10 Awesome Things To Do With Kids in Panama City Fl (Updated for 2016)
Panama City Beach has always been a great vacation destination for people looking for LOTS of family-friendly fun.
Generations of families have been returning to the ‘World’s Most Beautiful Beaches‘ for years. People who once came to the beach as kids with their parents, now return with their kids. Keeping the family tradition going.
Even first-time visitors to the beach have plenty to look forward to. If you have kids along for the ride here are some ideas of some FUN things to do.
After reading this, you will feel like an expert on places to take your kids to make sure they have the best possible Panama City Beach vacation experience…
Top Tip: Scroll to the bottom to see which attractions are suitable for each age group (toddlers, pre-schoolers, grade-schoolers and teenagers). As well as how many potential hours of fun you can have at each location…
Shoot Zombies in a 7D Interactive Motion Ride / Video Game / Movie!
We are yet to meet a kid that doesn’t like watching TV or Movies. We also haven’t met a kid who doesn’t like to play video games. So somewhere that combines these two things into one awesome, Orlando-theme-park-style ride will probably get their attention!
Get ready to earn some seriously cool parent points with this one… You have shoot your high-precision laser blaster at the bad guys on the 3D IMAX-style screen.
The movie progresses, and the person with the highest score at the end wins! The whole time, you are strapped into a motion seat that makes you feel like you are falling and crashing, with amazing stereo surround sound, strobe lights and blasts of wind in your face!
If your kids ever wanted to really feel like they were in a game/movie, this is as close at it gets! The XD Darkride experience is pretty unique, so you might want to watch the video on their website below to see exactly how it works.
Mom and dad will probably want to try it too, it’s really that much fun. It’s so cool that this might just become one of the highlights of your entire vacation. Chose from different movies, with different levels of scares.
Tip: You also get discounts for multiple rides, so there’s an incentive to try each movie!
Race Go Karts, Play Mini Golf and more…
You’ll definitely put some smiles on faces when you pull into Race City.
They have a selection of different Go Kart tracks for your kids to race around. This includes a special “Kids Kars” track, just for the younger, smaller ones.
But there’s more than just racing to do at Race City. Indoor blacklight mini golf. Bumper boats with squirt guns mounted. Bumper cars, and a really big indoor arcade that has all the classics like skee-ball (with prizes like GPS systems, iPads, and iPods).
It’s also home to the only Roller Coaster in Panama City Beach! The fate-temptingly named “Hurricane”!
If that’s not enough, the bravest of your children could try the Skycoaster ride, which they claim feels like a “thrilling combination of a bungee jumping and skydiving“.
9523 Front Beach Rd Panama City Beach, FL 32407
Sail the Seven Seas as a Pirate
Have you ever met a kid who didn’t love pirates?
Next time you’re in Panama City Beach, become the World’s greatest parents. Let your kids become honorary pirates for the day!
Captain Fearless Phil and his crew of sea dogs are waiting to take the family out on their beloved vessel, The Sea Dragon. This pirate ship is an incredible replica of a genuine cargo ship from the 1700’s (and it looks awesome!)
The Sea Dragon runs daily dolphin cruises (lasting around 2 hours) for a fair price, plus there’s LOTS to keep the kids entertained on-board. Kid-friendly treasure hunts, firing canons, and the occasional swashbuckling sword-fight.
Don’t worry, there’s no shortage of cocktails for mom and plenty of cold beer for dad too!
So what’s the best part? Your kids will have lots of fun, AND be completely exhausted at the end of the cruise!
Sea Dragon Pirate Cruises
5325 N Lagoon Dr Panama City, FL 32408
Swim With Dolphins!
If you want to swim with dolphins (and trust us, you do…) then you need to stop by Gulf World.
The kids will LOVE it. Really… between the shark feedings, alligator exhibit, stingray petting pool, handling boa constrictors, and evening magic shows (not offered every night of the week), the kids won’t even have chance to get bored.
