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Gulf World Marine Park, Panama City Beach

3.9
#1 of 9 in Zoos & Aquariums in Florida Panhandle
Aquarium · Zoo / Aquarium
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Gulf World Marine Park offers shows with dolphins, sea lions, birds, reptiles, sharks, and turtles, plus guest interactions with animals. Attend a show or two and see tropical gardens showcasing penguins, flamingos, alligators, iguanas, and other wild critters. Contact the park to reserve your spot at the pool to swim and play with dolphins. Meet sea lions up close, and work with the trainers to learn how the animals are cared for. A ticket for this park allows you to come and go throughout the day. Arrange your visit to Gulf World Marine Park and discover more family-friendly attractions in Panama City Beach using our Panama City Beach trip app.
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Gulf World Marine Park reviews

TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
2,553 reviews
Google
4.2
TripAdvisor
  • Great sea lion show and dolphin shows. Petting stingrays and loads of snakes Good fun for younger kids. Special Xmas show was in December 
    Great sea lion show and dolphin shows. Petting stingrays and loads of snakes Good fun for younger kids. Special Xmas show was in December  more »
  • My husband and I went during the off-season in December. We only saw a total of 35 to 40 people there & that does not include the workers. We had a nice time and loved the dolphin and the sea lion... 
    My husband and I went during the off-season in December. We only saw a total of 35 to 40 people there & that does not include the workers. We had a nice time and loved the dolphin and the sea lion...  more »
  • Small aquarium. We were a group of 30 with ages from 18 months to 67. The dolphin and seal shows were good. There is a stingray pool to touch. The teens were a little bored. The 2 food venues were... 
    Small aquarium. We were a group of 30 with ages from 18 months to 67. The dolphin and seal shows were good. There is a stingray pool to touch. The teens were a little bored. The 2 food venues were...  more »
Google
  • I love that this place takes in animals that can not return to the wild! A rehab for the animals but I can’t help to think some of these animals needed to be separated. I was able to do an encounter with this lovely sea lion Cooper! He did some tricks he hasn’t performed before. I would not recommend some of the tricks for younger kids because he is heavy. However he is a smart sea lion. He was free to go if he didn’t want to do tricks or interact with us. And that’s one reason I really loved this! I also had tons of questions about him and his species and the trainer was very kind and educational! We were only in the pool for about 20 minutes. I wish we could have done more. But I’m glad the staff had some boundaries on what could and could not be done. The turtles were moved inside the building and they were attacking each other. The sharks in the tank outside were attacking each other as well. I tried saying something but I don’t think there was anything they could do. The shark was trying to tare off the other nurse sharks tail. And they were at it for hours. There is a touch area for the sting rays where you can pet the top of them. You can also feed them. However there was a customer picking them up out of water many times and laughing at it. Telling his kids to come pet them. The staff members near by didn’t seem to care. Kids were leaning over the wall and one almost fell in. Again nobody seemed to care. I almost ran over to the kid because I thought he was going to fall in and his parents were not paying attention. The dolphin swim adventure was really cool. You can take pictures with the dolphin and he takes you for a short ride on his belly. The dolphin was treat motivated. I don’t think the dolphin would have participated if he wasn’t getting treats the whole time. Overall this was a great experience. But a friendly reminder these animals have their own minds and should be respected. Don’t do anything that could provoke them. Listen to the trainers. And please watch your kids.
  • Had a pretty good time viewing the animals located at the park. I will say that once you are in the park, everything seems like a money grab. The pictures offered with the animals run $10 a piece and can really add up. We looked at the swimming with the dolphins options, and came close to purchasing the packages. The cost isn’t cheap, but not necessarily super expensive given the opportunity. The only problem I had with the encounter was the banning of any kind of cameras, of course they offer to take pictures for you if you purchase a picture package along with the already pricey activity. The package does not specify how many pictures you get, if more than the singular pics that were offered at the end of each animal program. I just think if I’m paying all that money to swim with dolphins I should at least have to option to bring a water proof camera, ie go pro, to capture this amazing opportunity. Even as an observer to capture my children enjoying the moment. At least admission to the park is included with the cost of the activity. Unless we took part in one of the animal encounters I think the one visit would suffice and would not see a reason to return. Then again the kids and wife enjoyed it so you never know.
  • I’ve been here twice in the last four years and I love it. The park is small but the shows will keep you busy for 3-4 hours. I like how they coordinate the shows so that you get a chance to see them all. I only wish the animal encounters were a little cheaper.
  • We have never been to Gulf World and thought this time we should check it out while in Panama. I would not ever want to be there during a crowded season. It's a very small place compared to any zoo or aquarium we have visited. Being an off season now when we went it was fine. It was more expensive than for what we could normally get from other experiences at zoos or aquariums but it is still very enjoyable. I liked how you can pay for extra interactions and photos with the animals. We only needed two hours there so it is also good for a stop without it taking up an entire day of your vacation. It was pretty clean also. The dolphin show was fantastic and that's where I consider I mostly got my monies worth so if you don't see it you might as well just wait until you are sure you don't miss that.
  • We booked the Swim Adventure. Cajun was our dolphin and Ashley was the trainer. She was hilarious. This was such an awesome encounter. Only downfall is time limit, it is only 30 minutes. We were able to hug, kiss, sing and belly ride with Cajun. If you're going to do the encounter be sure to pre-purchase your photo package. There are several other encounters to see. Stingray touch bay and the option to feed them for $5. Bird exhibits. We were even able to have one sit on our shoulders! Penguins! Sea Turtles! Sharks! Sea loins! Thank you Gulf World for the memories we made!

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