My friends and I lived at Pirates, a giant arcade housed in a castle at 7090 Coral Way in Miami. Pirate’s Theme Center opened on December 26th, 1983, just a few miles from my home in Westchester.
My world wasn’t the same after that day.
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.
Pirates Theme Center was the place to be for us Westchester & South Miami kids. Most folks who remember Pirates called it by the name popularized by abuelitas (grandmas), who brought their grandchildren there, Los Piratas.
Pirates Theme Center was filled with the hottest arcade games of the day and a bunch of interactive games. Your wins were paid in tickets that would be traded in for a whistle or some other item you just had to have when you were a kid.
Later, they opened a 22,000 square-foot second wing in the back of the building, including one of those ball pits and bumper boats, amongst other attractions.
Did Pirates Have Good Pizza?
My parents brought my sister and me to Pirates regularly, and we attended a handful of birthday celebrations, which meant hangin’ in the theater, eating & watching the animatronics show. I specifically recall the pizza tasting good, but I was just a kid, so maybe I remember it all wrong.
My first encounter with Dragon’s Lair’s animated video game was my most vivid memory at Pirates Theme Center. It probably holds the lifetime record for taking the most considerable amount of quarters from me; I was horrible at it (and it was 50 cents a game back then).
Newspaper Articles about Pirates
My best guesstimate is that Pirates Theme Center closed early in the summer of 1992; since closings aren’t covered by the media as much as grand openings.
Look What I’ve Got!
If you’ve got any Pirates or Piratas stories, for that matter, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear them. And if you’ve got any pictures, me love you long time.
*Before its incarnation as a child’s entertainment center, it was Coral Way Drive-In, Lindsley Lumber, then Davidson Lumber Yard; it is currently a Pollo Tropical.
**Pirates Theater picture courtesy of Marisol Geilin Sosa