Pirates Theme Center or Los Piratas in Miami

Pirate’s Theme Center opened up (7090 Coral Way) in December of 1983 just a few short 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 for us Westchester & South Miami kids.

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

Pirates Theme Center 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 one of those ball pits and bumper boats, amongst other attractions.

NEWSPAPER ARTICLES

The MiamiHerald Newspaper, 12-23-83
The Miami Herald Newspaper Part 1, 12-29-83
The Miami Herald Newspaper Part 2, 12-29-83
The Evening Independent Newspaper, 12-30-83

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 do remember the Pizza being good, but I was just a kid, so who knows.

My most vivid memory at Pirates Theme Center 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 back then).

MY PRIZED POSSESSION

Pirates’ Arcade Coin that I own

If you’ve got any Pirates or Pirates 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.

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

**Pirates Theater picture courtesy of Marisol Geilin Sosa

19 Comments

  1. 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?!?

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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…

  6. I remember that I was introduced to Super Mario Bros. and I became OBSESSED! That’s when I wanted my own NES for christmas! I went there with my cousins and one of them started to shake the ferris wheel and I was dying! I thought we were going to fall and die! LOL!!! I also LOVED their pizza. I loved all their arcades! It was fun! I remember as I grew, I no longer was able to participate in the little kid rides or games which I became upset. But then a year later they closed. :(….. I will always remember!

  7. I been there several times when I was a kid and had my 5th birthday party there in 1989. Love those arcade games and kiddie rides and with the school group, saw the animatronic show. Loved this place till it closed in 1991.

    1. I love Arcade Odyssey but I don’t need to relive that part of my traumatic video game childhood, lol

  8. My friends and I worked there , probably in 1984. I worked in the kid area that had a ball pit. Played so many video games. Once we were in the Three Kings Parade. So much fun. Many years later I worked at Disney with someone that had worked there too (and was in the parrot costume for the parade) Greg Yapsam..
    Just for fun! ❤

  9. How can I forget…I was one of the Project Designer’s as well with McBride and the Futura Realty team. Good memories…

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