New Dune Buggy Adventure Park to Open This Week [PICS]

by February 28, 2011 • 25 comments

Remember last summer when we were talking about a really cool new attraction in Panama City Beach, Panama Dunes?  We were marveling the novelty of having a Dune Buggy track that was accompanied by other adventuresome attractions.  Well, they’re opening this week.

Originally they had planned on opening last summer, then it got moved to Labor Day, then put off until this week.  The setbacks were related to a variety of things that come up when building something that’s never been done before, and the winter hiatus was to ensure a strong start with the 2011 tourism season.  But, with the winter months put aside for planning, the owners decided to launch their grand opening with a huge BANG with much more to offer then they had originally planned.

Here’s what they’re doing.

This is the pit and staging area.  Under the green shelter will rest the sleeping Dune Buggies.  You’ll receive your orientation and get strapped in for your adventure here.  Just beyond the shelter is a platform that overlooks the track.  You’ll receive training there.  From start to finish, the Dune Buggy experience will be around 30 to 45 minutes, including training, etc.

When I first saw these, what I envisioned was crowds of people hanging from the railings cheering on their favorite buggy racer in a scene reminiscent of the pod races in Star Wars Episode I.  Not so, but what WILL be there will be a challenging ropes obstacle course.  This course will have varying levels of difficulty with the final stages only being open to those that are competent enough to navigate the toughest of routes.  This course will wind around and over the racing dune buggies.  Never fear, though, course challengers will be secured into a harness system that will keep them on their feet, or at least off the ground.

This picture was taken from the training and staging platform for the ropes course described in the previous picture.  The pit you’re looking at is where the foundation for the 4 story zip-line tower will go.  Beyond that, you can see the County Pier, giving you some indication of where this adventure park is.  Can you imagine the views you’ll have from the zip line?

The dune buggy track will wind and turn around, traversing 5 acres.  The thing that’s really cool about this is that you’re not stuck making only right-hand or left-hand turns all the time – this track varies giving you the feel that you’re not stuck with some amateur child’s playground.  The owners expect about a two to three year maturation period for the landscaping.  They’re planing vegetation that will grow up over the fencing and barrier walls that line the track giving you a feel of really being down in an offroad track.  You’ll feel like your racing through the jungle, next to the beach.

This image shows you how many of these ropes obstacle course exchange points there will be – 11 total.

This is looking back over the track from the west side.  The cluster you see in the middle is the ropes obstacle course and to the right is the staging/pit area and training platform.

This is the beginnings of the zip tower.  There will be three legs of the zip line, taking you in a triangle across the Dune Buggy track.  The starting point will be 40 feet in the air and will overlook the Gulf.

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1 Miles February 28, 2011 at 9:25 pm

Looks pretty cool….but could you please include a photo of the dune buggy to be? It would be nice to visualize whether or not you mean go carts, which would still be fun, or something else entirely. Looks promising either way!

2 Cathy March 1, 2011 at 9:12 am

Hey Hey Hey!!!!! I’m really impressed here…… they have really came a long way since last summer. I remember driving by & it was just a open area with the sign up….. this looks great!
The youthful visitors will really love this attraction, it’s like BIG go carts….. the noise can’t be all that bad, hopefully the breeze from the ocean will take that away. We stay down on Thomas Drive and the go cart noise never really bothers me but, my husband & I love to see people having fun.
Lots of laughs and good times ahead for this place! Good Job!!!!

3 Don March 1, 2011 at 10:28 am

Its all about price price price. If its affordable family fun like the go carts are it will be great. If they are going to charge 75.00 a person like they do on cruise ship shore excursions it wont work. They will be hanging the “Closing ” sign up right over the “grand Opening” sign!

4 Cathy March 1, 2011 at 12:15 pm

I re-read the article and at this time no admission price is mentioned. I actually do not believe it would be that high Don and from being in & around PCB for over 20+ years the only $75.00 a person cruise ship excursion you could possibly be referring to has to be a “Fishing” trip. The famous “Lady Anderson Dinner” cruise charges adults 48.00 each or seniors at $42.00 each for a wonderful dinner/dancing while cruising the harbor.
I’m sure the owners will come up with an adequate price for such a fun & pleasurable function.
For heavens sake Mr. Don…….. just be up-lifting and send this “new” business well wishes & good Luck!
As always in my own opinion……

5 Ted March 2, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Wow… is this the SAME Cathy from Tenn. that bashed Miracle Strip @ Pier Park for having rides in Pier Park. Why don’t you take your own advise and be “up-lifting” to all businesses trying to make a living, pay employees, taxes, insurance and provide tax revenue to a struggling Gulf front city.

