Run to Rum Runners in Pier Park

Fun is Contagious at the new Rum Runners in Panama City Beaches’ Pier Park. If you walk out of the Grand Theatre and turn right, you’ll see it on the corner in the space previously occupied by Tuscany Italian Grill and Guglielmo’s. When you walk in, you’ll be greeted by friendly faces that invite you in with a smile and a warmth that fits right in with the tropical décor.

In fact, Vincent Wood the same artist that designed the scenes for the Sandestin Resort location also brought his iconic tropical designs to the new Pier Park location. The artwork is fun and festive and complimentary to the tiki hut roof over the bar. The suspended surfboards and Hawaiian printed shirts make you feel like it is definitely five o’clock somewhere….and most likely somewhere on a beach.

Karen Smith (aka My Mom) who is always ready for adventure, and me – always ready for a good meal 🙂 – decided to pay this new hot spot a visit. Our server, Jonathon, was friendly and knowledgeable and had nothing but good things to say about his job.

“They make it fun here. It is not just about getting the food out, it’s about making sure our customers have a good time.” He told us both we needed to come back after 8 pm for the dueling piano players. Rum Runners is known for their great entertainment. And the fun is not just for the vacationers, many locals enjoy the casual atmosphere and seven-day-a-week music acts that both encourage audience participation and expand over a variety of genres.

When we asked what we should order, he pointed us to some of the favorites on the menu like the Hurricane Burger and the Lobster Bisque. I opted for a small fresh salad and the appetizer portion of their famous Ahi Ahi Tuna with Wakame, which was delicious. The portions were generous, and the presentations attractive, at least until we devoured them! We drank sweet tea, but at night, the creativity of Rum Runners bartenders attracts many. Many of these “mixologists” have their own unique special creations, but like in Sandestin, the two most popular crowd pleaser drinks are the classic Rum Runner and the Calypso Punch.

Before you run to Rum Runners, run and find them on Facebook. Then run and get you some of that Ahi Ahi Tuna!

A total list of Pier Park Restaurants

Updated 3/22/12

Pier Park has, in just 4 years, become one of the most iconic landmarks to grace the shores of Northwest Florida.  Literally hundreds of thousands of people (if not millions) visit this destination annually and Pier Park’s popularity is evidenced by the crowded sidewalks, shops and restaurants all year long.  The variety of creative gathering spaces, alcoves and fun places to shop, paired with beachy architecture make Pier Park, well fun!

This is an old post (literally 4 years to the day), but we’re republishing it because we’re updating it.  Since this was originally published in March of 2008, new places have been added and some places just didn’t make it.

Restaurants

Order at the counter

Order via wait staff

Places with food
  • Candymaker Candy Stores
  • Great American Cookie Co.
  • Kilwin’s Chocolate
  • Marble Slab Creamery
  • Popcorn Kingdom
  • Smoothie King
  • Starbucks

Miracle Strip Adds New Ride: Sea Dragon!

Jason Koertge has an awesome vacation rental business in Panama City Beach that focuses on remarkable properties right on the gulf.  They range from 1 to 4 bedrooms, they’re clean, and amazing.  He can be found lurking at PCBLP.com.

In keeping with the tradition of adding tasteful rides to the growing amusement area in Pier Park, Miracle Strip @ Pier Park has added another ride.  This comes after a winter of planning and reorganizing the whole park, shifting the Red Baron Plane ride to the other side of the park and moving the Tilt a Whirl over.  The Sea Dragon is on the far east side of the property with a decorative fence behind it.

The Sea Dragon

One of the few rides I can actually ride at Miracle Strip without feeling my stomach in my throat is the Sea Dragon.  The spin rides really do me wrong – but my kids love them – however, vertical and horizontal acceleration rides do me very right.

This type of ride allows a small amount of air-time for those riders sitting in the very back as the ride swings back and forth, over and over.

