The Emerald Coast of Florida is always brimming with fun things to do! You can spend a day in the sun at one of our white sandy beaches, get some fresh seafood at an acclaimed restaurant, or visit one of the area’s countless other unique attractions. One place you’ll want to make time for is Gulf World in Panama City Beach. There are animals here that you won’t see anywhere else in North America, and you can directly interact with many of the creatures here! Below, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about this family-friendly attraction.
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Attractions and Activities at Gulf World Marine Park
Gulf World Marine Park is so much more than an aquarium! You’ll find indoor and outdoor tropical gardens as well as several exhibits showcasing penguins, flamingos, sharks, sea turtles, and more. Additionally, there are daily live shows starring dolphins, sea lions, reptiles, and tropical birds. Gulf World is a partner of the Gulf World Marine Institute. It’s also one of the leading facilities in rehabilitation in the National Marine Fisheries Service.
What to Expect During a Visit
A visit to Gulf World is a fun and educational experience for the whole family! Gulf World’s hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for most of the year, but they vary during the holiday season. General admission grants you access to the gardens, exhibits, and the daily shows. You can buy admission tickets to Gulf World online at a discounted rate or in person. There are a variety of interactive programs available for additional fees.
Attend a Daily Show
At Gulf World, you’ll be dazzled by a variety of shows! One of our favorites is the Bottlenose Dolphin Show. Watch as the lively dolphins flip, leap, and twist through the air!
The Sea Lion & Rough-Toothed Dolphin Show gives you a chance to see two of the ocean’s most interesting creatures side-by-side. Gulf World is the only facility in North America that houses Rough-Toothed dolphins!
The Feathers & Friends Show is another fantastic spectacle to behold at Gulf World. Many of the dogs, cats, birds, and reptiles featured in this show were adopted from animal shelters!
Feed the Animals
At the Stingray Bay, interact with Cownose stingrays by touching and feeding them. After, head on over to the Shark & Turtle Channel to observe trainers working closely with sea turtles and Nurse sharks.
Swim With Dolphins, Sea Lions, Seals, and Stingrays
There are three different dolphin experiences available at Gulf World. Choose from the Royal Swim, Swim Adventure, or Dolphin Encounter. The Dolphin Encounter is suitable for all ages and ensures that you can interact with a dolphin up-close. Glide alongside with dolphins on a Swim Adventure! The Royal Swim is the most exhilarating dolphin encounter. Hold your breath as the friendly creatures raise you above the surface of the water and push you by the soles of your feet! If you like the idea of swimming with dolphins at Gulf World, you’ll love a Destin dolphin cruise, too.
Gulf World also allows you to interact with sea lions during one of their Sea Lion Meet ‘N’ Greets. Or, get in the water during your Harbor Seal Encounter to learn more about them and what makes them different from sea lions!
The Stingray Snorkel gives you the chance to snorkel alongside two species of stingrays: The Cownose and the Southern. You’ll be able to interact with the stingrays in various ways, including feeding and touching them. And, don’t worry: These domesticated creatures are completely harmless!
Visit Zoo World
Another family-friendly place for fun in Panama City Beach is Zoo World. It has all the fun you’d expect from a typical zoo, like seeing exotic animals. However, at Zoo World, you can pay a little more and pet a sloth, snuggle a lemur, or feed a giraffe!
Depending on when you visit, Zoo World may be hosting a special event, so be sure to check their calendar to get in on the fun! If your little one has a birthday coming up and would like to become a “party animal” for the day, Zoo World can help you host an unforgettable birthday for them.
Stay with Your Friend at the Beach and you won’t have to choose between quality and convenience—you’ll have both. Our beautiful condos are near all of the top attractions near 30A, including Gulf World and Zoo World. Our luxurious properties range from two to four bedrooms, so there’s plenty of room for the whole family! You’ll also love our premium amenities and thoughtful Concierge Services like private chefs, 30A beach photography, and crib rentals (just to name a few).
Book the Adagio C205 and enjoy a beach escape unlike any you’ve ever experienced! This is one of our newest condos featuring hand-picked coastal decor and a fully equipped kitchen. Cook up a seafood feast for your friends or family and enjoy it at the large dining room table. Then, watch the sun go down over the ocean with a glass of wine on your private Gulf-front patio!