This blog post was updated on September 15, 2021.
Ahoy, me mateys! Unless you’ve been living down in Davy Jones’s locker, ye be aware that pirates are more popular than ever these days. But besides forcin’ scallywags to walk the plank, avoidin’ scurvy, and swabbin’ the poop deck, have you ever wondered what it was like to be a swashbuckling buccaneer? Avast, lads and lassies! There be o’ ton of pirate museums around the world where we can learn all about what it was like real, 17th-century looter! Arrr!
Whydah Pirate Museum — Cape Cod, Massachusetts
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This interactive science museum is perfect for kids of all ages — it’s a place where you can touch, see and learn from pirate experts and museum exhibits. The Whydah Museum also has the world’s only authenticated pirate treasure, found off the shores of Wellfleet in 1984. Complete with a replica of the sunken Whydah galley ship — captured in 1717 by famed pirate Samuel “Black Sam” Bellamy and made to be a looting vessel — the museum is an ode to all things pirate and its research team continues to dive around the area to find any lost artifacts. General admission tickets for the Wydhah Museum are $17 for adults, $15 for seniors, $12 for kids under 16, and free for kids that 4-years-old or young.
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Pirate and Treasure Museum — St. Augustine, Florida
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Just a few centuries ago Florida was not the theme park-laden land that it is today. Hosts of pirates, fresh off their looting in the Caribbean seas, made the shores of St. Augustine their base to throw back some ale and plunder some booty. Now, the Pirate and Treasure Museum takes up a whopping 5,000-square foot spit of land and has one of the world’s largest collections of pirate artifacts. Set up to transport visitors back 300 years to Port Royal, Jamaica, the museum and its courtyard offer a keen insight into just exactly what “a pirate’s life for me” really entailed. Keep your eyes peeled for a real Jolly Roger flag — one of only two in existence! Tickets for adult tickets are $14.99, tickets for children between 5 and 12 are $7.99, and kids under 5 get in free.
Pirates of Nassau — Nassau, Bahamas
The Golden Age of Piracy lasted for nearly 30 years in the late 1600s into the early 1700s — and Nassau was at its heart. After a pirate convoy attacked the city in 1696, the English settlers abandoned the town and Nassau became the lifeblood of a growing pirate movement in the Caribbean seas. It is no wonder, then, that the Pirates of Nassau museum offers a unique and authentic look at pirate life just a few centuries ago. With exhibits highlighting the infamous Blackbeard, women pirates, authenticated artifacts, and much more, this stop is a must for any pirate enthusiasts in the Bahamas. Adult tickets are $13.50 and children’s are $6.75.
National Maritime Museum — London, England
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As the idea of piracy first began off of the east coast of England, it’s easy to see why the National Maritime Museum holds perhaps the most important and exhaustive collection of pirate-related artifacts. You just need cheap flights to London to see 16th-century maritime art, cartography, astronomy instruments, and many more. Explore the world of a 16th-century pirate by checking out one of the many ships docked on the Thames, stand on the Prime Meridian and check out the stars like pirates of yore once did and ask yourself if Sir Francis Drake was a hero…or a pirate! The National Maritime Museum is free, excluding seasonal rotating exhibits.
Australian National Maritime Museum — Sydney, Australia
Located in Sydney’s historic Darling Harbour, the Australian National Maritime Museum offers youngsters many ways to celebrate pirates year-round. From visits on a fantasy pirate ship — a replica of Captain James Cook’s HMB Endeavour — – to a full day of traditional school-turned-pirate activities, this Sydney museum makes learning about pirates informative and fun. On International Talk Like a Pirate Day, the museum is also hosting talks that center around the whispers of 16th-century piracy in Australia, ghost ship stories, and Blackbeard’s infamous ship, Queen Anne’s Revenge. The National Maritime Museum “See It All” tickets cost $25 for adults, $15 for children under 15, and are free for kids under 4.
Have ye been learnin’ about pirates at a museum not on our list? Tell us about it in th’ comments, matey!