A total list of all the rides at Miracle Strip @ Pier Park

Along with the addition of the Sea Dragon, they’ve changed some things around and added some ancillary fun for the kids as well. On the south side of the property, they added a huge bounce pillow (parent friendly) and near the entrance, they’re working on a kiddie train area where the little ones can navigate the rails on their own.

Here is a complete list of their rides and attractions.

  • Tilt a Whirl
  • Scrambler
  • Ferris Wheel
  • Carousel
  • Red Baron Planes
  • Balloon Race
  • Sea Dragon
  • Butterfly Pavilion
  • Bounce Pillow
  • Kiddie Train (under construction)
Pricing for admission, rides, day bands, etc.

They’ve really packed a lot of fun into Miracle Strip @ Pier Park – adding enough entertainment to keep the kids occupied for a couple hours.  The other thing that’s great for parents is that they’ve added fencing all around the park so there is only one point of entry and exit.  I for one can certainly appreciate this with my four little kids.

There are several ways to enjoy the fun.  Here is a breakdown of all the ticket pricing.

  • Single ticket pricing — $3.50 — each ride requires one ticket
  • Book of 10 tickets — $29
  • Single day arm band — $18 — includes unlimited rides for the full day for wearer
  • Season pass — $99 — unlimited access for the bearer, along with a “buddy” (basically good for 2 people)

For more information on Miracle Strip, visit their website and Like their Facebook page.

Waves of Fog Overtake Splash Resort, Pictures Go Viral

It’s a scene that’s seemingly common, something that JR Hott has seen many times when he’s flying his Panhandle Helicopter.  Meteorologically, it’s a pretty normal event,  but the result in these photos was captured just right, at just the right time.  Just a little later or a bit earlier, and these photos would have never happened.

Last Sunday, Hott went for a flight with his lead captain and fired off some very interesting pictures. The pictures seemed to capture waves of fog flowing over the gulf front condos in Panama City Beach, specifically, Celadon and Splash Resort and several others on the western end of Panama City Beach.

Jason Koertge has an awesome vacation rental business in Panama City Beach that focuses on remarkable properties right on the gulf.  They range from 1 to 4 bedrooms, they’re clean, and amazing.  He can be found lurking at PCBLP.com.

Hott said, reflecting on his thoughts before he posted the original image to his Facebook page, “Eh, these look pretty cool, I thought, maybe I’ll post them to my page. . .  When we started seeing the Likes and Shares come through, we were dumbfounded. . .  We never expected this.”

The pictures.
What’s really happening in the pictures.

As explained to me by the Panhandle Helicopter guys, when the air temperature, dew point and water temperature are all about the same, a fog is created.  Add a slight breeze from off the gulf and that fog will envelope the structures on the beach.  If it’s just a little too windy, the fog won’t form.

Meteorologist Dan Satterfield describes the process on his blog:

“Cool air offshore was very nearly at the saturation point, with a temperature near 20ºC and a dew point of about 19.5 degrees C. The air at this temperature can only hold a certain amount of water vapor, and how much it can hold depends heavily on the temperature. Drop the temperature, and it can no long hold as much water vapor, so some of it will condense out and a cloud will form.

“In this case, the air was cooled by lifting it about 50 meters over the top of the condos,” Satterfield continues. “A parcel of unsaturated air will cool when lifted at a rate of 1 degree C per 100 meters. In this case, it probably cooled about 0.5 degrees C, but that was all it took! On the back side of the condos, the air slowly sinks back down and warms at the same rate. As it warms the air can hold more water vapor and the cloud evaporates and disappears!”

The pictures were taken on Sunday, February 5 at 12:40 pm, and the main shots are picturing Celadon and Splash Resort with a variety of other resorts in the shot as well, including Tidewater, Tropic Winds, and Emerald Isle.

The virility of a picture.

Sure, there are talented people that have nailed the creation of viral content over and over, but a large part of creating viral content just really can’t be predicted.  A number of anomalies have to occur and fall into place just right to create that viral spread.

