With miles of white sand, calm emerald waters, seaside amusements, and no shortage of family-friendly attractions, Panama City Beach is a great destination for a trip with the kids. You'll find something for everyone, from thrilling experiences for teens to learning museums for little ones to outdoor adventure for the whole family. Discover the best activities to do with kids in Panama City Beach to see what's in store and plan your perfect vacation itinerary.
1. Shop at Pier Park
Pier Park is a popular shopping center that has something for everyone. The shopping center boasts 124 stores offering shoes, jewelry, and clothing from familiar brands like Target, Dillards, JCPenny, Old Navy, and American Eagle. After shopping, you can enjoy a good movie at the Grand IMAX movie theater or have some fun with laser tag at the Mirror Maze & Laser Craze or Pirates Quest Laser Tag. The shopping center also has a Dave & Busters arcade, which has classic games, skill games, and electronic games with prizes.
2. Swim at Panama City Beach shores
Enjoy some fun in the sun with your little ones on 27 miles of crispy white sand fronting the calm, clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico. You'll have many options for things to do on the beach, such as scuba diving, fishing, and boat cruising. The calm, shallow waters are very appealing to any parent with small children. Panama City Beach has numerous beach areas to choose from, so you can have some fun in the sun.
3. Cool off at the Shipwreck Island Waterpark
What kid doesn't enjoy a good ol' water park? Shipwreck Island Waterpark has waterslides, a wave pool, river rapids slide, and multiple kids play areas to keep the kiddos busy. It also has a Treetop Drop, which consists of 2 65-foot tall slides that have tons of speed and lots of thrill. The park is the perfect place for families with younger children and teens since the older kids can enjoy more thrilling experiences while you watch the little ones play at children's splash areas.
4. See curiosities at Ripley's Panama City Beach
Ripley's Panama City Beach is a great experience for kids and adults alike. The oddities museum boasts a massive collection of weird and wacky exhibits, including shrunken heads and record-breaking exhibits. The attraction also has a moving 7D theater for immersive viewings of family films. While watching the movie, you'll twist and turn with the action on the screen and feel the rush of cold wind or drops of rain, so you'll feel like you're in the movie. Other attractions at Ripley's Panama City Beach include the Marvelous Mirror Maze and the Impossible Laser Race.
5. Sail the high seas with the Sea Dragon Pirate Cruise
The Sea Dragon Pirate Cruise is a fun-filled experience that transports you into the adventure of the Golden Age of Piracy. Helmed by Captain "Fearless" Phil and his crew, the cruise takes a 2-hour ride along the coast to see the sights of Panama City Beach and experience life as a pirate. The kids will engage in activities like swabbing the deck, firing kiddie cannons, sword fighting, and reading treasure maps. To test their skills, kids will be challenged to find a sunken treasure and engage in a water-gun fight. Plenty of other activities are included, such as a pirate dance party, face painting, and pirate-themed temporary tattoos.
6. Explore WonderWorks
WonderWorks is a fascinating attraction with over 35,000 square feet of interactive exhibits for kids. Located in a quirky upside-down mansion, the attraction offers exhibits to encourage learning in children, such as a light and sound exhibit, space exploration, and a ropes course. Kids can also learn about science and nature with simulated natural-disaster exhibits. Other highlights include a physical challenge zone, an art gallery, a laser tag course, and a virtual army experience. For creative types, there's an imagination space that encourages artistic exploration with unique activities.
7. Find thrills at Race City Amusement Park
Race City Amusement Park is a popular amusement park with thrill rides, carnival rides, kiddie rides, and a racetrack for hours of fun. The track is one of the biggest draws and boasts over 1,400 feet of racing surface and go-karts that reach speeds of 35 mph for high-octane fun. You'll also find bumper cars, roller coasters, and carnival-style rides like teacups and flying swings. After enjoying all the time on the rides, you can hit the arcade to test your gaming skills and win some cool prizes as souvenirs. The park also has miniature golf and other attractions.
8. Explore St. Andrews State Park
Nestled between the Gulf of Mexico and St. Andrews Bay, the St. Andrews State Park is an outdoor playground for adventurers. You could swim, snorkel, or simply relax on the sand, or you can search for the best fishing spots for some family bonding. The park has nature trails through coastal pine and dramatic dunes where you can spot local wildlife. Another highlight of visiting the park is bird-watching since it’s a habitat for migratory birds and shorebirds.
