“A license to steal” my delirious Pirates of the Carribean adventure at Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach

Arrrgh! Whatever happened to Queen’s Anne Revenge? Wanna rub elbows with 18th century VIPs like Blackbeard, Captain Morgan and Edward Lowe? Well come down to Myrtle Beach Ripley’s Aquarium, a haunted house filled with odd sea creatures, outlaws and monster sharks!

Welcome to the Pirates World at Ripley's Aquarium!

Welcome to the Pirates World at Ripley's Aquarium!

Sea masters, privateers and just brilliant marketing pioneers…a world of mystery, wits and terror. Most romanticized the pirates’ “rise against the machine”, others spited it for their ruthless and savage ways. Either way, the buccaneers stories were the first blockbusters fascinating the mankind to this day.

Pirates Exhibit highlights, funny facts and trivia:

Extreme Fear Factor
Pirates preferred to rule through terror and worked hard building their brand. Contrary to popular belief most pirates hated fighting! Fights led to injuries, deaths and major treasures loss. So they often engaged in sadistic rituals that killed all but few captives…’cause “dead men told no stories”

Legend has it Edward Lowe chopped off the lips of an opposing captain then forced him to watch his 32-crew being decimated before his eyes.

Ruthless intimidation tactics

Ruthless intimidation tactics


Don’t blame it all on the pirates. Most of the tactics were taken from the Royal Navy training book. It was said that service in the Navy “was like life in prison, with the addition danger of drowning”!

Not all pirates were fond of torturing. Edward England for one left his opponent go free after he won a fierce battle. His crew didn’t appreciate it and threw him out! England spent his last days as a beggar on the streets of Madagascar. Nice guys finish last after all…

Do you have what it takes to be a buccaneer?
The successful ones (those that lived pass 30s) possessed charisma, brains, brawns, nautical skills and lots of luck. Here’s a pirate typical profile: 27 years old, uneducated (those who could read became captains!), low social status, a criminal record, and sea life experience. Interested? Here are some possible pirate career paths:
• Captain – educated (aka knows how to read). You’re in charge only during missions
• Quartermaster – “chief of justice”
• Cook – low culinary standards yet you’re expected to sew some skin!
• Surgeon – rarely on board, most likely the cook and carpenter played doctor!
• Master gunner – bomb baby bomb!
• Musician – well regarded to cheer up the crew.
• Carpenters, boatswains, shipwrights – the browns doing all the heavy lifting and the never ending repair work…

Runaway Design Show take notice!

Pirate Flag Designs

Pirate Flag Designs

Pirates boasted incredible Black Flag designs and a buoyant outwear fashion. I guess if you gotta kill then do it with style! 🙂 Bond, James Bond…

Here is a slideshow with more exhibit photos…just in case you need more convincing!

Ripley’s Aquarium hours, admission and location
The Aquarium is open Sun – Thu 9AM to 7PM and Fri – Sat 9AM to 9PM. General admission includes dive shows and special exhibition hall (sales tax is additional):
• Adults: $18.99
• Children (6-11): $9.99
• Children (2-5): $3.99
There are group discounts and Ripley’s attractions combo tickets available. Call 1-800-734-8888 or visit their website for details.

Ripley’s Aquarium is located inside Broadway at the Beach off of 29th North Avenue.

What else is fun for kids around Myrtle Beach for under $10?

Blackbeard Ruthless Pirate of the Carribean!

Blackbeard Ruthless Pirate of the Carribean!

• Watch grumpy longhorns kicking emus, undecided black bears, roaring lions and impassable Sony and Cher at Waccatee Zoo the “Beast Place” on the beach…($8 adults, $4 kids)

Mirror, mirror on the wall, haven’t I been here before?“…lose yourself at the awesomely fun Mirror Maze located inside Barefoot Landing shopping center ($7 multiple entries all day admission)

• Yearlings, toddlers, and babies of all ages kick it up a notch at the Children Museum (you can even hunt for diamonds!) ($7 everyone)

The Gators are here…no really they are…at Huntington Beach State Park at least. ($5 adults, under 5 get in FREE).

Ahoy Mates! Ahoy!

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Walhalla historic things to see – Oconee Station, Oconee Heritage Center, St. John Lutheran Church, Tamassee School and Fort George

History abounds at every step near Walhalla and the entire Upstate region. Here are some suggestions and the custom Google Map on what to do with kids while vacationing at Oconee State Park. As you can see is not just about incredibly beautiful waterfalls or gem mines hunting!

