Panama City's Miracle Strip to close

Posted | Contributed by Bosshawk

Miracle Strip Amusement Park in Panama City has been sold. As a condition of the sale, the rides will be removed within a year. The water park will remain in operation.

Read more from WJHG/Panama City.

What a shame, another traditional park is disappearing. A great wooden roller coaster, a great dark ride and seaside location. The article says that the park is being sold due to not being profitable. With the number of visitors there I find that hard to believe. I think the owner just got a deal he couldn't refuse. I find it interesting that he will still own and operate the waterpark. Again I am sorry that another PTC coaster will disappear as well as a great park.
This is sickening news. Suddenly, the number of wooden coasters that stand the risk of leaving us is growing out of control. Starliner and Jack Rabbit top the list, but lets not forget that the fates of Pavillion (Myrtle Beach), LeSourdesville and Whalom are all up in limbo, which means that the fates of their wood coasters are as well.

What is hardest to swallow is the fact that this park always seemed to be pretty stable. The park was never said to be run-down and the owners seemed to make frequent improvements and upgrades. Pictures always showed a park that seemed to be "safe." Just goes to show- never assume. I guess the owner was offered an obscene amount of money for his land and couldn't refuse?

Some people have questioned why a wood coaster enthusiast organization was needed, and I believe that this is the reason why. If an organization like that can bring a little awareness to these rides and gather support to aid in preservation efforts, then it succeeded. I would imagine that, of all the soon-to-be-SBNO wood coasters out there, this one would be the easiest "sell."

Sad. Now my first (Opryland) and now second most visited park as a kid will be gone. There goes another ride through haunted house too. Looking at the map, it looks like they got rid of the walk through haunted house. I believe almost all of the rides there are pretty old aren't they? I haven't been to the park in many years, but last I went, it seemed it was really showing it's age. But again, it's been awhile for me. I like how the park is really lit up nice at night, with the lights on the Starliner visible quite a way up and down the main strip.

<sarcasm> That's all PCB needs are more condo's. </sarcasm>

*** This post was edited by Raptor Pilot 4/15/2004 11:42:54 AM ***

That's all any of these shore towns need- condos.
Jeff's avatar
I don't want to be a cynic, but I don't understand why some of you find it so impossible to believe that they can't keep a park like this profitable. I don't disagree that it's sad, but not every town can support a Holiday World, Kennywood or Lake Compounce. Travel habits, financial and age demographics of the locals and weather all play into it.

Clearly in this case the water park was holding its own. The amusement park really doesn't have a lot to offer, I don't think. You have to compete with FEC's, movie theaters, malls, etc.

Like I said... sad, but I'm not entirely surprised.

Is there any word on the fate of the coaster or any of the other rides for that matter?
I can't speak for anyone else, but I never suggested that the park was a profit-machine capable of sustaining itself. I'm sure that the owner of the park probably made more money by selling his land than he would have by operating the park for another decade. This is almost certainly a case of money talking and the park owner walking. The point I was making was that the owners have put money into the park on a regular basis, so considering that, the park is most likely making money and not losing it. Parks that are losing money don't usually invest in new rides, unless they are Six Flags or Disneyland Paris.

That said, I think that a park in Panama City WOULD be a popular place. Its a busy vacation destination and I'm sure it sees more than enough tourists to sustain the park. I would think that support for such a place would be high because of the competition. You can go anywhere in this country and shop in a mall or see a movie, but you can't go just anywhere and visit an amusement park. Its something unique, something special... something that sets Panama City apart from the many other shore towns in the area. You would think that would be enough to keep the park out of the red.

Take a look at the Jersey shore and places like Seaside Heights, Ocean City and Wildwood. They are devoid of theater megaplexes and huge shopping malls. Theaters used to be a big thing on the Jersey shore until amusements supplanted them- now the biggest theater in Wildwood is a tiny four-screen building that takes up half a city block. The entire building is probably as big as a standard Loews theater lobby! Shore towns such as these see amusements flourish because they are something different from the norm... people go down the shore to do something that they can't do while at home. I find it curious that the same isn't true in Panama City.


