The beaches are typically what draw people to Panama City, but there is much more to this city. You can enjoy a host of indoor activities when it is rainy or cool, and outdoor activities abound for the beautiful, sunny days. Take the time to plan your visit carefully since there might be days that are rainy or too hot. But whatever the weather, you're sure to enjoy Panama City.
Panama City’s Pier Park is a shopping center that houses a vast array of stores and many restaurants and food stalls. This colorful outdoor venue is best visited when the weather is pleasant enough to venture from store to store. You can also enjoy laser tag, live music, a Grand IMAX theater, and a host of special events. From October through the end of the year, there's a lot going on in Panama City. The Brew and Boo Beer Festival happens in October, and there is a safe trick-or-treat Mall-O-Ween event for children. The Shrimp, Crab & Oyster Festival is in November, and December features a Christmas celebration complete with photos with Santa.
An adults-only option during your visit is the Panama City Beach Winery, which offers tours and tastings of local wines. The wines here are unique because they don’t contain any additional flavorings or sugars. Enjoy sipping some wine while admiring the magnificent beach scene across the street.
The exhibits at Panama City's Ripley’s Believe It or Not center are a fun way to spend a day. There is a 7D moving theater, a mirror maze, and many other interactive options that people of all ages can enjoy. The site is home to a laser race that might appeal to older children and many adults. There is also a dedicated crawl area for kids.
Gator Country Alligator Park offers a safe way to get up close and personal with alligators. One of the alligators was hand-raised and has been trained to understand commands. Bubba puts on a great show. Take a look at the Gators in their natural habitat when you opt for the airboat tour, which also gives you a chance to learn about local birds and enjoy a lively trip through the water. Some airboat captains will do 360-degree turns in the boat for added fun.
St. Andrews State Park is the perfect location to enjoy some time outdoors. You can watch windsurfers and may see ships coming in and out of the local ports. Wander the lagoon area and explore the beaches. You can also walk hike deeper into the wooded areas. Snorkeling and SCUBA diving instructors are sometimes available for lessons.
ZooWorld Zoological Conservatory is more than your typical zoo. It is dedicated to conservation efforts for exotic animals and here, you can get up close with many of them. Special programs allow you to snuggle a lemur or pet a sloth. Some people opt to get giraffe kisses, feed alligators, or pet farm animals. This attraction requires at least a full day if you are going to explore everything it has to offer.
Gulf World Marine Park brings sea life to you. Daily educational shows include dolphins and sea lions. You can even add on a chance to swim with the dolphins. Others opt to feed and touch the stingrays. You'll also get to see harbor seals and penguins.
Slingshot & Indy Speedway is a family fun center that hosts a variety of activities for people of all ages. The slingshot propels riders at speeds up to 100 miles per hour. Go-carts, single and double seat options, fly around the track. The Vomatron rotates riders with forces of up to 5gs and at speeds of up to 70 miles per hour.
Adults and children alike can enjoy the activities at Coconut Creek Family Fun Park. The primary attractions are the Grain Maze, which is timed for a fun family challenge. There are also two 18-hole miniature golf courses in a tropical setting with a safari theme, complete with landscaping and music.
This barrier island divides the Gulf of Mexico from the St. Andrew Bay. Sand dunes and a host of natural life can be found on Shell Island. You can get there via a tour boat or one of the shuttles that run from St. Andrews State Park. Beware, there aren’t any restrooms or other facilities on the all-natural island, so make sure you are ready for those conditions when you venture there.