What’s even better, the whole time they will actually be learning. Yes, learning! But they won’t be complaining, or bored because IT’S FUN and interactive. Plus they get hands-on involved.
The really cool part is that your ticket is good for the whole day, meaning you can come and go if you want to. So you wont have to pay re-admission.
AND… (yeah, there’s more) Gulf World even offers a fun and affordable Dolphin Day Camp! So you can actually leave your kiddos in good hands all day, and get to enjoy some quality time together as a couple!
Gulf World Marine Park
15412 Front Beach Rd Panama City Beach, FL 32413
Fly High with a Helicopter Ride
Now this is special… A trip with the guys at Panhandle Helicopter will be an unforgettable vacation adventure for the kids.
They will always remember the excitement of their first helicopter ride. Plus, if you already think Panama City Beach is beautiful – you should try seeing it from up in the sky. It’s a whole new experience!
The helicopters are big enough to fit a family of four comfortably, letting you all share the experience together. But that’s not all.
Your kids will love trying to spot sharks and dolphins in the Gulf as you fly along the coastline.
Plus, they will feel like a REAL pilot when they get to wear their own headset and interact with the pilot along the way.
This really is a fun and memorable activity that is just the right speed for kids and adults to enjoy together.
15726 Front Beach Rd, Panama City Beach, FL 32413
Believe It… Or Not
Your younger kids and teenagers will all enjoy exploring the weirdest museum in Panama City Beach. You will even enjoy it!
That’s because Ripley’s is packed full of all the bizarre exhibits and “oddities” that you would only expect to see in a museum of the unusual and macabre.
You will be so caught up in the weird and unique displays, that you won’t realize you’re also learning.
Plus there’s always the Laser Race and 4D Theater to really capture the kids’ imaginations.
Even the building itself is cool, in fact it’s a fun Panama City Beach landmark. Ripley’s museum is housed in what looks like a sinking ship, opposite an upside-down house! You can’t miss it!
Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum
9907 Front Beach Rd Panama City Beach, FL 32407
Explore Panama City Beach’s ONLY Upside-Down House
Panama City Beach is home to an AWESOME upside down house, and it’s called WonderWorks.
It’s just as exciting on the inside, as it is on the outside!
There are over 100 interactive, hands-on exhibits, experiments, and rides to keep the kids (and you) entertained the entire time.
This place is a great way to beat the heat of the day, or stay dry if it’s raining.
Another option is to spend an entire evening exploring, experimenting, and competing with each other. There’s PLENTY to do for younger kids, teenagers, adults, and everyone in-between. Take a look at this short list for a start. Vertical G-Force Ride, bed of nails, and swim with virtual sharks. Stand in a hurricane wind tunnel, play Lazer Tag, or let the kids climb around the 3 story ropes course! You won’t regret checking this place out…
9910 Front Beach Rd Panama City Beach, FL 32407
Beat the High Score & Win Awesome Prizes
If your children are a little older (possibly teenagers) and you don’t mind giving them some screen-time, then it’s Dave & Buster’s to the rescue.
At approximately 40,000 sq ft, you’ll get an idea just how many games there are inside this place!
Despite mixed reviews of their food on review sites such as Yelp.com and Triadvisor.com, they do have a restaurant serving the typical items you’d expect. Nachos, fries, burgers and wings etc.
The star of the show is the selection of arcade games they have though. From some of the greatest old-school classics ever made (that will have dad showing off) to the newest games out.
It can get pretty expensive. Especially if you have 2 or more children and you grab a bite to eat too. So it pays to know how to save some money.
Sign up to the Newsletter / D&B Rewards program for some coupons and discounts to get you started. Then be sure to check their website / facebook page and plan a good day and time to visit.
Certain days they have specials on food & game combos. During weekday afternoons (4:30-7pm) they offer unlimited gameplay (on a limited selection of games) for just $10. Wednesdays are half price games from open to close. Etc.
