Make Family Memories at Gulf World Marine Park

By: Carrie McLaren


This past weekend, I was kissed by Otto the sea lion – twice!

I was chosen from the audience at the sea lion and rough-toothed dolphin show at Gulf World Marine Park in Panama City Beach, and it was quite the experience.

Besides getting acquainted with Otto, my family and I were able to meet Cajun, the bottlenose dolphin. She's a beautiful dolphin who does some pretty amazing tricks and flips during her show each day. My girls loved seeing her dance and interact with the trainers. Beware of the first 10 rows – that’s the splash zone!

Besides meeting dolphins and seeing Otto the sea lion, the park has other hands-on adventures for families. There’s a sting ray touch tank, a reptile show and an indoor area with walking trails featuring beautiful birds. Be sure to say hello to Daisy, our favorite bird. There are also penguins, alligators and even flamingos on display at the park.

For an additional fee, after each show families can have their pictures taken with the dolphins and sea lion. And if you’re looking for a truly unique experience, be sure to ask about their swimming-with-the-dolphins program.

The park is located across the street from the beach and it’s a great place to spend time before or after your beach visit. Your park admission allows you to come and go throughout the day; I was told many families visit the park in the mornings and then make their way to the beach in the afternoon.

It was an incredible experience and a day filled with wonderful memories for our entire family. There's nothing better than learning about animals than to actually see them first-hand. It was an educational experience and I'm so glad we were able to do it together as a family.

If you're ever in the Panama City Beach area, stop by the Gulf World Marine Park,  across from the beach and just down the street from Pier Park with plenty of shopping, dining and nightlife. And when you go, be sure to tell Otto we said hello!

To see more pictures from our visit, check out the photo album on the VISIT FLORIDA Family Insider Facebook page and find me on Twitter at @VFFamilyInsider.

Sponsored listings by VISIT FLORIDA Partners

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