Philadelphia, a Sunken Ship, Treasure, and a Boy Pirate? Oh my! Count me in!

Gargoyle by Sheree Zielke

Okay, count me in.  I’m hooked.

When I began my initial research into Philadelphia, I wasn’t expecting to find, of all things, pirates.  But lo and behold, yes, indeedy, matey, I am on my way to see pirates.

Or rather what is left of them. This July.  On a day trip from New York City.

I have decided to ignore pre-arranged babysitting tour company all-in-one tours, and arrange the trip myself on the Amtrak train.  It’ll save my husband and I a bundle of money.  And I am a sucker for the unexpected.

So, the pirate exhibit in Philly was a most delightful unexpected surprise.  I can hardly keep my timbers from shivering.

Read on . . . 

When one thinks of Philadelphia, one most likely gets a picture of the Liberty Bell, with its huge crack (that’s actually not a crack at all; it was done on purpose - it’s a slot introduced by a bell maker who then inserted rivets into the bell, allowing it to ring, albeit temporarily.)  You’ll find the bell in the Liberty Bell Center, inside Philly’s Independence National Historic Park.

Oh, then there is Philly’s famous cheesesteak sandwich, of course.  And the Rocky steps - you know the ones leading up to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, that Sylvestor Stallone’s boxing hero conquered.

Franklin Institute Pirate Logo

But wait, there is another museum, the Franklin Institute, on 20th Street.  Here’s where pirate fanatics will find Philly’s newest tourist attraction: “Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah.”

The Whydah was an ill-fated slave trade ship, turned pirate ship, that met its end off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachsetts, in 1717.  One of the crew members was the ripe old age of 9 years old, John King.  The wretched strong-willed child actually threatened to harm his mother who had warned him against the life of a pirate.  Little brat.  Got what he deserved, I say.

The Real Pirates exhibit boasts over 200 pirate artifacts, including treasure chests from the Whydah, the first “fully-authenticated pirate ship discovered in American waters.”  (Franklin Institute)  There is even a recreation of the ship’s stern, the captain’s quarters, and a below-decks experience.

Now what living, breathing person, with only the tiniest sense of adventure, can resist such an exhibit?  Not I, I say.

Anyway,  here’s the link for the exhibit at the Franklin Institute.

And here is an in-depth National Geographic story on the Whydah.

Have you seen the new Real Pirates exhibit?  If so, do share.  What did you think?  How long did you spend there?  Do you share my fascination with pirates?  If so, tell all.

Aye, aye, Matey!

Wishing you safe and happy travels,
Sheree Zielke

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