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Museum Tour

 


Unless you've been scouring the seas for pillage and plunder for the past 20 years, chances are you've heard something about Pat Croce. You may know him as a physical therapist, entrepreneur, former president of the Philadelphia 76ers, motivational speaker, writer, Olympic commentator or national TV star. But what you may not know is that Pat loves pirates.

It's not clear where the fascination started, but locked away in Pat Croce's vault is a relic that offers some clues. Among his most important personal documents sits a ruler he has kept since grade school. Right on the face is an ink-carved skull and crossbones of the Jolly Roger, the key symbol of his life long passion.

After Pat got a little older, he rediscovered his love of pirate history after viewing the 1935 silver screen epic Captain Blood, in which Errol Flynn, enslaved by the British for saving the life of a traitor, escapes and avenges his capture by becoming a fierce Caribbean pirate.

Later in life, Pat succeeded by using the same drive in his career, which has included such feats as starting the first hospital-based sports medicine center in the country, building his own physical injury rehabilitation empire with 40 centers in 11 states, and taking over the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team as part owner and president on a thrilling journey from worst to first (1996-2001).

But even with business booming and life's demands, Pat's fascination with pirate history has never ceased. At an auction house early on, he discovered a first edition English-language copy of Alexander Exquemelin's book The Buccaneers of America. Remembering the passion he felt for pirate history as a kid, he placed the winning bid, turning it into the cornerstone of what was to become one of the largest collections of pirate artifacts in the world.

After purchasing a vacation home in Key West, Florida, he decided to share his love of pirate history and his ever-growing collection of artifacts with everyone at the Pirate Soul Museum.

After a successful 5-year run in Key West, Pat decided it was time to move to another pirate stronghold: St. Augustine, Florida. 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 educational, exciting, and timber-shivering 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.

 

Pirate Museum Treasure Map

One of our most popular features is the Discovery Drawers marked with a skull and crossbones and hidden throughout the museum. Consider it your own personal treasure hunt. The prize? Pirate history! Can YOU find them all?

During the Golden Age of Piracy, Port Royal, Jamaica, was the capital of pillage and plunder. With a deep, protected harbor, it was a safe haven where pirates could relax and trade with local merchants.

Nearly anything a seagoer desired could be found there. Taverns and brothels represented one out of every four buildings in the town. And stores selling rare goods from around the world dotted the streets.

At The St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum, you'll experience what it was like to live in Port Royal during the time of the pirates. But look out! You never know what's just around the next bend...

The St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum is a unique collection of authentic pirate artifacts coupled with elements of interactive technology that reveal a scintillating historic adventure through the Golden Age of Piracy and the lives of the era's most infamous pirates. With the "please touch" and audio-animatronics of a theme park coupled with the provenance of a museum, guests undertake an awesome pirate journey both above and below deck filled with compelling lore, surprising facts and an abundance of sensory perceptions.

Among more than 800 museum-quality artifacts, threaded through the storyline is the original journal of Captain Kidd's last voyage, the only authentic pirate treasure chest in the world that originally belonged to Captain Thomas Tew and the oldest pirate Wanted Poster for the capture of Captain Henry Every.

Pirate of the Month

Francis Drake was the most successful privateer in maritime history.

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Did you know?

  • Pirates thought that having women on board their ship was bad luck.  It's why pirate femmes like Mary Read initially lived a life of piracy as men!

  • Most pirates stole their ships because they couldn't afford them.  Once they'd capture a ship, they'd convert it for pirate life by making more room for sailor living quarters and strengthening the decks to hold heavy cannons.

  • The difference between a pirate and a privateer is that privateers are sanctioned by respective governments and they don't attack ships from their own country. Pirates harass anyone passing by.

  • A galleon ship was armed to the teeth. It typically carried 74 guns, 36 of which were mounted on either side of the ship. The two guns were mounted aft.

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