A nerd has been defined among other things as a highly intelligent person who is intellectual and may spend an inordinate amount of time on little known, non-mainstream pursuits that are often related to fiction or fantasy. Well, what’s not to like? Many people these days enjoy learning about unique, entertaining diversions of fact, fiction or fantasy. If you want to “nerd out” in Panama City Beach, Ocean Reef Resorts has some choice recommendations for such delightful diversions and here they are!
Ripley’s Believe It or Not in Panama City Beach is an “Odditorium” that features authentic shrunken heads from Africa, an actual “Vampire Killing Kit” from the 18th century, a wax replica of a man who stood over eight feet tall, robots made out of scrap car parts, a giant dinosaur skeleton, the jaws of a Great White Shark, strange animal creatures preserved through taxidermy that include 500 exhibits of amazing real oddities and mind boggling visual illusions. There is also a 7D Moving Picture Ride where you seem to soar across the amazing visual landscape defending yourself from alien monsters, pirates and other giant scary creatures. You may try entering the darkened room to compete in an amazing race to get to the other side without touching lasers. Another adventure is a Mirror Maze Challenge. This darkened labyrinth is filled with mirrors, vibrant LED lights, dead ends, unexpected corners and infinite reflections. Don’t worry though, they send search parties out to find those who are lost every thirty minutes! More info is available at ripleys.com/panamacitybeach/
Escape Zone 60 features two Escape Rooms where you have 60 minutes to figure a way out. It is an interactive, fun game where you and a team of friends or family members work together in order to escape. Depending upon which Escape Game Room you choose there may be from six to ten players. The minimum required is four. The game begins with a briefing from one of the staff who describes what your situation is in the Escape Room, the rules of play and answers to any questions you might have. Puzzles are provided as clues to help you escape but only 30% of play participants succeed. Currently the Escape Rooms in Panama City Beach include a Navy Seal Mission Impossible and a Death Row theme. (There are other Escape Rooms in Destin) Participants have given this unique experience a Five Star Rating on TripAdvisor with comments like “An amazing time! “Great family fun time!” and “We were so close and can’t wait to try again!” More info is available at escapezone60.com
WonderWorks is an amazing adventure that most people have never experienced since it is literally a world turned upside down. You will realize this as soon as you see this big building that used to be a top-secret lab in the Bermuda Triangle. Legend has it that the world’s greatest scientists were working on a number of experiments and one of them harnessed a tornado that blew the building all the way to Panama City Beach where it landed on its roof. The building miraculously remained intact and all of the lab experiments are still functional. When you first enter everything will be upside down but fortunately you will be able to go through a spiraling magical inversion tunnel that will turn you right side up! Once properly aligned you begin an amazing adventure that includes 100 exhibits where you may participate in the hands on lab experiments. These include Wonder Zone experiments of Natural Disasters, Physical Challenges, Light and Sound, Space Discovery, an Imagination Lab and the Far Out Gallery. The Natural Disasters include experiments with lightning-like electricity, holding on during a Category One Hurricane wind, a Fly Over in a Global Earth virtual spaceship, sticking your hand in 28 degree water for as long as you can like those trying to survive after the Titanic sank and a multi-screen Trivia Wall testing your knowledge about wild weather, earthquakes, fires and historical extreme disasters. The Physical Challenge includes lying on a bed of nails, climbing a 3D lighted Wonder Wall, blowing bubbles the size of basketballs, challenging your mind with EEG technology, pulling your weight up a tower, riding a bike fast enough to spin around 360 degrees and trying your athletic skills at baseball, football, basketball and soccer on a Virtual Sports Machine. The Light and Sound involves playing music while stepping on the keys to a giant piano, dancing to create light on a big screen and doing a freeze frame image of yourself in color. In the Space Zone you can wear an astronaut’s suit, explore the surface of Mars on a simulated 3D Range Rover, sit in a replica of the Mercury Capsule, land the Space Shuttle and fly a simulated F18 Hornet at 1,190 mph. The Imagination Lab is great for kids to create a giant picture with lighted pegs, stomp on a floor to keep alien monsters away, do vibrant digital art and play with huge gear wheels on a wall. The Far Out Gallery has lighted art exhibits with hidden images that come and go, eyes that seem to follow you and other amazing visual illusions. Besides these experimental Wonder Zones you may test your skill on an elevated, colorfully lighted rope obstacle course or play laser tag competing with others in a darkened arena. More info is at wonderworksonline.com/panama-city-beach/
The Man in the Sea Museum is owned by the Institute of Diving with a showcase of exhibits that shows the amazing progress of diving technologies from the very earliest days to remarkable modern equipment used for exploring underwater habitats. It involves contributions from the US Navy Seal SEALAB Program, commercial use, scientific breakthroughs and sports diving fields. Diving suits include primitive breathing tubes made from reeds with animal skin floating sacks, Jules Verne Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea type suits over 100 years old and mini submarines now used for deep water exploration. Exhibits include displays of treasure recovered from sunken ships that sailed way back in the 1500s and SEALAB1, which was the world’s first working undersea habitat. Kids of all ages can climb aboard a submarine and other deep water transports. Videos are shown with displays of colorful deep-sea scenery, mysterious findings and the discovery of priceless artifacts. See maninthesea.org for more information.
These unique educational adventures may make you want to proudly nerd out for more, especially on that occasional cloudy day or if you just want to have fun! In the meanwhile you will find a wide assortment of wonderful Ocean Reef Resorts vacation rentals on or nearby the beautiful beaches in Panama City Beach or along Scenic 30A in South Walton. It’s also an awesome day trip from Destin. You won’t find this kind of fun just anywhere so feel free to share!