Ahoy, ye mateys! Proudly don yer puffy shirts and eye patches, set yer squawkin' Polly upon yer shoulder, and take pause from pillaging and plundering for the Pirates in Paradise Festival in Key West.
Kicking off ten days of buccaneers, battles, and booty is the first of several Topsail Schooner Wolf tall-ship sails and pirate attacks. Tonight from 5:00 to 6:30 the Jolly Roger will wave as you hit the high seas with Captain Finbar and a crew of re-enactors. (Those little boats in the harbor won't know what hit 'em!) Tickets cost $25 to $50. Arrive 30 minutes prior to departure or else ye may be walkin' the plank. Call 305-296-9694, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations.
To mark the end of fierce winds and rough seas, raise a mug with National Weather Service meteorologists to celebrate the last day of hurricane season Wednesday, November 30. Weather-watchers will shed their raincoats for a ceremonial burning of hurricane warning flags at the Pier House Resort (1 Duval St.; 305-296-4600) from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Admission is free.
Also on Wednesday, pirates with hearts of gold will collect relief supplies to benefit local hurricane victims at the El Meson de Pepe's Caribbean Pirates Buffet and Silent Auction (411 Wall St. at Mallory Square). Bring canned goods, linens, and baby supplies, and get your fill of delicious Cuban fare from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Tickets cost $10 to $20. Call 305-296-9694 for reservations. Following dinner, you can wander out to El Meson's garden plaza and rest your sea legs as you listen to tall tales of the sea with Lorian Hemingway and shipwreck survivor Capt. Finbar Gittelman. The storytellers start spinning at 8:00. Admission is free.
Shiver me timbers! The pirates continue to party through Sunday, December 4, with a myriad of swashbuckling events including treasure hunts, black-powder weapons demonstrations, and a children's pirate school at the Fort Taylor Pirate Fest, Pirate Pub, and Village Thieves' Market (inside the fort at the end of Southard Street through Truman Annex). Admission is two to four dollars with park admission. Call 305-296-9694, or visit www.piratesinparadise.com for a complete schedule. Lyssa Oberkreser
Everyone knows, loves, celebrates the University of Miami's football team. Equal attention and admiration should go to UM's Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science. Located next to the Seaquarium, at 4600 Rickenbacker Cswy., Virginia Key, this school of the sea is a major player in the world of oceanography. This week, two events will put the six-decade-old institution in the spotlight. The third Symposium on Deep Sea Corals: Science and Management, beginning Monday, November 28, will feature three prominent coral-reef experts presenting lectures about this important parochial topic. Tonight at 7:00 the three experts will be offering information about medicinal benefits that can be obtained from sponges and soft corals, the ecology of marine organisms, and the cold coral reefs off Florida's Atlantic coast. Coral reefs occupy only .7 percent of the ocean floor but provide homes and nursery grounds for 25 percent of known marine species. This is a free public forum. On Tuesday, November 29, at 6:00 p.m., also in the Rosenstiel auditorium, Dr. Lora Fleming will present "Toxic Autumn Colors: Red Tide." Part of a new series called KEY!Notes, this event is also free. Call 305-421-4704, or visit www.rsmas.miami.edu. Greg Baker
Lighting by the Dock of the Bay
Sing out loud at Bayfront Park
Just yesterday you put away the turkey and the pumpkin pie, and today the holiday season has officially kicked in to high gear. Celebrate at Bayfront Park (301 N. Biscayne Blvd., Miami) with a special ceremony featuring the lighting of an impressive 50-foot tree and live music by professional carolers. Tim Schmand, executive director of the Bayfront Park Management Trust, wants everyone to join in regardless of their vocal skills. "I was singing last year during the holidays, and someone told me I was way off-key. Well, you know what? I don't care! I was enjoying myself," explains Schmand. His advice to those suffering next to tone-deaf crooners? "Sing louder!" Schmand retorts. Besides the cacophony of carols, enjoy a spectacular fireworks display. Admission is free, but everyone should bring an unwrapped toy or book for the Starbucks Holiday Angels Joy Drive to benefit the Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation, providing Christmas cheer for children in local hospitals. The ceremony begins tonight at 7:00. Call 305-358-7550, or visit www.bayfrontparkmiami.com. Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik
Get stoned without suffering from lethargy and the munchies at this weekend's Gem, Fossil, & Mineral Show at the Miami Museum of Science & Planetarium (3280 S. Miami Ave, Miami). Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Miami Mineralogical & Lapidary Guild will present items from its rare collections; you'll see live demonstrations of gemstone cutting and can attend gem-mining workshops. The exhibit is open today from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Today also marks the beginning of the annual museum store sale. Shop for books, toys, telescopes, and nifty experiment kits for the mad scientists in your family, and you'll save 25 percent on all regularly priced items through December 9.
On Wednesday, November 30, the museum is hosting an "R&R (Resiliency & Rebuilding) Festival" to mark the release of rehabilitated birds of prey rescued after Hurricane Wilma. The 11:00 a.m. ceremony will also celebrate the launch of a year-long renovation of the museum's Wildlife Center. Admission ranges from six to ten dollars. Call 305-646-4209, or visit www.miamisci.org. Lyssa Oberkreser