pirates, primates, and prehistoric pigs

Posted on March 21st, 2011 by mountain girl  |  3 Comments »

One of the places we visited when Caleb was here was the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. We’ve been there a few times with Zia, and it’s such a cool place. This time, along with seeing the regular museum rooms, we got tickets to the special exhibit: Pirates. It was the story of the wreck of the Whydah, a slave ship that was captured by pirate captain Sam Bellamy and his crew (one of the pirates was a 9-year-old boy who ran away from home). The ship was wrecked in a storm off the New England coast in 1717. It’s a fascinating story. The pirate ship was finally discovered in 1984 by a guy whose uncle told him the story when he was a kid. The nephew searched diligently for years before he found it. It’s all pretty intriguing, from the little intricately carved belt buckles and pistol plates, to the spoons with the pirates’ initials carved in them, to the cannons, to the ship’s bell (hauntingly engraved with the name Whydah), to the treasure. Yes, the treasure! They saved it for the end; you walk into one of the last rooms of the exhibit and there it is, a chest, several chests, overflowing with silver coins.

It’s the only pirate treasure ever found.

I find that hard to believe, but come to think of it, I’ve never heard of another pirate treasure actually being discovered. It seems people are always just searching for them, right?

I know I’m telling this story with a ton of words and no pictures to back it up. They wouldn’t allow photography, to my frustration, so if you ever get a chance to see this exhibit, see it. It’s great.

On to the other parts of the museum!

This is a Triceratops skull found in Brighton, Colorado. It’s cool, but I’m not sure I would know what it was if I discovered it! I would be turning it every which way, wondering what was up and what was down.

The big creature on the right with paddle-things on his back was found complete somewhere else in Colorado. Amazing…I think if I found this one, I would at least know it’s some sort of 4-legged creature (let’s hope so, anyway).

This is the climbing primate exhibit. He looked so real I almost tweaked his nose.

Zia is scared to death of this monster. It’s a huge 3-dimensional pig-like thing, built from who-knows-what bones they found. It really is scary, and it makes horrible grunts and snorts when you walk by. Absolutely terrifying.

The lower level of the museum houses an amazing gem and mineral collection. This giant topaz caught my eye, since it used to be owned by the artist Salvadore Dali! It’s one of the world’s largest multi-faceted gems. I think it’s about 7″ in diameter.

Like the pirate treasure, I saved the best for last: the guy I found out on the museum balcony. Who wouldn’t love a face like this? But don’t let that sweet smile fool you…in another day and age, he could’ve been a pirate.

3 Responses to “pirates, primates, and prehistoric pigs”

  1. Tracy Martin says on :

    The pirate exhibit sounds so exciting! I am sure my boys would LOVE it! And a real treasure! This sounds like the movie National Treasure. I wonder if that’s where they got the idea? Very very cool. Give David and Zia my love!

  2. Allison says on :

    Fun! You are right I haven’t heard of any other treasure that has been found. I was wondering where the pictures were. Then I read your reason why. 🙂

  3. Leah says on :

    So much fun! You’re a great writer, I didn’t mind so much that there weren’t pictures (although it would be a bonus). I don’t think that pig-like creature looks very nice. I can’t imagine who thought it was a good idea to give it scary noises, too. Grown ups.