Gulf Specimen Marine Lab in Panacea Florida is the place to go for those that love ocean life!
You may have noticed that I’ve started sharing a few posts that aren’t food related. I’ve wanted to share with y’all things that we do around here, that aren’t tourist and beach related. We aren’t really “beach” people. Of course we go to the beach, we just don’t build our weekends around being there. We like to road trip it, within a few hours of here, doing things that people may or may not know about. I’ve shared our adventures to the Pensacola Lighthouse and National Aviation Museum and over to Mobile, to visit the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. Today I’m sharing about a place that I found by doing a Google search one afternoon.
Panacea is located just two hours east of Panama City. It’s a little town with not a lot going on. Don’t let this little town fool you though! Located off the beaten path, right down the street from the bay you’ll find Gulf Specimen Marine Lab. Ever wonder where the squid came to be on the dissection table at school? This place possibly supplied it. Gulf Specimen Marine Lab supplies colleges, high schools, and other locations with specimens for dissection and study. You’re thinking to yourself, why would you want to go there?
Let me tell you! If you have ever had any love for marine life, this place is for you. There are thousands of different kinds of sea life located at the Gulf Specimen Marine Lab, waiting for you to discover and touch. Yes, touch! You can touch and feel hundreds of different sea life, from star fish and crabs to sea urchins and beyond.
Our family loved our visit to Gulf Specimen Marine Lab. The idea that you can get hands on with these creatures is amazing. Of course you could take a stroll down to the bay and get lucky with possibly grabbing a crab or some shells. Here though, you get the opportunity to read the plaques as you go, and learn about the different creatures that you’re picking up and holding.
For Kelsie, this was the opportunity of a lifetime. She’s torn between her love for sloths and her love for marine life. She wants to be a zoologist and marine biologist. This trip was a wonderful opportunity for Kelsie since we are studying marine biology this year in homeschool. She loved getting up close and personal with all the creatures. Especially this guy!
Although the sea turtle was off limits to touching, you can see that you can get closer than you’ll ever get at the beach!
Word of caution for this trip. Closed toe shoes are recommended. You are in and out of non-air-conditioned buildings and tented areas. It was super hot and humid when we went; dress accordingly! We were hot. I’m not sure if the hours change or not; perhaps a good time to visit would be early spring or late fall, when the weather isn’t quite so sweltering.
All in all, we had a wonderful time, heat and humidity included. I highly recommend this place if your a marine life lover, as our family is. You won’t be disappointed!
All opinions are my own, these are our honest reviews. We were in no way compensated for this post.