Panama City Beach, Florida is a sunny and welcoming destination that promises to provide visitors with all the warmth, sand and amazing scenery a traveler could hope for. Visitors from across the map make their way this direction to experience the natural beauty, beautiful waters and endless entertainment this vacation destination offers up. While Panama City Beach is definitely a place to get out and get into nature, it can be just as exciting to get a close up look at the many creatures that call this area home in a space that’s comprehensive and educational. When you’re looking for an experience like this, make your way to the Gulf World Marine Park in Panama City Beach when you’re in town.
Education and Exciting Encounters at this Panama City Beach Aquarium
Located at 15412 Front Beach Road, Gulf World Marine Park in Panama City Beach is a nonprofit organization and educational facility that’s committed to helping the public understand and experience conservation efforts first-hand. The facility is committed to rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing marine mammals back into the wild. The Gulf World Marine Park houses sea lions, harbor seals, penguins, dolphins, stingrays, tropical birds and beyond. While many of the marine mammals that end up a Gulf World Marine Park can eventually return to their natural habitats, those that can’t often become a part of the educational process for the public. Guests to this Panama City Beach aquarium can enjoy daily shows, talks, and demonstrations that highlight the amazing talents, abilities, and contributions marine mammals make in the world.
The Park’s History
Construction began on Gulf World Marine Park in 1969 and the doors were open to the public by 1970. Renovations to the facility in 2000 meant that Gulf World Marine Park was able to expand to include a dolphin stadium and indoor garden. The mission of the marine park has always been to engage the public as soon as they step through the door, so they leave ready to take a hands-on approach to conservation.
Planning Your Visit
The Gulf World Marine Park is open every day of the year no matter the weather. A visit can always be planned to include highlights such as dolphin shows and encounters as well as sea lion observations and shark feedings. General admission at the door to the park for adults begins at $29.99 while children can enter the park at $19.99. Online ticket prices are available at reduced rates.
Restaurant Options Near Gulf World
Situated along Front Beach Road, Gulf World enjoys a prime real estate location with quick access to the area’s great beaches and restaurant. After spending the day at Gulf World Marine Park, enjoy a meal out at one of the nearby restaurants!
Just west of Gulf World is Diego’s Burrito Factory & Margarita Bar. This laid-back eatery offers up burritos and tacos in both an indoor and outdoor seating area. The menu is a build-your-own style. First up, you’ll need to choose if you’d like a burrito, taco, quesadilla, or bowl. Then choose your protein and select among nearly two dozen topping options. The sides of chips and dip or salsa are also a hit and are great for sharing! Pair your spicy fare with an ice-cold margarita from the margarita bar. Over a dozen specialty margaritas line the menu, including tropical tastes like the pineapple margarita as well as options for the more daring, such as the Mexican mule, made with Repo Tequila, agave nectar, ginger beer, lime juice & fresh jalapenos. Diego’s is the place to go to sit back with friends and enjoy an evening of fun over good eats and rounds of drinks! The Diego’s staff can be contacted at (850) 249-7373 with any questions.
For a decidedly different experience, head east of Gulf World Marine Park to Sharky’s Beachfront Restaurant. As the name suggests, this restaurant is situated right on the shoreline, providing spectacular sea views. A combination of open-air indoor seating and outdoor seating at umbrella-covered tables on the deck provide various options, all with a view. The food at Sharky’s is served on large, brightly colored plates and is packed with flavor. Originally beginning as just a small oyster bar, the capacity grew along with its popularity since this Panama Beach mainstay began over thirty years ago.
Today, the restaurant is home to the largest open air “palapa” in the United States, creating a unique venue for hosting diners and live music. With fresh gulf seafood and amazing views across Panama City Beach, Sharky’s creates a memorable ambiance. Start off with an order of shark bites, bite-sized pieces of fish that have been breaded and fried, or with something from the oyster bar. For your main dish, you can’t go wrong with any of the seafood options! Wash it all down with a beer or specialty drink, and if you time it right, you can enjoy a fabulous sunset over the water. The staff at Sharky’s can be contacted at (850) 235-2420 with any questions.
Book a Stay Today
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