Basically, if you plan ahead you can spend a few hours here and not spend a fortune. Plus the kids will have gotten their “fix” 🙂
Dave & Busters
15701 LC Hilton Jr. Dr
Panama City Beach, FL 32413
Make a Splash in a Waterpark!
When you drive by Shipwreck Island, you might notice your children’s faces firmly pressed against the glass…
Don’t worry, that’s normal.
There’s probably a scientific formula to prove it, but the fact is kids LOVE water parks!
Luckily for you, Panama City Beach is home to Shipwreck Island. With faster paced thrill rides like the ‘Tree Top Drop’, and ‘Pirates plunge’ for the teenagers.
There’s also tamer family rides including a lazy river, a wave pool, and the ‘Zoom Flume’ for everyone.
Shipwreck even has a special zone called the “Tadpole Hole”. Perfect for your toddlers.
You can even buy your tickets online ahead of time through their website. That way you’re not waiting in lines when you get there.
The park is closed for around 70% of the year. So be sure to check the website for details, and make sure they are open when you are here.
Shipwreck Island Waterpark
12201 Hutchison Blvd Panama City Beach, FL 32407
Frank Brown Park Aquatic Center & Children’s Playground
If you have younger children or even toddlers then you might be looking for a slower paced type of fun.
Frank Brown Park is open to the public, and has baseball and softball fields, outdoor basketball courts, and lots of grassy areas you can enjoy a picnic in.
The best part, it’s all free! There’s plenty of parking, although none of it is shaded. So plan to crank the AC up for a while before getting back in to leave!
The highlights for parents with younger kiddos though, are the aquatic center and the children’s playground.
On Saturdays, the shallow aquatic center has “Toddler Time”. At just $3 per person, the splash park is open to only the little ones, and their entourage 🙂 Times vary by season, so we advise calling ahead to double-check. There are picnic tables, shaded areas, and sun loungers.
Just around the corner, is the kid’s playground too. The playground is completely free, and has lots of fun walkways, swings, slides, monkey bars and more to enjoy!
Shade here is pretty limited, although there’s a large shaded space nearby with lots of tables. So you can plan to cool off and take a break there for a while.
Top tip: arrive early or later in the day to not only beat the crowds, but also beat the heat!
Frank Brown Park
16200 Panama City Beach Pkwy, Panama City Beach, FL 32413
Enjoy the World’s Most Beautiful Beaches
That’s right… One of the main reasons you were drawn to Panama City Beach in the first place has to be the natural beauty of the area.
Sugar white sand that squeaks between your toes. Emerald green waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Clear blue skies without a cloud in sight.
There’s LOTS of ways you can slow down, keep your wallet in your pocket, and make some memories without breaking the bank.
Build sandcastles, or see who can dig the deepest hole.
Try body surfing or even paddle boarding.
Or, slow the pace right down, and walk along the shoreline.
Take a bucket, and collect shells to save and take home with you.
See Which Attractions are Best for Your Group
|Attraction Name||Toddler Friendly (1-3)||Pre-Schooler Friendly (3-5)||Grade-Schooler Friendly (5-12)||Teenager Friendly (13-19)||Potential Hours of Fun|
|XD Darkride Experience Pier Park||N||N||Y||Y||<1|
|Sea Dragon Pirate Cruise||N||Y||Y||N||2+|
|Gulf World Marine Park||Y||Y||Y||Y||5+|
|Ripley’s Believe It Or Not||Y||Y||Y||Y||3+|
|Dave & Busters||N||N||Y||Y||3+|
|Shipwreck Island Waterpark||Y||Y||Y||Y||5+|
|Frank Brown Park||Y||Y||Y||N||2+|
However you choose to enjoy Panama City Beach – there’s LOTS of ways you can keep your kids happy, busy, entertained, and transform ‘just another vacation‘ into ‘the best family vacation ever!‘