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Well folks, it's that time again.  Summer vacation for the kids is in full swing!  With all the extra free time on their hands, kids can get a little rambunctious. Luckily for us parents we live in beautiful Panama City, and there are loads of fun things for the whole family to do together!  Of course, we all know that a picnic on the beach is a must, as often as possible, but the kids sure won't want to miss out on the fun activities the rest of the area has to offer!

1. Go Carts, Mini Golf, and Arcades, oh my!  Start at the Hathaway Bridge and drive down Thomas Dr. and you'll see more mini golf courses, go cart tracks, and arcade games than you can handle.  There are tracks that cater just to smaller children, with go carts that drive slowly and tracks that don't twist and turn.  For the older kids (and adults!) there are crazy fast tracks that go over, under, and around themselves.  There's pirate golf, goofy golf, huge mazes that change every week, paddle boats, sling shots, bungee jumps and more! Take your pick, no matter what you choose, the whole family is sure to have a blast.

2.  Ripley's Believe it or Not!  One of the newer attractions to our area is Ripley's.  This fun, educational, indoor activity is sure to be a hit with kids and parents alike.  Stroll around the museum and gawk at the mind boggling collection of oddities, from the life sized replica of the worlds tallest man, to genuine siamese twin animal skulls.  The kids will love trying to get through the laser obstacle course, and are even 4D movie shows!  Just look for the giant sinking ship, and prepare to spend hours getting lost inside.  

3.  Wonder Works!  Right across the street from Ripleys, you'll see a crazy, upside down house.  The trees come from the ceiling, and the foundation points to the skies!  This huge, 3 story building is packed from bottom to top with fun things for kids of all ages.  Split into teams and have the whole family participate in a laser tag battle!  Take your time walking around the interactive exhibits, and learn about science, weather, and more!  Build your own roller coaster in the ride simulator, and then take it for a ride!  And finally, what kid can resist the massive rope climbing course on the top floor?  This is truly an all day activity, with fun around every corner.

4. Zoo World!  Who doesn't love a good zoo?  Make sure that you make a stop at Zoo World, and enjoy the opportunity to get up close and personal with many interesting animals.  There is a really neat meerkat exhibit, where the kids can crawl through transparent tunnels and feel like part of the meerkat family.  There are bird shows multiple times a day, where various different types of parrots love to entertain guests with their skills.  And there's even a great petting zoo, where everyone can enjoy petting the majestic giraffes, camels, and more.

5.  Gulf World!  If aquatic animals are more your cup of tea, head on over to Gulf World.  Your day will be jam packed as you attend dolphin shows, watch a sea lion perform hilarious tricks for sardines, catch a magic show, and swing by the petting pool to see the stingrays!  There's even a "Dolphin Day Camp" during the summer, where kids can go behind the scenes with the trainers and learn how these beautiful animals are fed and taught their fantastic tricks.  Kids will never forget the day they got to swim with the dolphins, and they won't even realize how much they're learning. 

With so many options to choose from, the kids won't have a chance to get bored this summer, and neither will Mom or Dad!  Get out there and explore all the amazing sights, and don't forget to check out the free concerts, fairs, and festivals that happen almost weekly!  We truly are lucky to call Panama City home, aren't we?  Have a great summer!

 

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