6 Cathy March 3, 2011 at 11:11 am

Ted, I am the one & only although you are way out of line I think by your accusations that I bashed Pier Park. On the con trier, I have given Pier Park wonderful reviews as far as great shopping boutiques, wonderful eating establishments with eye catching appeal. What I did say about the rides… a few in the back “great” for amusement of children but, in my opinion “I would hope” it does not get carried away towards becoming a BIG amusement park. I just feel crowded between the nice shops and the larger shops in the back will not give them the space needed.
The Miracle Strip (called this long ago) was enjoyed by so many visitors due to having a central located (1) Amusement Park which contained many many rides (went there as a kid hun so I well know) & many of the rides Pier Park is acquiring I have seen in the past and had lots of fun on them! So there…….
In no way did I imply PCB did not need these at all.
It’s funny…. when a person writes something and 50 to 100 read what you write there are always some who just can’t grasp & comprehend what they read.
Ted, I do hope you will go back & re-read the comments I wrote concerning Pier Park & find them to your liking.
As far as being up-lifting to new business, I am without a doubt…. always encourage new places and growth of a community.
PCB “in my opinion” is not struggling” lol lol , Do you even know what this word implies? Look it up dear.
“Struggling” was many many years ago when our parents came long before we were born 1930’s or so. PCB is not struggling now.
I do thank you for your comments to me, gave me a chance to do what I love most in life……. write.
Have a good day!
Always, in my opinion……

7 Patricia Murdoch March 1, 2011 at 11:45 am

The owner and his family of this awesome dune buggy track is a great guy whom I met at the Seafood Festival. I wish him much success!!!

8 Jason Koertge March 1, 2011 at 12:21 pm

I don’t know exactly what the prices are, but in conversation they mentioned some numbers that seemed fair. I’m confident this will be competitively priced.

9 Stan Foster March 1, 2011 at 1:55 pm

You idiot! Where is the park?? Did you ever think to mention the location?

10 Cathy March 1, 2011 at 2:37 pm

Hahahaaaaa, YOU need to re-read the article especially paragraph #5 it tells you: See the County Pier, giving you some indication of where this adventure park is.
Boy, I am from Tennessee and even I know that is! Perhaps, you need to take a little sight seeing drive this afternoon if you live in PCB to see what is changing around you.

lol lol… Cathy/Tennessee

11 Jason Koertge March 1, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Stan, who ya calling an idiot? Me? Sheesh man, go somewhere else.

12 Tim March 1, 2011 at 7:54 pm

So they are finally bringing some entertainment back to the beach.
Cathy when is the last time you took out a jet ski , if you dont think it could be pricey. I also see you put a plug in for captain anderson, i noticed about 6 months ago you were really Braging them up when they mention captain anderson was down because of Bp.. Bull stuff captain anderson was down last year because their prices continue to go up every year. Their grouper imperior goes up 4 dollars every year. Well back to this dune buugy track my question is i love entertainment but if you leave captain andersons or the salt water grill , you are probally dress in nice shorts and a polo so who would want to jump on a dusty dune bugy track and ruin their nice clothes. I do like this but it would have to be a day time activaty when i could dress down. So if you are like me that flies in you are limited to your clothes, so i can see this lasting about a year.. I will settle for a harley ride to destin and back.

13 Cathy March 2, 2011 at 12:39 am

Well, Hello to you too Tim……..
My comments were directed to Don, he mentioned (Cruise ship/shore excursions) not “Jet Ski’s” there is a BIGggggg difference there.
Bragging…. No, not by any means hun. I work very hard all year round for my vacations and I’m very proud of myself for them.
Sorry, to burst your bubble but, I do eat “Grouper Imperiol” and savor every bite of it! I really don’t give a rat’s behiney how high it is, I work hard to enjoy it.
As far as how I dress….. I really luv luv a man who thinks he knows about a woman by the way or what she writes about. You my dear have lots to learn! lol lol My jeans are well worn & very comfee!
Yes, I did “plug” Anderson’s, heck…. for that fact I probably plugged many great spots in PCB. One thing I will mention here, many familys were way missinformed last year about the BP accident & they chose to stay home or travel elsewhere….. their choice. PCB did suffer some but, not as greatly as others did.
We are to look ahead in life not dwell in the past….. look ahead for a brighter future and year. I suggest you do this.
Prices go up each year….. where have you been? We have to dig in deeper to enjoy what we love in life.
You go take a ride up the coast & cool off before you blow a gasket, if we ever meet on the new track…. I’ll give you a run for your money! Take care, lol lol
As always, in my own opinion……..

14 Lori Duncan March 1, 2011 at 11:14 pm

Looks amazing! I am glad they took their time and got it right. Looking forward to seeing what the buggies look like. We get to check it out in person this May. Love the huts! Great job Jason 😀

15 Tammy March 2, 2011 at 12:46 am

I happen to know the owner very well so would like to add some more information. The track is located at 12500 Front Beach Rd, near the County Pier. The cost to ride the dune buggies will be $18.00 with many $3.00 off coupons if used before 4pm. The ropes course is expected to be open by March 15th, and the cost is also $18.00. The first phase of the zip lines is expected to open by early May with the starting cost of $18.00. There will be “human hamster balls on water” operating this week. In addition to all of this there will be childrens amusements expected to be opened by March 15th. The owner is expecting to add many additional items to the park.

16 Cathy March 2, 2011 at 12:54 am

Hi Tammy……
Please tell him what a great job he has done! It looks fantastic!!!
Those prices shouldn’t scare anyone away for that type of fun. I think it will be a wonderful attraction for beach going vacationers young & old.
Location couldn’t be better!
I look forward visiting in June and September…. Good Luck!!

