The 7 Most Kid Friendly Things to Do in Panama City, Panama6th March 2014
The Panama City area offers many ways to keep your children - and you - entertained. Here some of the most popular options. And we are happy to help you organize your excursions.
1. Summit Botanical Gardens
Do your children like animals? The Summit has Panama’s largest open-air zoo. The zoo has an area for viewing Harpy Eagles (Panama’s endangered national bird). There are also Jaguars, Monkeys & Baboons, Toucans, Parrots, Crocodiles, Otters and Sloths, to name a few. The grounds surrounding the zoo are set up for picnics and family outings with nature. The the Summit is a 30-minute drive from Panama City on the Gaillard road to Gamboa. There are buses but they tend to run only every hour or so.
Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. Price: $1 or less, depending on the person. Tel: 232-4854.
2. Parque Omar
Do your children like to play? Parque Omar is located on what once was a golf course in the P-City center. Options include a large exercise playground, a skating drome, several kilometers of asphalt trails for exploring, skating or biking.
There is a public swimming pool ($1). Ad hoc soccer, football and baseball games are common on the grounds.
Periodically fairs and festivals with rides for younger children set up in the park. You can enter the park from Via Porras in the San Francisco area of P-City.
Park hours: 4 a.m to 10 p.m. daily. Pool: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tues.-Sun., 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Entrance is free. Tel: 224-9466, 221-5965.
3. Carnival & National Holidays
Do your children like festivals? Carnival is Panama’s biggest annual festival and is similar to Mardi Gras in the States and Rio’s Carnival. Carnival is held on the four days before Ash Wednesday in nearly every city in Panama. Dance to free concerts, get sprayed by a hose from water trucks, cover each other with confetti, watch parades, wear costumes and have a good time. Be careful with your children during Carnival as things often get a little out of hand. The 2014 schedule is March 1st to March 4th.
Panama also has numerous holidays throughout the year, especially in November and December. Watch the parades with their marching bands, cultural presentations and street acts. There are usually fireworks displays too. Some of the biggest days are Panama’s Independence Days (there are two) and Christmas.
4. Amador Causeway
Do your children like fun & adventure? The Amador Causeway is a roadway and walking path that connects the Naos, Perico and Flamenco Islands in the Bay of Panama to the mainland. The 2-mile (3.5-kilometer) roadway was built in 1913 with rubble from the original Panama Canal excavation.
From this two-lane road you can see the Bay of Panama and the Panama City skyline on one side and big ships entering the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal on the other.
Take a nice stroll on the pathway. Rent bikes and pedal cars (at very low prices per hour.) Go fishing. Eat at a variety of restaurants lining the Causeway (one even has a private beach for customers). At the end of the roadway is the Flamenco Yacht Club and Marina. Watch your children’s eyes widen as they see million-dollar yachts up close.
The Causeway is open 24/7, but weekends are the most popular. Entrance if free.
Now for a secret. There is a second part of the Causeway that is not usually publicized. As you enter the Causeway, look for the Figali Convention Center. Behind it is an open grassy area with a large parking lot beside it. Families like to have picnics and relax away from the more touristy parts of the Causeway. They watch their children play sports, skate, ride bikes, fly kites and more.
5. Smithsonian Marine Exhibition Center
Do your children like marine life? This is an open-air museum on Isla Culebra on the Amador Causeway. The theme is directly enjoying marine life. Children can look at aquariums, shark and turtle pools, and posters and presentations.
Hours: Tues.-Fri., 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Sat.-Sun., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (During the Panamanian school year from March to December.), Tues.-Sun. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (During school vacations.) Closed Mondays. Price: $1 to $5. Tel: 212-8793.
6. Panama Canal
Do your children like big ships and science? There are two easy ways you can show your children the Panama Canal (aside from the Causeway). First, at the Miraflores Locks Visitors Center, they can watch the big ships being lifted and lowered from an observation deck that is actually part of the locks themselves. There are exhibits on how the locks work and a restaurant as well. Miraflores is located in the Clayton area which is just outside of P-City. Hours: 9 a.m. to 4p.m. daily, Prices: $2 to $15. Tel: 276-8325, 276-8449. Second, full- and half-day boat tours will take you through the Canal and locks. Tours can be booked daily year round (prices vary). All Canal tours leave early in the morning from the Flamenco Marina.
7. Parque Acuatico
Do your children like water? The water park has water slides (including one of the highest and longest in Latin America), the Slow River - a large swimming pool with a waterfall, a Wave Pool, Bumper Cars on an artificial lake and Go Karts. You can rent what you may need and food and beverage is no problem. Note that children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. The park is located in the Avalon Resort which is 40 minutes from P-City in Las Cumbres.
All attractions are open Sat., Sun. & holidays. Slow river is open every day. Hours: 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Price: $8.50 pp. Tel: 268-4499.
We hope you and your children enjoy yourselves in Panama City!
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