While the incredible sense of history around the 127-year-old Polly Woodside – an original tall ship that carried cargo on 16 death-defying voyages around the world before ending up in Australia in 1921 – is a compelling draw for adults, its monthly transformation into a pirate den makes it a must for kids’ entertainment.
“We celebrate Polly’s life story with children and adults every day,” says customer service and operations coordinator Shara Canzano. “They get to experience what life was like on board the ship. They even get to scrub the decks like the crew used to.”
The monthly Pirate Day activities include treasure hunts, raising the anchor, arts and crafts, pirate games and face painting. Roving pirate Del will turn their balloons into swords or hats, while they can also expect to meet Captain Obadiah Flotsam and Rum Bottle Lotl.
“The energy and laughter coming from the families is wonderful,” says Canzano. “Seeing Dad walking the plank, involved in a tug-o-war or scrubbing the decks is great for kids.”
As well as the customer service staff there are two riggers who keep up the maintenance of the ship and the 'First Mates' who carry out the hourly tours.
“Anyone can feel the sense of history on the ship, especially if they have visited the accompanying gallery we have,” says Canzano. “Here we have real footage of Polly sailing around Cape Horn. We also have a theatrette with a short film depicting what life was like on board Polly in 1904 based on the diary of carpenter George Andrews. There’s also Marion ‘Polly’ Woodside’s posy holder, which she held on the day Polly was launched in 1885.”
Aaaargh, no! Some pirate jokes to amuse your young buccaneers...
Why are pirates so mean?
I don’t know, they just aaaargh.
How much did the pirate pay for his hook and wooden peg?
An arm and a leg!
Why did the pirate cross the sea?
To get to the other tide.
What do pirates use to blow their noses?
What do you get when you cross a pie and a rat?
A pie rat.