The Jolly Roger is flying over Union Station from June 22nd through January 5th, as the station’s halls have been taken over by Real Pirates. Experience the Golden Age of Piracy aboard the Whydah, one of the most successful pirate ships of her day, and learn about her roots as a slave ship and subsequent takeover and conversion into a pirate ship in the early 1700s.
One of the most technologically advanced vessels of her day, the Whydah was captured on her maiden voyage by legendary pirate Sam Bellamy and his crew. After a few alterations and a quick hoist of the Jolly Roger, the Whydah became the flagship of Bellamy’s flotilla, leading raids throughout Caribbean waters and up the Atlantic coastline.
On April 26, 1717, the perfect storm put an end to the Whydah’s sailing days, and she sank with most of her crew aboard—as well as the bounty from more than 50 captured ships. The Whydah laid in Davey Jones Locker for more than 300 years, until now.
Underwater explorer Barry Clifford and his team have raised the Whydah from her watery grave, and her sails blow strong at Union Station, where you can experience a day in the life of the first fully authenticated pirate ship discovered in U.S. waters.
Join Captain Sam Bellamy and his crew on an adventure and live the life of a Real Pirate!
The station is going all out for its summer show “Real Pirates,” an entertaining look at a time when sailing ships on the high seas were prey for ill-smelling marauders with peg legs and eye patches who reputedly said “Argh” a lot.
Kansas City Star, June 19
Blackbeard. Jack Sparrow. Captain Hook. We’ve seen the ships, peg legs, skulls and crossbones. They cross the turbulent high seas on the big screen, in books and in our imaginations. But who were pirates, really?
KCUR, June 21
The Whydah is a pirate ship, which sank in 1717. Pirates at Union Station will tell you about their adventures on the Whydah, show you their treasures, and have sing-alongs. It looks like a lot of fun.
FOX4 WDAF-TV, June 19
Spend a day just like a buccaneer on the first fully authenticated pirate ship ever discovered in the United States.
KCPT, June 19
Meet the Real Pirate Crew
Hear the true tales of the Whydah from the pirates who sailed her! Listen to Captain Bellamy share the tale of why he is known as the “Prince of Pirates” and “Black Sam.” Discover how John Brown ended up aboard the Whydah or ask Dr. Ferguson about the surgeries he performed below deck. Join the crew in an all-pirate sing-along, learn how their treasures were divided, and find out what they feasted on while they were away from land. The Real Pirates man the ship every day, making each journey a unique and interactive voyage.
Hone Your Pirate Skills
What’s a Jolly Roger? How did the crew know where they were going? What happened if the ship broke down at sea?
Aboard Real Pirates, you’ll discover the answer to these questions and many more! Be a buccaneer for the day as you hoist the Jolly Roger, learn to tie nautical knots and keep a look-out for other ships using the telescope. You’ll also see the navigational tools members of the Whydah used to plot their course from the Caribbean to New England. Could you have used the tools to steer clear of the perfect storm that sank the Whydah?
Discover How to Be an Underwater Explorer
In 1984, Barry Clifford and his team managed to locate the wreck of the Whydah and painstakingly unearthed her treasures from the ocean floor. At Real Pirates, not only will you learn how they discovered the Whydah, but see how they pulled each artifact out of the water and the science behind restoring these irreplaceable treasures.
Organized by National Geographic and Arts and Exhibitions International, Real Pirates is the ultimate educational adventure. Fun and interactive, this exhibit examines the history of rich Caribbean trade routes during the 18th century, the link between the slave trade and piracy, and the science of the unearthing the past for the people of today. Each journey aboard Real Pirates is a one-of-a-kind experience that you’ll want to relive again and again!