Pirate tuck-ins at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island

Pirate tuck-ins at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island

Shiver me timbers! Where in the world will a pirate, a princess, and a parrot tuck your little ones into bed? Nowhere but the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, where a bedtime story with milk and cookies and a real blue-and-gold macaw is one of many cool activities for kids.

One of the Sea Islands, Amelia Island’s white sandy beaches and idyllic charm are merely a backdrop to the region’s exciting history. As long ago as the year 1000 A.D., the island was populated by Native American groups. In 1562, French explorers were the first Europeans to reach the island, followed in quick succession by Spanish, then British, forces. Georgia’s founder and colonial governor named the island after Princess Amelia, the daughter of King George II.

Meanwhile, thanks to the Embargo Act and the abolition of the slave trade in the early 1800s, Amelia Island was a hotbed for pirates and smugglers. Along came Gregor MacGregor, an itinerant adventurer who wanted to invade the United States through Florida, starting with Amelia Island. He ultimately failed, but his buddy Louis-Michel Aury, leader of a Galveston Island pirates’ gang, took over MacGregor’s troops. After taking over Amelia Island, Aury (under the Mexican flag) got a legislature elected, set up a constitutional committee, and rallied Florida to rebel against Spain.

That plan didn’t last too long, as the United States soon took the opportunity to send over a naval force to capture Amelia Island and put an end to the brief republic.

Now, your kids probably won’t get the full, detailed history of pre-statehood Florida with their milk and cookies, but they’ll hear a cool & age-appropriate pirate-themed story, along with a treasure chest full of booty! What could be better than that?

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