9. Visit wildlife at ZooWorld Zoological Park
All animal lovers are sure to enjoy a trip to ZooWorld Zoological Park, a spectacular animal park that’s home to exotic animals from all over the world. When you visit, you’ll see such remarkable species as lemurs, alligators, lions, giraffes, sloths, and more. The park offers animal encounters for kids, such as playing with goats, snuggling lemurs, and feeding alligators, which is sure to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the kids. Some other highlights of the zoo include a porcupine nursery, an interactive lion exhibit, and a lumberjack experience with hatchet-throwing.
10. See marine life at Gulf World Marine Park
Gulf World Marine Park is a remarkable marine life attraction and tropical garden that’s home to a variety of marine mammals, tropical birds, and other animals. As a rescue and conservation facility, the marine park provides a home to species like bottlenose dolphins, harbor seals, sea lions, stingrays, and penguins. You’ll not only see these animals in naturalistic enclosures, but you can get up-close and personal with educational shows, feeding sessions, and other programs. Another popular activity is swimming with dolphins, which is sure to delight the kids.
11. Tour the Man in the Sea Museum
The Man in the Sea Museum offers a glimpse into the past of sea exploration and diving. A fun experience for children of all ages, the Man in the Sea Museum is home to amazing exhibits that you won’t see anywhere else, such as the U.S. Navy SEALAB I, the world’s first underwater living facility, and the Coastal Systems Station Display. You’ll also see armored suits, antique diving equipment, a submersible, commercial diving gear, and antique underwater masks and helmets that show the evolution of the technology.
12. Test your skills at Hidden Lagoon Super Golf and Super Racetrack
One of the city’s best family attractions, the Hidden Lagoon Super Golf and Super Racetrack is a thrilling experience for all ages. Located just near the beach, the track has a near-mile-long track, the Super Racetrack, for adrenaline-fueled race experiences. There’s also a short track with winding turns and curves, providing challenges for aspiring racecar drivers. The track also offers single- and double-seat go-karts, so the little ones won’t be left out. If you want more fun, hit the mini-golf course after racing to play games among quirky and inventive obstacles and decor.
13. Ride the SkyWheel
Located in Pier Park, the SkyWheel is a memorable attraction that gives you a bird’s-eye view of the gulf coast and the city. Towering above the city at 200 feet, the wheel puts you in a comfortable gondola to soar into the sky and take in the views. While you’re at the top, you’ll notice other attractions in the park, such as the mini-golf course and ropes courses. No matter the age, everyone will enjoy this comfortable sightseeing experience.
14. Explore Conservation Park
If you want to escape into nature, Conservation Park is the perfect place. The popular recreation area has hiking and biking trails, nature walks, and an abundance of wildlife roaming free on the property. While you walk the trails, you can spot native wildlife like turtles and birds. The cypress domes and wetlands have boardwalks, so you can see it all from above without disturbing the environment. The park also has picnic tables, water stations, and restrooms.
15. Find adventure at the Cobra Adventure Park
The Cobra Adventure Park is a charming family amusement park by the beach with an array of rides and attractions for kids. One of the main attractions is the Max Flight Simulator, a futuristic roller coaster that makes you feel like you’re flying. The Dragon Wheel is another fun coaster that has a steel track. Kids also have their own junior coaster if they’re too small for the big thrill rides. Other rides include the Vertical Accelerator and the Wild Thing. If you prefer, you can race go-karts or spend your time playing miniature golf at the 18-hole pirate mini-course, Smuggler’s Cove. Some of the sights at the course include a pirate town and a ship.
16. Howl at the moon at Seacrest Wolf Preserve
For a truly unforgettable experience, visit the Seacrest Wolf Preserve to learn about wild wolves and experience these majestic creatures. The preserve offers immersive experiences and encounters that put you face to face with their Wolf Ambassadors to learn about their role in the ecosystem and conservation. You can take a group tour to see the wolves or book a private tour for just the family. The preserve also offers small-animal encounters to meet the other wildlife in their care, such as foxes and raccoons.
17. Have fun at Coconut Creek Family Fun Park
Coconut Creek Family Fun Park is one of Panama City Beach’s top attractions for families. The massive park has fun experiences like the Gran Maze, a huge maze that’s roughly the size of a football field. You could also play a Maze-Runner game, Monkey Ring Toss, and other carnival-style games. If you like miniature golf, the park has 2 18-hole mini-golf courses with tropical themes and quirky obstacles, such as a rocky cave, waterfalls, and life-size safari animal statues like a gorilla, and elephants. The lake on the course is filled with bass, bream, and carp as well.