The Golf Garden of Destin fosters putt-putt delight and club-flailing fun in a family-friendly atmosphere replete with a nine-hole executive golf course, expansive driving range, and 18-hole miniature golf course. Golfers can groom their putting stroke with a round at the putting course, where slick, faux-grass surfaces and subtle slopes coalesce to create breaks more difficult to read than a kindergartener's dissertation. The outdoor driving range keeps metal clubs and dimpled orbs on a collision course well into the evening with over 30 hitting stalls outfitted with towering lights. Duffers looking for a more immersive golf challenge can take to the executive course, where seven par 3s beckon to players still seeking their first hole-in-one and two par 4s assure that drivers and 3-woods do not abscond in search of work at the nearest sword-forging convention.
Pirate’s Island Adventure Golf welcomes land-loving children, adults, and seniors for a high-seas putting adventure. Pirate ships, dungeons, caves, and waterfalls adorn the two 18-hole courses of challenging angles and tricky terrain. Play all 36 holes with this all-day pass for multiple chances to win the ultimate hidden treasure—mini-golf bragging rights to lord over your family, colleagues, or date. Experienced club swingers can practice their short game while novice putters can strive for that elusive hole-in-one or the zen-meditation exercise of the hole-in-none.
Although true time travel is still a thing of science fiction, Teddy and Jenny Meeks have captured a similar sensation at Pier Park. In 2009, the couple purchased the 1964 Allan Herschell Carousel that had been an iconic attraction at the now-closed Miracle Strip Amusement Park. The 30 horses and two chariots were immediately swarmed with giddy riders—some children, and some adults who fondly remembered feeding the horses wooden apples at the carousel's former home. The spinning steeds so charmed the locals that Teddy and Jenny began a more comprehensive revival. They bought Miracle Strip's 1985 Balloon Race and 1952 Red Baron rides, and when they couldn't find the park's original 1975 Ferris wheel, they hunted for one of the same make and model.
The Big Eli wheel now awards its guests views over the Gulf of Mexico and several other classic rides, including a Tilt-a-Whirl and train cars that kids crank by hand. Flowers cloak hanging baskets, and topiaries mimicking animal figures accent sandy paths, adding to the venue's picturesque nostalgia. Teddy and Jenny have also installed a butterfly pavilion, about which Bay Life magazine reports that visitors can glimpse 700 flying specimens, hatching cocoons, and caterpillars drawing up blueprints for wings.
The PADI-certified instructors at Panama City Dive Charters run their classes with a focus on the heart of scuba diving-fun and adventure-while keeping safety and each student's diving success as the primary goals. With online courses as well as pool and open-water instruction available, the team prepares divers to explore the region's aquatic splendor, such as Vortex Spring and Morrison Springs. The squad also arranges adventuresome ocean-scuba-diving trips and spearfishing outings during which divers kick through crystal-clear waters to hunt treasure, catch dinner, and play Go Fish with the local mermaids.
Xtreme Skydivers yokes each leapster to an experienced instructor who guides them through the ups and downs of tandem sky-scaling, and ensures that parachutes deploy at the right time for safe landings. Thrill seekers don jump suits, tie their teachers to their backs, and hop aboard an 18-person Grand Caravan airplane that shuttles them 14,500 feet into the sky. When conditions permit, the teacher-student tandem tumbles through cloud caves, screams hello to beachgoers, and adds emoticons to skywriting before landing delicately on a soft bed of sand.
The fermentation specialists at Panama City Beach Winery craft their lush tinctures from a cornucopia of Florida produce, winning over the taste buds of various competition judges across the country. During the 30- to 45-minute tasting, guests can cleanse their palates with 10 to 12 of owner Larry Honeycutt's delicious concoctions, a bacchanalian cascade that includes everything from banana and guava to carrot and blueberry sparking. Honeycutt will talk guests through the individual characteristics of each libation, detailing cocktails and ideal pairings such as banana wine and peanut butter or tomato wine and bad comedians. Beverage testers will leave with a pair of souvenir wine glasses emblazoned with the palm-tree logo and a bottle of Category 5 sangria.
A 5,000-square-foot splash park, 50-meter Olympic pool with diving well, covered picnic shelter, and full concession stand await visitors to PCB Aquatic Center, which invites bathing-suit clad citizens to revel in its refreshing, state-of-the-art facilities. After emerging from locker rooms with heated showers, patrons can plunge into classes on lifeguarding, water-aerobics instructing, or basic and advanced pool figure-drawing or just relax and lap alongside other swimmers in the temperature-controlled waters. As scuba-geared divers explore underwater views in certification courses, children can splash their way into swim lessons led by certified water-safety instructors, before winding down from their amphibious education by winding down one of several water slides.