Getaway at Pier Park - Part 2

                                                  

Opened since 2007, and still adding to its many attractions, Pier Park is the largest Florida shopping complex of its kind in the region. No where else will you witness such a family-focused plaza nestled in such a retreat atmosphere. Here right next to the Emerald Coast is another priceless gem skillfully set with so much to offer people of all ages. It offers a wide array from a sand volleyball court, to the vintage carousel to the Euro Bungee Jump, the Coconut Tree Climb, Spider Mountain and a Manhattan style hot dog stand with delicious refreshments like hot dogs, cotton candy and an range of drink options. For the movie goers there’s the Grand 16 Theatres which features stadium seating and digital sound, as well as a specialty café and a game room.

Now this isn’t just a bought off the shelf carouse. This is the actual historically famous Miracle Strip Herschel Carousel purchased from an auction of the equipment used at the 2005 close of Panama City Beaches old Miracle Strip Amusement Park. This beautiful carousel was made in 1964 by Allen Herschel, is 36-foot across, and sports thirty artistically made horses and two chariots. The obvious craftsmanship and vibrant colors today still bear testimony that this carousel was one built to last. People who rode this as kids are now bringing their grand kids to share and relive their own memories and while creating new ones with those they love. 

Take a jump at the Euro Bungee Jump and back flip over thirty feet in the air. With four stations there was virtually no waiting while boys and girls of all ages lined up to try their own death defying feats in the air. Nearby was the Coconut Tree climb where, with the safety of a harness, people race to see who can reach the top the fastest. At Spider Mountain children of all ages (even of heart) can safely scale up to 35-feet using a labyrinth of ropes, nets and safety harnesses. For the spectators there are the pre-lunch appetizers like delicious hot dogs and cotton candy from the Manhattan style Hot Dog stand.

Another treat is to watch the five-car train that travels up and down Pier Park Drive with kids of all ages (even saw a dad or two aboard). This brightly colored train is a photo op if ever there is one. So when your legs are weary from walking these twenty five football fields worth of shopping utopia, just hop on to rest your feet and enjoy a tour of the property. If the train is a little too much for you because you don’t have the kids as your excuse to ride it, then go to the nearby transportation booth and rent one of the cool Pedi-cabs to ride throughout Pier Park.

Pier Park is also dog friendly where leashed pets are permitted to stroll along with their owners. They even included the beautiful Aaron Bessant Park adjoining the complex. This Park, with its natural areas and a nature trail, is dog friendly as well and periodically hosts various entertainment events throughout the year, including the Seabreeze Jazz Festival at the outdoor grass amphitheater. In the summertime, the park also hosts the "Summer Concert Series" on Thursday nights and your dog is welcome to these events, too! Just for funsies you can watch a YouTube video here of families enjoying the music of "Emerald County Line" along with their four-legged family members.

This premier shop-till-you-drop center is located in the heart of Panama City Beach right across from the Gulf and Russell-Fields Pier. One would dare say that if it weren’t for the fabulous white sanded beaches and the emerald waters of the Gulf that Pier Park could literally become the heartbeat of Panama City Beach itself.