Panama Dunes – Dune Buddy Adventure Park is about ready to open. When we checked in with them a few weeks ago, we didn’t have much more information other than they were coming, that it was sure to be a blast and that they were not open yet. Now, we know approximate pricing, age limit for driving, a little more about the dune buggies and about when they are going to open.
Located right in the middle of Panama City Beach, the Panama Dunes – Dune Buggy Adventure Park features a 4 acre track with countless curves and dips that range 11 feet in elevation change. There will need to be some training before they let you loose in these customized dune buggies, but once you get out on the track, you’ll get to stay for around 12 minutes, or 6 laps. The track has a clay base with loose sand on the top that has been shaped at the direction of the crafty hands of a local engineer.
The Dune Buggies
These little beasts feature a 21 horsepower gas motor that will keep you somewhere between 24 and 32 mph. They’ll be doing some testing this weekend to figure out where that speed sweet spot will be. The trick will be to keep it fast enough to be really fun, but not to fast to keep you safe. The buggies are a slightly modified BMS buggies that have added bumper protection and a few performance upgrades then what was talked about in our previous article. They have a low center of gravity and wide stance, and come with headlights, brake lights, turn signals, and a horn. They look like they’re gonna be a blast to drive.
On the BMS website, it states that there is an age restriction for this particular buggie of 18. I’m not sure how that age restriction is mandated, or if it is regulated by state, but for this attraction, in Panama City Beach, the age will be limited to 15 with a driver’s permit and up. Sorry kids, if you’re younger, you’ll have to ride with mom.
Hours of Operation
The hours of operation hasn’t been nailed down firm yet, but at this point, they are thinking they will open daily at 1 pm and close at 10 pm. I’m not sure what the Sunday hours will be, this knuckle head didn’t think to ask (doh!). This will surely be a great summer time attraction, but during the winter months, i can definitely see people coming from all around to partake in this action. This is truly like nothing Panama City Beach has ever seen before. I’m actually surprised this hasn’t been done here before, it’s a great idea.
Cost of Playing
Again, the exact cost hasn’t been nailed down yet, but they are thinking the cost to play will be around $12 to $15 per person. Cobra Adventure Park is around $10 and by comparison, the thrill factor at Panama Dunes should be much greater. I mean, if you have to have a learner’s permit to drive, these things have got to be fun, right?
Future of the Adventure Park
They are planning on opening the Dune Buggy portion by Labor Day, although the owner was quoted as saying that’s an aggressive goal. But, it’s a goal, nonetheless. If they don’t make it by the holiday weekend, they’ll be open by the second weekend in September. Initially, they’ll just have the Dune Buggy track, but by spring they plan on having other attractions, including some climbing activities and stuff for the younger tikes. They’ll also have a track side grill serving hot foot, etc.
I don’t know about you, but I think this looks awesome. I, for one, can’t wait for a ride on the track and see how these buggies can be pushed to the limits. From an attraction point of view, I’m sure they will do great as this is a great idea that will bring loads of family fun to locals and tourists alike.