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Our family enjoyed nine whole days at Oak Island for our boys’ birthdays. As a surprise to both of the boys, my mother-in-law booked a few events with Black Sails Adventure Company based in Oak Island, NC.
During our snail’s-pace study of United States history, we spent about four solid months studying the Golden Age of Pirates. This was one of my favorite mini-units. I knew next to nothing about pirates, and it was so fun for my boys to not just learn but do a ton of things experiencially to live out pirate adventures through play. I hope to share some of the resources and events we did in an upcoming blog post, as I have been so inspired by these events that have made history come to life for our family.
Black Sails Adventure Company: Pirates at the Point
When my mother-in-law initially mentioned the Black Sails Pirates at the Point event to me as something special to do for Little Brother’s birthday, I was in the throws of packing and only half-listening. I came away from the conversation thinking it was a guy dressed up as a pirate reading a picture book about pirates on the beach. Which wouldn’t at all have been a bad thing. That said, the show put on by Captain Jack Sparrow FAR exceeded my expectations.
First of all, the costume. I’ve only seen one Pirates of the Caribbean movies, and even I could tell that the likeness was incredible.
Captain Jack Sparrow had down the accent, manerisms, and walk of a true pirate. Black Sails also had a very professional setup, with a pirate flag to signal to attendees that they had the right place, and microphone and speaker so everyone could hear the performance.
The first order of business was to swear all the children present into the official “Pirate Guild of North Carolina” (which may or may not be a real thing, if you ask Google, but we won’t tell the kiddos that), complete with an oath and a special pirate coin given to each to represent his membership. Each young pirate also had to come up with their own pirate name.
The show had everything you could want. There was audience participation (including a trivia quiz where the young pirates pick a representative from their family to answer pirate trivia and this homeschool mama failed miserably). They also made one father “walk the plank” – I’ll leave that one as a surprise. There was humor in the way of pirate jokes.
Captain Jack Sparrow is a gifted storyteller. He wove humor and history together as he told us several true pirate stories. The boys were riveted.
The event lasted close to an hour, ending with Captain Jack Sparrow shooting off a Cheroot cane cannon at dusk. (I don’t have pictures of this because I took a video instead, which I will not be sharing to protect the privacy of other attendees at the event.) All in all, our family had a wonderful time. LB said it was his favorite part of his 7th birthday!
Black Sails Adventure Company: The Pirate Scavenger Hunt
As a special gift for Ezra’s birthday, Grandma booked our family the Pirate Walking Scavenger Hunt with Black Sails. “Captain Jack Sparrow’s Assistant” (who bore a striking resemblance to the great pirate himself) dropped off the first clue (and some birthday wishes) at our beach house around 9AM.
The first clue and an accompanying key came in a message in a bottle, which Daddy read and we decoded as a family.
From there, Grandpa drove us to the first destination. After that, all of the clues were within walking distance. I’m embarassed to say it took us a solid 30 minutes to find Clue #2 – we had the right street, but didn’t go far enough down the street! But once we found the first one, it went very quickly! We had no problem completing the hunt in PLENTY of time.
Little Brother wasn’t feeling well and had a bad case of the grumpies, but Ezra maintained his exhuberance in spite of the heat and humidity.
And then the moment of discovery…
We were able to interact with Black Sails Adventure Company again this past week at Belville’s Feast of the Pirates, which I’ll share in an upcoming post. This morning, Little Brother asked me, “Mom, when is the next pirate event?” He was quite upset when I told him I have no pirate events planned in the near future.
While Oak Island is a destination we only get to a few times a year, I know many of our friends also frequent Oak Island as a vacation spot! Black Sails Adventure Company holds events year-round and is promising more opportunities to come in the future beyond what is currently offered. I hope you will share this post with anyone you know who might be heading to Oak Island!