In this case, the photo was capturing something that happens on a regular basis, but the shot was captured from a vantage point that is not so regular. We see fog all the time, but we see it from the ground.  Seeing it from the air is very unique and rare, especially since helicopters can’t take off in foggy conditions.  However, with this situation, the fog was not impacting their landing/take-off location and they were able to get in the air.

The fog seems to be taking over the condos in massive waves, and everything blends together to create a neat, viral package.

So, just how viral is this?

Hott has said he’s literally seen his picture on sites around the world.  Spain, Mexico, Peru, Thailand, England, and Russia just to name a few.  The pictures have shown up on sites like weather.com, cnn.com, tntmagazine.com, huffingtonpost.com and news.discovery.com.  There is a YouTube video from CNN that has over a half million views.

Looking at the Facebook Insights, the original image has over 15,000 people who have interacted with it by either sharing, liking or commenting on it.  Bringing the analytics a little further, according to Facebook, the image as “reached” over 33,000 people.

Their Facebook page, last Saturday had just over 1,050 Likes. As of this post, they had just over 2,500 with over 3,500 people “talking about” them.

What are you thoughts on these pictures?

Dick’s Last Resort, Rum Runners and More Come to Pier Park

Jason Koertge has an awesome vacation rental business in Panama City Beach that focuses on remarkable properties right on the gulf.  They range from 1 to 4 bedrooms, they’re clean, and amazing.  He can be found lurking at PCBLP.com.

Grab your shopping bags and bring your appetite because Pier Park is adding some new shops and restaurants.  It’s no secret how popular of a destination Pier Park is, and with over 110 shops, restaurants and entertainment venues, it’s certainly not surprising either.

There are a couple new additions that either just opened, or about to open, and a number of new retailers that will open in the next few months.

Two new restaurants.

Dick’s Last Resort will bring a new dining experience to Panama City Beach, unlike any other.  The restaurant features outrageous, surly and energetic wait staff, tasty comfort food and live entertainment.  The restaurant opened Monday in the former Guy Harvey’s Island Grill space.

Just in time for Spring Break, Rum Runners will open in March in the “E” Shops just south of the Grand Theatre (in place of where Guglielmo’s was).  The restaurant will offer a casual dining atmosphere and full-service bar featuring a mix of live entertainment including dueling piano shows and interactive customer participation in a tropical Caribbean-style setting.

Both will add a fitting flair for vacationers in our warm, tropical weather.

Other new additions for 2012.

French Charmed recently opened at Pier Park and offers its shoppers French country décor and European-inspired goods.  Many of the collections are unique and expertly hand crafted.  The boutique is located on the Boardwalk between Polk a Dots Toys & Gifts and Latitude 29.

Also opening in February will be Francesca’s Collections which specializes in gifts, apparel, home accessories and jewelry that reflect fashionable styles from all over the world.  The new store will be located next to Bath & Body Works in the Town Center.

Joining the Florida panhandle as the first in the market, Charming Charlie will offer a unique fashion accessory boutique designed to help women of all ages complete their outfits, regardless of the occasion or mood.  The accessory store will be located in the Town Center.

Pepper Palace will open its doors in March.  Offering a variety of spicy food products from an assortment of hot sauces to habanero corn bread mix, this hot spot will be a favorite for fiery foodies.  The new store will be located on the Boardwalk’s west side between Accessories on the Boardwalk and Gamestop.

Celebrated by many style conscious and trend savvy shoppers, Forever 21 will boast more than 23,205-square-feet of space, occupying the former Border’s location.  This new store will offer a variety of apparel, shoes and accessories aimed at customers of all ages.

More about Pier Park.

Just in case you’ve been under a rock for the last 4 years, Pier Park is one of the single best things that has happened to Panama City Beach.  With the development of Pier Park came the creation of a retail destination that has provided a place for people to not only shop, but hang out, recreate.

With over 110 shops and restaurant, there is 1.1 million square feet of retail shopping space and an aesthetic design that’s conducive for family fun.

