As we walked in the door, we were each given a treasure map (which included the gold-coin free-drink token) and encouraged to mingle; there were small appetizer bites available, several bars set up throughout the atrium, and a band playing a variety of music from the '60s and '70s (Bob Marley's "Jammin'" was our favorite tune). The idea was to get people dancing, and they were, proudly strutting their stuff on the open floor.
Upstairs, we walked through the Real Pirates! exhibit, answering questions on the treasure map such as "How much did pirates get paid if they lost a limb on the job?" (It depends on the size of the limb -- we calculated 400 pieces of eight for a limb lost up to the joint, and 800 pieces of eight for a full limb) and "What be the usual mix in a grog?" (rum and water).
The best part of the evening was how enthusiastic the attendees were -- so many people dressed up that it looked like the museum had been overrun by the Whydah. The line for the costume contest stretched across the atrium; the judges clearly had their work cut out for them. (We had to leave before the winner was announced, but trust us: Based on the amount of time and effort that went into the average costume, it would not be easy for anyone to pick the most authentic pirate of the bunch.)
Catch this don't-miss exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, 2001 Colorado Boulevard; visit www.dmns.org for details.