Where can you have your picture taken sitting with a real wolf, feed an alligator, and lock eyes with a Florida black bear? Although it sounds like a bad episode of “Swamp People” you can actually do all this and more right here in Panama City Beach! Yep – we have our very own zoo, and with the exception of the postcard-worthy beaches it’s one of the area’s most popular attractions!

ZooWorld is a non-profit organization and has actually been around for donkey’s years. Considering Panama City Beach isn’t a huge city, this zoo is pretty amazing and offers a really good selection of presentations, events and educational programs. It’s located on Front Beach Road a little north of Ripley’s Believe it or Not and WonderWorks, and basically gives you and your family the opportunity to enjoy the animals in a gorgeous tropical setting. So which animals will you meet? Well let’s see. There’s giraffes, Bengal tigers, macaws, leopards, monkeys, alligators, pythons, porcupines, African lionesses, Florida black bears and more – all just waiting for the chance to say hi!

The kids will go nuts for the “Parrots in Paradise” show, where the parrots get up to all kinds of crazy antics, including playing a little basketball! After the show the kids get to hold these cheeky animals, and who are more than happy to pose for a perfect picture moment! Looking for more of an educational experience? ZooWorld offers the “Keeper for a Day” program, which incorporates training, food preparation, cleaning and of course lots of fun. (It can’t be all work!) You’ll have your own private encounters with some of the animals and even assist with the Parrots and Pals show. Another great way to interact with the animals is the Animal Encounter program. You basically get 15 minutes to enjoy a one-on-one with your choice of the North American grey wolf, Bengal tiger bottle feedings, Patagonian cavy, kangaroo or a red-tailed boa. The prices are in addition to the regular admission but boy oh boy, what a cool thing to do!

Regardless of whether you’re visiting ZooWorld for fun or learning, (or even a bit of both) it makes for a beyond awesome day out for the family. So when you finally decide to get your tush off the pool lounger or beach towel, just grab the kids and go. ZooWorld is open 7 days a week and the last admission is at 4pm. Visit their website for a ton of info, or call (850) 230 8500 to make reservations for any of the encounters. The animals are waiting to entertain!