This Weekend in PCB – Thunder Beach, Oktoberfest, and Murder Mystery

This coming fall weekend promises to be another full one in Panama City Beach.  The Autumn Thunder Beach Motorcycle Rally is coming to the beaches from Wednesday till Sunday, Downtown Panama City is celebrating Oktoberfest Friday and Saturday, and there will be a Murder Mystery Cruise.

Thunder Beach Motorcycle Rally

September 27th – October 2nd

Wednesday will start the Annual Thunder Beach Autumn Motorcycle Rally, with Kick-off parties at The Sandpiper Beacon Resort, The Shores of Panama, and Pineapple Willies.  (Officially, the rally doesn’t begin till the 28th.)  This year’s event will include Miss Thunder Beach and Mrs. Thunder Beach pageants, poker runs, memorial parades, and a custom bike show.  Please see Thunder Beach website for a detailed listing of this weeks festivities.


September 30th-October 1st

Friday and Saturday in the Downtown area of Panama City, the Annual Oktoberfest will transform the area into a quaint village in Germany.  Visitors to the event should expect to see carnival rides, accordions, sausage eating contests,  and more.  As one would expect, there will be plenty of musical stylings, including polka music.  Keeping children busy with rides, clowns, and face-painting the festival will also be occupying adults with a wide selection of beers.  There will be Omm-Pah-Pah concerts and ceremonial keg tapping!

Murder Mystery Cruise

September 30th

This coming Friday evening The Betsy Ann Riverboat Cruise will be hosting a Murder Mystery Cruise.  Taking off at 6:30pm from the Sun Harbor Marina at the base of the Hathway Bridge, The Betsy Ann Riverboat will return at 8:30pm.  The price is $38.95 per person and $26.95 for children 5-12 years old.  The cruise promises to send you back in time to learn the history of steam paddle wheel boats and when the original Hathaway Bridge was built.

Have fun this weekend exploring Panama City Beach and please “look twice- save a life” of a motorcyclist!


Action Packed Biker-Friendly Week [Schedule]

The most biker-friendly free rally in the USA is coming to the beaches of Panama City this week: September 28th – October 2nd.  Complete with parties, beauty pageant’s, live music, entertainment, a memorial parade, and thousands of gorgeous motorcycles, this is sure to be a weekend to remember.  Here is a look at some of the events scheduled for this fall’s Thunder Beach!

Kick-Start Party at the Shores of Panama

Starting with the Kick-start Party at the Shores of Panama at 6pm on the 28th, Thunder Beach Motorcycle Rally will be in PCB.  The Kick-start party will feature live music from Geneva, and at 7pm the preliminary round of the Miss Thunderbeach 2011 Autumn Rally beauty contest will begin.  There will be a Kick-start After Party at 9pm at Pineapple Willy’s, including free snacks – while they last.  There will be live music from Jacobs, Brock and Brews.

Miss Thunder Beach 2011 Autumn Rally

Throughout the week, ladies 18 and up, will have the opportunity to compete for a $5,000 prize and the title of Miss Thunder Beach 2011 Autumn Rally.  The first preliminary will be held at the Kick-Start Part at 7:00pm on September 28th at Shores of Panama.  The Second round will be held Thursday, September 29th, at 7:00pm at HammerHead Fred’s.  The winner and runner’s-up will be announced at the end of the final round, Friday the 30th at Hooters at 7:00pm.  There will also be a Ms. Thunder Beach competition, Saturday October 1st at the Shoppes at Edgewater.

Poker Runs and The SGT Kevin Kight Memorial Bike Parade

There will be three poker runs: Thursday at Pineapple Willy’s, Friday at Rock’it Lanes, and Saturday at Sharky’s Beachfront Restaurant and Tiki Bar.  Registration for each poker run will be at 12 pm on its respective day.  On Saturday October 1st at 10:00am, the SGT Kevin Kight Memorial Bike Parade will begin at the Southwest corner of R. Jackson Blvd and Middle Beach Road.  The parade will benefit Cops for Kids, and any canned food donations will be given to local food banks.

