Cuban Guys in Hialeah

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Remembering Pirates Family Entertainment Center aka Los Piratas

El Rey de las Fritas

Pirate's - December 1983
‘Pirate’ theme center opens in Miami – December 30th, 1983

My world wasn’t the same after December 1983, why you may be asking yourself? That’s because *Pirate’s Theme Center opened up (7090 Coral Way) just a few short miles from my home in Westchester.

Sure, there was Castle Park (later Malibu Grand Prix) right next to Midway Mall (now Mall of the Americas), Chuck E Cheese in Hialeah right on 49th next to the recently opened Toy R Us and the Mark Twain’s Riverboat Playhouse¬†right near Don Carter’s Bowling Alley on Kendall Drive & 137th but Pirates was for us Westchester kids.

Most folks who remember Pirates called it by the name popularized by Abuelitas who brought their grandchildren there, Piratas.

Pirates was filled with the hottest arcade games of the day and a bunch of interactive games where your skill was paid in tickets that could be traded in for a whistle or some other item you just had to have when you were a kid.

Later on they opened a second wing in the back which included if my memory serves me correct one of those ball pits and bumper boats amongst other attractions.

Pirates Miami
Pirates Theater picture courtesy of Marisol Geilin Sosa

My parents brought my sister and I to Pirates regularly and we attended a handful of birthday celebrations which meant hangin’ in the theater, eating & watching the animatronics show. I do remember the Pizza being good but I was just a kid so who knows.

My most vivid memory at Pirates was my first encounter with the animated video game Dragon’s Lair. It probably holds the lifetime record for taking the largest amount of quarters from me, I was absolutely horrible at it (and it was 50 cents a game).

If you’ve got any Pirates or Pirates stories for that matter leave a comment, I’d love to hear them.

And if you’ve you got any pictures me love you long time.

*Prior to its incarnation as a child’s entertainment center, it was Davidson Lumber Yard, it’s now a Pollo Tropical.

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  • Joel Hernandez

    yes! I had a roger rabbit themed birthday party here… i remember my cake was jessica rabbit! I don’t know where it is… likely somewhere in my parents house, but I had one of those leatherette keychains with the photo encased in plastic that would slide in-out. Anyone remember those things?!?

  • Elizabeth Sanchez

    Omg, I LOVED Pirates!!! We wentwent there so many times. What a shame that there aren’t any placesany places like that anymore.

  • zdiddy888

    Man, Los Piratas! I remember getting so freakin’ amped crossing the bridge over their man-made moat and opening up the huge double doors into a fortress of fun. The best arcades games were there – it was probably the only place I ever saw a full-out motion version of the classic After Burner game. I was so sad when it was eventually torn down and first turned into a car dealership.

  • godspeed843

    That place was awesome. Anybody have more pictures of the inside? I remember watching some Dolphins games in there. I remember the video games being awesome. Anecdote: I must have been slow on the uptake cuz the older kids would always steal my quarters while they came out of the change machine. Led to me covering the top of where the quarters come out and protecting my loot.

  • Jamie-Jay

    I’m so glad I’m not the only person that remembers this place. I had my 6 year old Batman themed birthday there and it was my best birthday as a kid. The arcade was incredible and the rides in the back (mini ferris wheel, bumper boats, carousel) were awesome to have indoors. I would ride them for hours. The pizza was good too from what I remember. My abuelita took me there every other Saturday until it closed.

    Was there ever reason why it closed because this place and Riverboat Playhouse seemed always busy with kids and parents? The kids today will never know how awesome that place was…

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