Oconee Historic Station
Fear of Indian attacks resulted in several small forts being erected from 1770s to 1792 in what’s now known as Oconee and Pickens counties.

William Richards 1805 house at Oconee Historic Station

William Richards 1805 house at Oconee Historic Station

General Robert Anderson wrote in 1792 “I have ordered the people to build blockhouses, where they are exposed and intimidated, to fly to with their families in case of alarm…I have ordered trusty spies to be constantly kept out of Tugalo and at the Oconee Mountain, as they are the spots…which will be most exposed.”
The Historic Oconee Station was built in 1792 on the Cherokee trading path near the abandoned Oconee village (in 1868 Oconee County will be named after it). It will serve as a military outpost from 1792 to 1799, defended by 30 militia men recruited from the “hardiest and best hunters”.

From 1795 to 1809 the station acted as a significant Indian Trading post, owned and operated by Irish immigrant William Richards who bought the property from General Andrew Pickens. He built a two story brick house in 1805 where he lived until his death. An 1809 inventory of the estate revealed 30,000 deer skins, 329 bear skins, 82 pounds of ginseng and many other sundry items!

St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church, Oconee Heritage Center, Walhalla and Seneca Libraries

One of Walhalla’s most cherished attractions is the St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church.

1853 Saint John Lutheran Church in Walhalla (original building still standing!)

1853 Saint John Lutheran Church in Walhalla (original building still standing!)

The church was organized in 1853 by German immigrants who also founded Walhalla in 1850. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The original building still stands today. To tour the church call for an appointment (864) 638-6363. St. John church is located on 301 Main Street in Walhalla.

Housed in a 1892 tobacco warehouse, the Oconee Heritage Center is another must see Walhalla museum features an 18th century dugout canoe, early maps and artifacts, a Depression era farmer’s house and a Stump House tunnel replica. The center is located at 123 Brown Square behind the Court House and is open Tue, Thu and Fri from 12 to 5 PM and Sat 10 AM – 3 PM. Free admission.

Kids will enjoy reading at the Walhalla Library.

Reading with Pooh at the Seneca Library

Reading with Pooh at the Seneca Library

The library has an extensive collection of early Cherokee maps, like “The Cherokee Village Map” by Margaret Seaborn that is available for purchase there.

Speaking of library please drive to Seneca (where most of shopping is done anyway) and spend some quality time at its historic library. The site used to house the first 3 Seneca schools.

Fort Prince George and Tamassee School (near Lake Keowee)

In 1753 the British built a stockade style fort across the river from Keowee Town to protect against the Cherokees. It was the scene of a brutal massacre after the British lured in a group of Cherokees leaders, imprisoned and killed them. Currently Fort George is covered by Lake Keowee as is the Keowee Town.

On August 12, 1776 Andrew Pickens fought the mighty Cherokees in what is now called The Ring Fight. The battle was part of a military campaign to destroy all Indian villages in the area.

1753 Fort George replica at Pickens County Museum

1753 Fort George replica at Pickens County Museum

The 1777 treaty was signed and the Cherokees ceded most of the land that now comprises Oconee, Pickens, Greenville and Anderson counties. Andrew Pickens’s last home was built on a hill overlooking the Tamassee Village.

In 1919 The Daughters of the American Revolution Society founded the Tamassee DAR School. Currently it serves as home and family services for South Carolina and Georgia children in crisis. The school is open daily 8 AM – 5 PM; appointments preferred, call (864) 944-1390.

Other fun and mostly free things to do with kids around Walhalla

• Go to Lake Jocassee the finest fishing place in the Southeast where you have plenty of recreational activities.

Happy on the metal horse - Walhalla Art by Robert

Happy on the metal horse - Walhalla Art by Robert


• At Oconee State Park where you can swim, canoe, kayak, fish, paddle-boat, play putt-golf or hike around the lake. Those more adventurous can access the start of the famous Foothills Trail.

• Visit Duke’s World of Energy to learn how electricity is generated from water, coal and uranium. There are many interactive exhibits, a real-size nuclear reactor replica and fun games to test your scientific knowledge.

• Drive to Pickens to see Andrew Pickens’s duel pistols, the old jail with its famous Winchester Axe, and the legendary Hagood Mill, one of the oldest and still operating gristmills in South Carolina.