Real Pirates

 The Untold Story of the Whydah from Slave Ship to Pirate Ship




The classical age of piracy is brought to life in Real Pirates! Open now through April 19, 2015

Real Pirates tells the true story of the Whydah – a pirate ship that sank off the coast of Cape Cod nearly 300 years ago. The exhibition features treasure chests filled with coins from all over the world, including authentic coins that visitors can touch, pirate dress items, daily objects used aboard the ship, jewelry, and technically advanced weaponry of the time – 18th century cannon, pistols and swords. These artifacts were painstakingly recovered from the ocean floor by underwater explorer Barry Clifford and his team over the past two and a half decades.  One of the most striking artifacts is a replica of the ship’s bell, inscribed “Whydah Galley 1716,” which was used to authenticate the shipwreck site as that of the Whydah.

Real Pirates is a touring exhibition organized by National Geographic and Premier Exhibitions, Inc.

Exhibition highlights:

  • After looting more than 50 ships, the Whydah sank off the coast of Cape Cod in a violent storm nearly 300 years ago
  • Real Pirates will have authentic chests of coins, jewelry, cannons, pistols and a replica of the actual ship that visitors can board
  • Real Pirates will provide visitors with the history and context of the economic, social and political circumstances of the early 18th Century
  • The exhibition will be enjoyable for both kids and adults





Non-Members                                                       Members                 

Adults $17                                                               Adults $12

Seniors $16 (62 and older)                                        Seniors $11 (62 and older)

Children $12 (3-17)                                                   Children $10 (3-17)

Children under 2 are free                                           Children under 2 are free

*includes general admission & a carousel ride            *Members get free audio tours

Audio tours $5 each

Treasure Tuesdays

For March only join the GRPM for Treasure Tuesdays and enjoy the ultimate pirate experience! Museum visitors who purchase a Real Pirates ticket will receive a pirate-themed giveaway, a free carousel ride and free planetarium show. The Museum’s Galleria will offer a pirate hook toss game, coloring pages, and pirate temporary tattoos, free with general admission.

Treasure Tuesdays will begin Tuesday, March 3 and run from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays only throughout the month of March.


Pirate’s Code: The Adventures of Mickey Matson

Now through April 19, visit the Museum on special days and see West Michigan film Pirate’s Code: The Adventures of Mickey Matson.

In this sequel to “Mickey Matson and the Copperhead Treasure,” our heroes, Mickey and his best friend Sully, are forced to take on a mission to save our country from the evil plans of Admiral Ironsides. The Admiral and his motley crew of modern day pirates have taken control of a large merchant ship with plans of deploying a new type of weapon that could destroy every electronic device on Earth. If Ironsides succeeds, it could be the end of the world as we know it.

Located in the Meijer Theater at the GRPM. No ticket required. Run time 1 hr & 40 minutes.

 Click here for showtimes. 


Be ready for a rich and exciting experience that engages visitors from their first step into the exhibit. Young visitors are especially enthralled, drawn to the authentic artifacts presented in a range of media. The exhibit may be viewed from many different perspectives and thus lends itself naturally to interdisciplinary studies. Some of the content areas you will discover embedded in the exhibit include: geography, history, and social studies; science and technology; art and music; language arts; math and measurement.

Teacher Resource Packet


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