men tell no tales" originated? You can find out here. Pat Croce's priviate collection of authentic treasure is second to none."
- Anthony Lazzara, General Manager, Casa Monica Hotel, St. Augustine, FL
"FINALLY got a peek inside this newest addition to... St. Augustine and really have to say WELL DONE! What an incredible impression you made on this 'tough customer'. Having traveled the world in my travel agent years and then BA staff, I've seen loads of fabulous museums and interpretations, but this really slayed me in the most unexpected, successful way! I could make a long list of what I loved best, and in fact I think I will ~ next post!"
- Alice Sutherland, City Walks Tours
"Congratulations on an incredible museum and a perfect preview night! The town is buzzing!"
- Dana Ste. Claire, Director of Heritage Tourism & Historic Preservation, City of St. Augustine, FL
"What an awesome place you have! Love the dark room!"
- Kathy Fleming, Executive Director, St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum
"The museum was awesome and I've determined that I was born a few hundred years too late. I was meant to be a pirate!"
- Tim Pratt, Ormond Beach, FL
"I absolutely LOVED it! I got lost in the experience of it. I really liked the guy walking around the place in the pirate costume, I wish i had gotten a picture with him! Oh, and I adore how you included my two favorite pirates: Anne Bonny and Mary Read. Women tend to be overlooked in history and these women deserve to be remembered!"
- Liz Annino, Connecticut
"We were your first visitors this morning (12/28/10) and had a blast visiting the museum! We loved the experience for the history, the showmanship... the Treasure!! We'll be back soon. Many thanks!"
- Mark Franceschini, Tampa Bay, FL