The bottom of their most recent press release reads:

The multi-dimensional property also hosts numerous free community events throughout the year. Large-scale signature events include the New Year’s Eve Beach Ball Drop and the Star Spangled-Spectacular July 4 concert and fireworks show.  Pier Park will keep the spirit alive this year with a Mardi Gras festival.  The colorful event will be held on February 17 and 18 and will include a Second Line Parade Friday evening the 17th and a Children’s Parade at 1:00pm with the big parade shortly after.  The Bourbon Street Village will open Friday at noon and there will be a car show as well.

Pier Park Target Adding Grocery Ahead of Walmart

Jason Koertge has an awesome vacation rental business in Panama City Beach that focuses on remarkable properties around the Pier Park area.  They range from 1 to 3 bedrooms, they’re clean, and amazing.  He can be found at PCBLP.com.

With all the talk of Walmart coming into the area, it’s spurred even more activity.  Although Target’s making no claims of “keeping up with the Jones,” or in this case, “Walmart”, their push to add an expanded grocery section is certainly a plan to keep them ahead.  The Walmart that is being installed adjacent to Target, right across Powell Adams Road, is rumored to have a significant grocery area including produce and meats – although nothing official has been announced.

What we can expect at Target.

Target already has a pretty good grocery section.  It is certainly not Publix (or a Walmart Supercenter for that matter), but our family’s spontaneous needs can typically be met there.  They have milk, eggs, deli meats, some frozen foods, ice cream, cereal, chips, coffee, bread and tons of other essentials, and it’s all very fairly priced.  Shoot, we often do our grocery shopping there.

With the reorganization they’re adding fresh produce and meats and expanding on the other item types they already carry.  This will make them more of a one-stop shop and should bring in more grocery shoppers.  If it’s decent produce, it’ll draw our family in, along with countless others.

Target is also getting remodeled.

Just less than 5 years after opening, they’re giving the inside a significant overhaul.  You may have noticed the circus-tent-looking structure to the side of the building, next to the retired garden center – that’s the staging area for the work being done.

Expect new paint inside, new end cap designs, new isle layouts, isle shifts and a fresh new look.

When it’ll be complete.

Timing is everything right?  The new Walmart hasn’t even broke ground yet, much less begun moving dirt.  But the remodeled Target, groceries, and produce should be complete by mid-March.  Employees are expecting things to be ready for spring break.  This is well suited for what is projected to be, again, the busiest rental season ever.  As we just learned, last year broke records, if 2012 is better, then we’ll break more records.

What are your thoughts on the new Target? Do you think it’ll compete with whatever Walmart puts in?  Would you shop there?

Pier Park Gets Some Competition

The economy in Panama City Beach has been improving and with that developers have decided to build a 400,000-square foot shopping center across from Pier Park.  The new development will be on the North side of Back Beach Road adjacent to Frank Brown Park on approximately 60-acres.  They are hoping to open Pier Park North by Spring 2013 after beginning construction in Spring 2012.

The outdoor shopping area has been named Pier Park North, but is a competitor rather than an expansion.  Simon Property Group owns Pier Park and its competitor Glimcher Development Group owns Pier Park North.

Leases have been signed for 50% of the space, including one large anchor store, however the Glimcher Development Group plans to announce these names at a later date.  There have been rumors of the prospective stores to call Pier Park North home.

Prospective Stores

  • Dick’s Sporting Goods
  • Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Michaels
  • Fresh Market
  • Pier 1 Imports
  • Kirklands
  • Ross Dress for Less
  • Shoe Carnival
  • Petco
  • Toys R Us
  • Rooms to Go
  • Men’s Warehouse
  • VisionWorks
  • Osaka’s
  • Cheddars

How do you think the competition will be against Pier Park?

Back Beach Near Pier Park Drops to 45MPH

The recent drop in speed limit on Back Beach Road near Pier Park stirred up a lot of discussion on our Facebook wall, and we’d like to hear more thoughts on the speed change from 55mph to 45mph.