17 Jason Koertge March 2, 2011 at 10:54 am

Thanks Tammy for chiming in! We’re excited about this new place.

18 LoganG March 2, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Hi Tammy!

I know the first time this park showed up on PCBDaily they mentioned the posibility of rock climbing. Have you heard anything about that? If so, is it just to be another kid thing like at Pier Park or are they thinking a more legitimate wall/tower?

19 Tim March 2, 2011 at 9:35 am

Hi Cathy
I do want to live in the future, but I still remember my first year going to pcb and that was 1983. The year my wife graduated. Rooms were 26 dollars a night, the daqaries were 1dollar at the shack, ride all day on go carts, rent a motorcyle, went parasling from the beach at club la villa, It just seem that those were the good days.
Yes I have loved what they did with pier park, and I welcome any form of entertainment that comes into pcb. I just think between 2004 and 2008 things at pcb were a little stale during the rebuild period. We to come twice a year in may and september and always looking forward to new entertainment.
and in the 10 days we are there we do go to captain andersons prob three time and saltwater the other 6 night and maybe the new rebuilt shrimp boat 1 night. What I was mentioning about the clothes and the dirt was, when we go out to eat we usally wear linen short and a polo or tommy bahama which wood need to be dry cleaned . Clothes i really dont want to warrer in the mudd. Well lets just wait and see I hope like everything there I hope for a hughe success because we consider it our home away from home. But what I am saying 15 years ago pcb had all the entertainment and tore it down to build the condos and now they have finally realized WOW we have to rebuild something for the tourist to do… have a great summer

20 Cathy March 2, 2011 at 10:19 am

Hi Tim…….
Very sweet reply one I wasn’t quite expecting. I am a lady who loves change and seeing places grow for the better. My story is very similar to yours dear….. my first trip to PCB was 1958 in the arms of my father as a baby. Staying in the “Georgian Terrace” (now torn down) The Fountain Blue, for many years. Countless trips our family made to “our home away from home”. I have watched the small Mom & Pop places simply dissipate & boom…. be replaced by tremendous condos….. but, you know I simply adore them! I love the height & seeing out over the beautiful ocean, not to mention the breeze and seeing whats down in the water!
I still take deep enjoyment walking the beach as a child & picking up shells… it’s the hunt & find thrill, it’s the “kid” in me that PCB seems to just bring out.
I know I’m not the only one who feels this way & if I had a wish to make it would be to live there.
Changes do come in our world & to the places we love…….. I knew that one day when the beautiful condo time was almost finished they would wake up & see that now “Activities” must now be built. When you get all the travelers there you just have to keep them happy & busy. I do remember all the amusement parks & arcades on Hwy. 98 as a young teen going to & the loads of fun we had. I remember the Wild West Train ride located where the Wal-Mart is now…… it took you way back in the woods to what looked like an old miners camp town, there you saw a shoot out and I remember eating ice-cream! hahahaa
Some of the photos I have throughout the years makes PCB look like a very different place. If my father were alive today I doubt he would believe how much it’s changed.
Ok, enough for memorie lane here……..
You have a good day also & again ty for the wonderful reply.
I look forward to all the growth of PCB & having the opportunity to enjoy it. My successful wishes also…….

21 Rachel March 3, 2011 at 7:55 am

I think this looks awesome!!! GOOD LUCK TO THE ALLENS!!!! 🙂 I can’t wait to come try it all out!

22 Paige March 3, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Whoa people! Everyones a little off topic! I am so happy for my uncle! So much hard work and it looks amazing! Allen family discount?! Anyways congrats Bart and Tammy! I’m so excited for u guys!

23 Cathy March 3, 2011 at 11:38 pm

May be Paige, but a really good discussion going here. I am very proud for this new business and what they have accomplished, hope the opening goes wonderful! Good Luck!!!

24 Greggt March 3, 2011 at 10:00 pm

Hey Tim, where did you stay in 1983 for $26.00 a night?
In 1980 we spent our Honeymoon in PCB for $56.00 a night, by the mid 90’s it was over $100 a night, early 2000, $147.00 a night (just a note, the places we stayed in the 80’s, 90’s, etc. are still there). Actually since the condos have opened up, the nightly rates have actually dropped due to all the choices. It used to be in order to get reservations for July, you had to commit at the latest, right after the 1st of the year. Now you can almost do a walk-in at most places on the beach.
Another question Tim, what business’s/entertainment were forced out because of the condos?
Actually the condos on the beach side either were placed on empty beach lots, replaced generally run down mom and pop motels, or beach houses that had seen their better day. No question too many were built but we can not cry over spilt milk. It will be years before any more will be built due to current selling prices are about half of replacement cost.

25 Jason Koertge March 4, 2011 at 9:45 am

Alright. I’m closing the comments down on this one. We’ll have an update on the opening of this great new attraction later. You can see some pictures of the Dune Buggies on our Facebook page this afternoon:

I will say that personal attacks and intentional slander is just not allowed on here. And don’t complain about freedom of speech to me, this is a private site, if you don’t like it, I’m sorry but you’re just gonna have to deal with it.