Florida Getaways of the Day
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Key West: A museum for those who love "Pirates of the Caribbean"( PHOTO BY ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/GETTY IMAGES )
Visitors start their tour of the Key West Pirate's Soul Museum in a re-created marketplace of Port Royal, Jamaica, peering in the windows of the gun shop, the mapmaker's, the bookmaker's and the physician's office to see artifacts. In the next room, a tavern, guests can sit down amid centuries-old wine bottles and a plate recovered from the pirate Blackbeard's sunken ship and browse an interactive book of pirate biographies on touch-screens.
Then it is on to the deck of a pirate ship, where sound effects and video bring a ship takeover to life. Near the end of the tour, visitors encounter a talking animatronic head of the pirate Blackbeard and can step into small, dark rooms simulating a ship's hold and listen as pirates give chase.
Theatrics aside, the real gems of the collection are the approximately 500 artifacts on display -- pieces of eight, maps, navigation instruments, cannon balls, weapons, a rare pirate wanted poster and the treasure chest seen in this photograph..
The museum houses almost 500 golden piracy era artifacts including the original journal of Captain Kidd's last voyage, the only authentic pirate treasure chest in America originally belonging to Captain Thomas Tew and Blackbeard's original blunderbuss. The 400-year-old chest weighs 150 pounds.
-- Jessica Gresko, Associated Press