You have a good point. The place is very touristy and I would have guessed the park was doing fine as they were adding new rides every couple of years.

I spent an evening at the park a few years ago and was amazed to see how crowded it was, even with an approacing tropical storm. The entire strip was buzzing with people. Miracle Strip was easily the park that surprised me the most out of all the parks I did on that trip. Now it surprises me once again, but in a bad way.


It is a shame. I attend U of F and was planning on visiting the park for the first time during my spring break at the beginning of March. Good thing I checked the Internet before we left because the park was closed. I'm not exactly sure why, it was spring break! I mean, it was beautiful weather here in Florida, and I'm not much further south than the park, so it shouldnt have been closed for the reasons northern parks are.

I am very upset to here this news although i am not very surprised. There are no pamphlets or "blurbs" about the park in anything that was going around for things to do during Spring Break. Some mags talked about the beach up there, but nothing on the park. maybe if there was more advertisement, because no one that I talked to knew about it. I don't know though. I'm not saying that would have helped enough, but it would have spreaded the word more anyway. It's just a guess. Like I said, I have never been, but it seems like I have limited time now to ride the Starliner before it's too late-right, that's going too? What a shame.

I can think of another amusement park right down the street from Miracle Strip called Petticoat Junction. Guess what replaced it? A Walmart! Ugh!!!

Wood Coaster Fan Club - coming to a park near you to try and save it from the mindless corporate masses

Hey Thrillerman,

If you start a Wood Coaster Fan Club count me in. I have ridden many that are no longer around and it seems there are several more that I have ridden that may soon be memories.

I can think of another amusement park right down the street from Miracle Strip called Petticoat Junction. Guess what replaced it? A Walmart! Ugh!!!

Yep, but I believe Petticoat Junction was closed for many years before Walmart went in. Do you have any photos from that park?

*** This post was edited by Raptor Pilot 4/16/2004 12:17:47 AM ***

Sorry Raptor Pilot, I don't own any photos from Petticoat Junction, but a very good friend of mine now owns the last car of the original PTC train that ran on both versions of the coaster at Petticoat Jct. and Wedgwood Park.

I'm not sure of the time frame of when Walmart appeared on the site either, but that company has built their ugly boxes in a lot of unique and historically nostalgic places while displacing many people mercilessly. To me, it's just another ugly example of what this company symbolically stands for. A very reliable source/friend of mine gave me that little tidbit tonight, about what now occupies the site, when I told him about the situation in Panama City and Miracle Strip Amusement Park.

Wood Coaster Fan Club - now accepting memberships

To Raptor Pilot and Thrillerman,

I have both slide views of Petticoat Junction as well as super8mm home movies of the park and its coaster. The coaster footage is both on ride and off. I also have the same for Miracle Strip.

Thrillerman - Let me know where to join.

Check your private messages, OlympicParkFan.
I'd like to see that stuff you have OPF. I know my friend with the last car of the Tornado's train would be extremely interested as well. I found some interesting photos of the Petticoat Junction Tornado when it was at Wedgewood and was curious about the alterations performed on the ride while it was still in Oklahoma City (apparently the ride was expanded and enlarged after it's first couple of seasons). I've been unable to locate any solid information about the revisions to the original design when it was originally expanded at Wedgewood, but the photos of the coaster are rather obvious to the changes that were made. It seems to me that Mr. Twister in Denver is not the only coaster designs that John Allen revised during the mid sixties.

Wood Coaster Fan Club - Knoebels opening day

rollergator's avatar
Coasterbabe....check your Private Msgs. :)
Anyone out there that might be interested please respond. I and some investors am looking at the possibility of possibly re opening the Miracle strip Amusementy park. I am still in the early stages of the idea but i was in Panama and realized there is nothing for the young kids to do anymore. Anyone with any information pleas contact me as i would love to hear any ideas you may have. Thanks for your help.

Lewis McClain

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