I remember we sometimes had turtle soup on the menu at home. That was in the sixties. The soup might have come from the soup pot displayed in this very place, a wooden shed built on the kraals, which is now the museum.
After an interesting introduction by Rick, the conservator, who knows everything about Key West’s turtle history, we spent about 30 minutes watching objects, photos and videos and reading displays. There is an exhibition of objects found in the kraals, such as glass marbles, parts of turtle skeletons…
The entrance is free, but donations are appreciated. Thanks to Rick, we managed to see one of the few green turtles living around the island. One of the highlights of our KW visit!
In the old days, sea turtles were kept in kraals or pens until they were used for turtle soup. The tower (photo 3) was so that people could look down into the pens and see how many turtles there were. That's because (as you can see) due to reflections and the fact that the turtles might be overlapping it wasn't possible to see how many there were from pier level. In the picture, my dad is looking at the sea turtles in these pens.
Here on the docks, the first Key West Turtle Cannery opened in 1849. Key West's turtle industry flourished until the 1970s, when its closure was forced because of a diminishing population of green turtles in the Caribbean.
Then in 1973 (we left the island in 1968) the endangered species act protected all sea turtles and the Turtle Kraals museum was opened at the site of Key West's first turtle cannery. The Museum offers visitors the opportunity to learn about the history of the industry, to view a live sea turtle and to help ensure the survival of these prehistoric animals.
When we were here on our boat, the museum was free, and we used the turtle kraal tower as a landmark to get to the dinghy dock.
The tower was demolished in the last hurricane and isn't there anymore. Also the person running the museum wasn't doing a good job and is no longer there either. The museum is now part of a combination ticket to the Mel Fisher Museum. Or you can skip Mel Fisher and just come here for $3.00
When we walked from the Oldest House/Wrecker's Museum (which was worth a visit) to the Truman White House (which we decided was NOT going to be worth the money so we didn't tour it) we passed this museum, which was one that I had been totally unaware existed. I think it was 'after our time', and that Jessie Porter was still living there when we lived in Key West although I cannot find out the date when she died.
Among other notables, Robert Frost was an old friend of Miss Jessie and spent many winters staying in her garden cottage. I found this surprising because I think of Robert Frost as quintessentially New England, with snow and rock walls.
Jessie Porter was instrumental in creating the Old Island Restoration Foundation, which started with the Audubon House.
The Porter house which is now the museum has columned porches on two floors, a white picket fence and an array of antiques and seafaring artifacts. Robert Frost's cottage is also here and is open to tours. Admission is $6 adults, $1 for children 12-18, with other children admitted free.
I was also totally unaware that the three houses (Audubon (admission $9), Oldest House (admission$5) and Heritage House) are all open for tours 10am to 4:00pm Monday through Saturday on a single ticket which is $15.00 - available at the Heritage House Museum, 410 Caroline Street, during museum hours.
the turtle kraals museum is located on key west harbor just a couple of blocks north east of duval street. this small museum is about the history of key west's turtle canning industry. at the museum are the old turtle kraals, (cages) where sea turtles were kept before processing. on my first visit to key west in the 1960's turtles were still being held in the kraals. in 1971 sea turtles were put on the endangered species list and now it is illegal to sell sea turtle meat in the U.S. admission to the museum is free.
This is without a doubt a hoakey "museum." It does however offer something of interest for children and adults.
The Jose Marti display is well worth a quick visit. This is an integral part of the history of Key West.
There is a big reproduction of Grant Woods' couple in his painting American Gothic standing in front of the old Customs House which is now a museum. This was a very popular photography stop.
(To be completed
This institute was founded in 1871 by Cuban exiles. They came to Key West to organize the campaign for Cuba's indepence. It was named after Seminario San Carlos. The first building was made from wood and located on Anne Street.
They moved to a larger builiding in 1874 which was destroyed in the large Key West fire in 1886.
The building on this picture was completed in 1924.
The institute is a place of pilgrimage for the Cuban people. The famous Opera Star Enrico Caruso has performed here, but there also have been speeches from the balcony by Cuban Patriot Jose Marti.
The San Carlos is open daily except Mondays. Guided tours and film presentations are offered hourly in English and Spanish.
Pat Croce's Pirate Soul Museum is overpriced, but it's still cool. My husband and I forked over $30 for the two of us (I could have paid two dollars less if I had remembered to bring the $1 off coupon that I printed out online).
The museum is self-guided and has many pirate artifacts, replicas, and several really cool computer systems that you can go through and learn about a particular pirate (like Captain Morgan!).
If they had just charged a little less $10-$12, I would not have felt like I was overcharged, but I guess they're just keeping with the pirate theme starting at the ticket booth.
I stumbled on this place while checking out Higgs Beach. This place was way better than the beach! The local garden club has planted some amazing flowers and trees here and they take care of it very well. The tower is interesting too; very old war-time architecture.
Garden club is donation only.
The pirate mesuem is a great place to spend a few hours. I was a little skeptical at first, but I really enjoyed it. Everyone in my group loved it...and there were no children. They have a lot of interesting things in there and it is also interactive. Well worth a stop in!!
If you are into pirates I recommend checking this place out. The museum offers pirate history, pirate artifacts (such as Captain Kidd's journal, Captain Tew's treasure chest, and Blackbeards blundress), and pirate gift shop.
Pirate Soul and next door Rum Barrel are owned by Pat Croce (author of many books).
Opened: 9am-7pm daily
The PIRATE SOUL Museum is a hell of an experience. It may be silly... but I grew up reading book about piracy, so I was smiling since the moment I stepped in till long after I left! ha!
They have the largest collection of artifacts in the World. Guns, knives, furniture... everything! It's very dynamic... you may compare it to Disney World, but in this case... pirates are cooler than a freaking mouse!!! ha!
Pat Croce, former president and part owner of the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team, has opened his pirate museum in Key West.
The Pirate Soul museum features nearly 500 authentic artifacts, many from Croce's private collection, depicting piracy's golden age from 1690 to 1730. The 5,000-square-foot, $10 million museum uses state-of-the-art, audio-animatronic elements to explore the lives of notorious buccaneers like shipmates Anne Bonny and Mary Read, and Florida Keys pirate Black Caesar.
The best feature of Pirate Soul, about in the middle of the 4,000-square-foot building, is a mock-up of a cargo hold. Visitors perch themselves on benches as prisoners and put on earphones. The hold becomes pitch-black and the sounds from above go from barely heard to shouted. An enemy comes onto the ship and demands ransom, perhaps the throats of the human cargo below.
We met the owner, Pat Croce, who told us that most of the exhibits were created by Disney.
Pirate Soul is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Tickets priced at $12.95 per adult and $6.95 for children.
This house was maintained by US President, Harry Truman, as a vacation home. Many other later presidents also used it as a retreat.
I am not a fan of the Ripley's places. Last time I went to one I was disappointed; I was expecting more "weird and cool" stuff.
But if you are a fan, there is one here in Key West.