Booty Call

Like any good story of adventure on the high seas, Sam Bellamy’s began with unrequited love: Smitten with a girl beyond his station and rebuffed by her parents, the young sailor set sail to make his fortune. “He did it the quickest way,” says Mark Lach, senior vice president of Arts and Exhibitions International. “Piracy.” Specifically, he commandeered a state-of-the-art slave ship called the Whydah and used it to maraud and pillage and do all the other awesome stuff that pirates do, and then, after a year, he set a course for Cape Cod and his love. Just 1,500 feet off the coast, the ship sank.

That was nearly 300 years ago, but a pirate ship full of pirate treasure is never truly forgotten, and the wreck was found in 1984. Now the Whydah and all its booty has resurfaced at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, in a show organized by AEI. “This ship was a legend,” Lach asserts, and the exhibition, Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah, allows you to see it for yourself, as well as experience a number of other piratical activities — most notably, climbing aboard a full-scale reproduction of the rear of the ship. Ahoy!

The exhibit continues through August 21 at the museum, 2001 Colorado Boulevard; tickets are $14 to $22 and include general museum admission. For more information, call 303-370-6000 or visit
March 4-Aug. 21, 2011