The Best of Thunder Beach Custom Bike Show

Also on October 1st, will be the Best of Thunder Beach Custom Bike Show held in Pier Park.  Registration will begin at 10:00am, judging is scheduled for 12:00pm, and the aware presentation will be at 5:00pm.  Classes for judging are American Mild, American Wild, Metric Wild, Sportbike Mild, Sportbike Wild, Manufactured Custom, Radical, Bobber, Bagger Mild, Bagger Wild, Trike Mild, Trike Wild, Vintage Stock, Vintage Modified, and Rat. There is $15,000 in prize money and gift certificates available to winners.

The Nick Lee World Burnout Tour and The Ives Brothers Stunt Show

The Nick Lee World Burnout Tour will be making a few appearances to the rally also; with appearances on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 12:30pm and 3:30pm at Frank Brown Park.  The Ives Brothers Stunt Show will be at Frank Brown Park those three days at 12:00pm, 3:00pm, and 6:00pm to entertain the crowds as well.


Zoobilee at Zoo World

The drop in humidity and the diminished crowds make early Fall one of the best times of the year to experience the Emerald Coast‘s festivals and other special events. A perennial favorite of children and adults alike, Zoo World’s Zoobilee 2008 is coming up on September 27 and 28. Zoo World has staged the event for over a decade, with last year’s attendance counts coming in at over 8,000 visitors for the weekend. With admission for the event set a mere one dollar per visitor once again, Zoobilee promises to be a hit this year as well.

As in years past, a visit to Zoobilee promises to be a day of fun for the whole family. Visitors will find numerous special attractions, including a dunking booth, and prize giveaways throughout the day. Visitors may also purchase raffle tickets in drawings for various valuable prizes donated by local businesses. Although its famous animal shows will not take place during Zoobilee, the park has promised that many of the animals will be available throughout the event for posing with visitors for photographs.

Now in its sixteenth year of operation, Zoo World is a zoological and botanical conservatory housing over 200 exotic and, in many cases, endangered animals on over seven acres of lush vegetation. ZooWorld is an active member of the (UZA) United Zoological Association, and is also an active participant in the (SSP) species survival plan program. It is perhaps best known for its big cats and delightful shows featuring talented exotic birds. However, Zoo World is also home to a large variety of animals, including primates, giraffes, reptiles, and amphibians. Those visitors in search of a closer encounter can enjoy a petting zoo as well.

Zoo World is open year round and is always in need of both donations and volunteers. Interested parties who choose to donate their time can work as either Animal Keeper Volunteers or Gardener Volunteers, but in either case must be at least eighteen years old and in good physical condition. In order to participate, volunteers need to contact the park at least twenty-four hours in advance in order to be matched up for training with the correct Zoo World professionals.

One of the best things about a visit to Zoo World is that it offers parents a unique opportunity to help their children make connections between what they see on their favorite television shows like Nickelodeon’s “Go, Diego Go!” and their own lives. Over twenty million viewers a month tune in to watch Diego and his sister, Alicia, rescue various exotic animals, many of which can be found at our own Zoo World. The Spectacled Bear, Kinkajou, and Scarlet Macaw are just a few. Furthermore, an interest in exotic animals and their environments can have ramifications far beyond childhood.

In July 2008 Science Daily published an articled discussing a scientific study of children’s perceptions of tropical rain forest environments. “Turner and colleagues found that children’s awareness of rainforest biodiversity is highly developed, with the majority of the children depicting a rainforest with a diverse animal fauna, even though most have presumably never visited a rainforest. This knowledge of the natural world is crucial for inspiring and recruiting the next generation of naturalists and conservationists.” Children seem to have a natural affinity for animals and parks like Zoo World allow them to connect to nature by being in the presence of animals normally only seen in the wild.

As captivating as photographs and videotaped encounters can be, they cannot compare to the experience of being in close proximity to such fascinating creatures. It is often difficult in today’s high tech world for parents and caregivers to compete with television and videogames for their children’s attention, but special events like Zoobilee can at least help to level the playing field by providing a vibrant and memorable experience to treasure for years to come.

Zoo World is located at 9008 Front Beach Road. The gates open at 9:00 AM with the last admission at 4:30 PM. The park will close at 5:00. Free parking is available at the Super Walmart parking lot and free shuttle service will be provided from nine until five. Zoo World will provide free parking for handicapped drivers, all other drivers must pay a three dollar charge.

More can be learned about Zoo World at