Why?

From Hills Road to Colina Circle, the speed limit has been changed from 55mph to 45mph.  These changes were due to the amount of traffic, accidents, and the struggle for cars to pull out of Pier Park safely.  The decrease was also inspired by the recent number of tragedies in the area in past months.  One thing to consider is that the area will soon be seeing a Wal-Mart.

Community Feelings

While it’s too early to tell how people feel about the change, it seems that opinions are split.  Those who live in the neighborhoods around Pier Park seem to lean in favor of the lowered speed limit, while those who pass through see it as ineffective.  A common standpoint seems to be that the change isn’t going to be fun, but if it keeps people safer – then it’s a necessary one.

That being said, how do you feel about the speed limit being lowered to 45mph around Pier Park?

Forever 21, Charming Charlie, and More to Pier Park

Pier Park has recently lost Borders, Guy Harvey’s, and opened up a few other vacancies – however they are soon to be filled!  Pier Park will be home to Dick’s Last Resort, Marshalls, Forever 21, Charming Charlie, and Francesa’s Collection.

Dick’s Last Resort

Moving in where Guy Harvey’s Island Grill was located is Dick’s Last Resort, a restaurant and bar known for an intentionally obnoxious staff.  Dick’s is expected to open sometime this winter.  You can learn more about Dick’s Last Resort and view their menu online.

Marshalls

Marshalls will be located between The Dollar Tree and Red Robin on the North Side of Pier Park.  Marshall’s offers brand name items at reasonable prices, including clothing, accessories, shoes, and household items for the entire family.  Visit Marshall’s online for more information about their products.  It is expected to open November 5.

Forever 21

Forever 21, a womens clothing store, will be opening in Spring 2012 where Border’s was formerly located.  The Panama City Location will be 23,205 sq feet of clothing, shoes, accessories, and intimate apparel.  If you’d like to see what to expect at the Forever 21 in Pier Park, visit their website.

Charming Charlie

A newer accessories business, Charming Charlie, is also coming to Pier Park.  Charming Charlie was founded in Texas and has been expanding to new locations as fast as possible since its birth and instant popularity. Visit Charming Charlie online to see why they are such a popular store.

Francesca’s Collection

A unique store for women’s apparel, accessories, and gifts is Francesca’s.  These stores are also becoming more popular and expanding to many new locations.  You can visit the website to learn more about the products available at Francesca’s Collection.

Where you do plan to visit first or most frequent?

Aaron Bessant Park Amphitheater Construction Schedule

The projected improvements to Aaron Bessant Park have been quite a hot topic lately with many energetically arguing for and against it.  The public workshop is this Wednesday evening and a lively workshop its expected to be!

The city has released the projected construction schedule, which is not final, but intended to be used to map out the process of building the improvements.

The schedule

August

  • Week 3 – Technical specifications
  • Week 4 – Draft RFQ and sound check site
  • Week 5 – Workshop: Design parameters

September

  • Week 6 – Advertise RFQ: Design/Build
  • Week 7 – Geotechnical released
  • Week 8 – Refine Design parameters
  • Week 9 – Addendum

October

  • Week 10 – RFQ Due Design/Build
  • Week 11 – Award Contract: Design/Build
  • Week 12 – Work shop: Design
  • Week 13 – Submit to FCT

November

  • Week 15 – Site/Structural Plans
  • Week 16 – Site Construction Start
  • Week 17 – Order Steel
  • Week 18 – Permit Set Complete

December

  • Week 19 – Building Construction Start
  • Week 20 – Underground work
  • Week 21 – Slab on Grade

January

  • Week 24 – Walls to roof structure
  • Week 26 – Roof Structure

February

  • Week 28 – MEP installation

March

  • Week 32 – Finish work
  • Week 35 – Certificate of occupancy

April

  • Week 36 – Punch list
  • Week 37 – Seabreeze Jazz Festival