Gulf World, Panama City Beach

4.1
#1 of 7 in Zoos & Aquariums in Florida Panhandle
Gulf World 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 and discover more family-friendly attractions in Panama City Beach using our Panama City Beach trip app .
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Gulf World Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
2,000 reviews
Google
4.2
TripAdvisor
  • Had an absolutely incredible time, myself and my boyfriend are in our 20's and went with his family including his 12 year old brother and every one of us loved it. Online they run specials for around ...  more »
  • My daughter did the Royal Swim. She loved it!!! Made her dreams come true. The dolphins show was great and sea lion show was ok. Highly recommended!  more »
  • We brought our 4 year old nephew and frankly were not sure what to expect. Nice surprise that this is the same team as In the Bahama’s. We did an Encounter with them and remain impressed with the staf...  more »
Google
  • Gulf world Marine Park deserves kudos for the excellent rehabilitation and rescue they are involved in for marine animals along our coastline. Hence the one star. The profit part of the park is where guests can pay to watch shows and can pay extra to swim with the dolphins. It's quite old, outdated, and despite some improvements nowhere near state of the art. Some parts are even look like they need to be bulldozed. When we first moved here we loved this little place. It was family owned and we adored going and feeling like family. Over the years it's changed- like all businesses- while some has been good and other changes not good at all. It's currently owned by a large company based out of Mexico. Mexico has little to no protections for marine mammals in human care.... do a little research if you wanna know where your dollars are going. The current programming includes shows and over 400 individual swim with the dolphins a day. Why- because people will pay $$$ to hang with dolphins. The almighty dollar wins over ethics again. I was an observer when 3 of my family members did a swim. It started innocently enough but my niece and her mom both received bruises and a rake mark that drew blood before they switched dolphins. I can only assume the dolphins were pretty sick of doing programs that day. It was laughed off as a cheeky little dolphins hijinks. I love dolphins too, and I used to be this parks biggest fan but they have sold out and the animals are the ones who will pay the ultimate price. Is that worth your money? Not mine. And the fact that one of their dolphins was caught many years ago in the wild (a practice that's illegal now) just seems so cruel. I can't imagine how much better off she would have been left as healthy breeding stock in the Gulf of Mexico instead of breeding stock for overpriced tourists programs. It's quite sad. Lastly my friend's daughter did trainer for a day due to her interest in the career, going backstage all over the park made her decide to become a nurse. What you see as a guest is not the reality for the animals. There are many amazing aquariums and animal educational facilities all over the place- my advice go to one of those instead.
  • We are from Texas and visited panama for baseball. We decided to visit gulfworld to see what it was about. My girls are ages 9 and 15 and they absolutely loved it! I highly recommend the dolphin encounter to any person of any age! The rates were reasonable compared to sea world and the staff here was awesome! We did the dolphin encounter and Erica was our animal trainer!! She was very helpful with our youngest and very knowledgeable of the dolphins! We had a great time and will definitely visit again for the dolphin swim!
  • Had a great time with the family here. For 45 dollars both of my kids had pictures taken with birds, snakes, dolphins and a kiss from a seal and sea lion. For 30 my son was able to swim with the stingrays. It was a blast. The shows were nice and if you start early you can easily hit them all since they run twice without feeling rushed. They offer a Military discount and other discounts if you book online. For an entertainment park the food was actually pretty good and not overpriced. The staff was also amazing, taking the time to answer questions and very approachable. If you're looking for something to do for a day in Panama City Beach I'd recommend checking out Gulf World. The only downer was that the stingray encounter was not covered by the photo wristband.
  • We originally only purchased the general admission ticket, but when we arrived we decided to do the dolphin encounter. It high in price, but worth it. The dolphin was wonderful and defiantly an experience that you should do. The sea lion/dolphin show was cute and the bottlenose dolphin show was awesome. I thought they have more to just walk around and see but with the shows and what they had provided good sights when just walking throw. I'd go again and hopefully next time we can do the royal swim with the dolphins.
  • I marked something off my bucket list when I stepped into the pool with the dolphin. The experience was awesome! The trainer was great and aware of everyone under her supervision during the session. I was a little anxious and she realized it without me saying anything. Kudos to the trainer and Cajun for being such a loving mammal. Memories to last a life time. Thank you ❤

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Where to stay in Panama City Beach

As a popular vacation destination, Panama City Beach has an abundance of accommodations. A beachfront hotel room or condo is the perfect base for a tranquil luxury vacation. Rooms with a balcony overlooking the Gulf of Mexico are in high demand. However, resorts and properties close to the shore are often expensive, and those on a budget should consider a motel farther from the beach.
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