Panama City Beach’s vast Frank Brown Park includes several amenities worth checking out. Perhaps the most popular is the Panama City Beach Aquatic Center, where you’ll find triathletes, sunbathers, and everybody in between.
Yes, Panama City Beach is home to some of the Emerald Coast’s most beautiful stretches of shoreline, but no, your ideal water-based experience may not always involve sand and waves. Sometimes, you just want to splash around in the pool. When that urge arises, head for the Panama City Beach Aquatic Center, where you can swim laps, hit the slide, or simply relax on the pool deck.
Open year-round, the aquatic center is an outdoor-only facility — but that doesn’t prevent visitors from stopping by during the winter. When the weather grows colder, the main pool is heated to at least 80 degrees to ensure constant comfort. At night, the pool is covered to ensure it remains warm enough for morning swimmers.
The Panama City Beach Aquatic Center is a top destination for dedicated lap swimmers, in part, because it offers a long course that appeals to triathletes and other distance swimmers. The long course is only available during select months; between November and March, lap swimmers are generally limited to the short course. Throughout the year, however, several lanes are available. If you visit at the right time, you might be able to avoid sharing a lane.
Youngsters and their parents appreciate the zero-depth entry area, which includes multiple slides and water features that are sure to entertain. Several lounge chairs are located nearby, so adults can relax as their kids goof off. In the larger pool, life jackets are strongly encouraged for weak swimmers, who should also be accompanied by an adult at all times. While kids are understandably enthusiastic about the main pool’s diving board, it should only be used by strong swimmers.
While many people visit the aquatic center exclusively for lap swim or open swim, it’s also a top spot for swimming and water safety classes. In the summer, the center hosts a learn-to-swim program designed not only to help students safely navigate the pool, but also to prepare them for the junior levels of competitive swimming. While the aquatic center does not have a dedicated swim team, it provides a regular practice space for several local teams. Adults looking to exercise in a group atmosphere are welcome to join the pool’s water exercise class, held weekdays at 10:30 am.
The quality of your swimming experience is not determined by the pool alone. Bathrooms, changing areas, and concessions are just as important — and at the Panama City Beach Aquatic Center, you’ll be pleased to find clean and well-maintained facilities. The center’s spacious locker rooms include heated showers, which make it a bit less difficult to leave the heated pool on a cool day. A small concession stand located near the ticket booth serves soda, trail mix, chips, candy, and ice cream. This concession stand is open year-round, with an additional concession area open exclusively during the summer.
From concessions workers to lifeguards and pool managers, the staff members at the Panama City Beach Aquatic Center are friendly and helpful. The swim instructors, in particular, are clearly passionate about their work. Lifeguards are on-duty during lap and open swim — and they’re dependably attentive.
-Although the pool is open year-round, it has been known to close during the early morning hours when especially cold weather strikes. If the weather forces a temporary closure, however, the pool will typically reopen later in the day. In general, the standard for closing is 35 degrees Fahrenheit or below, although this can vary based on the staff’s discretion.
-The pool also occasionally closes for holidays or swim meets. Keep an eye on the official Panama City Beach Aquatic Center Facebook or Instagram page for weather updates and other information about closures.
-Join the pool in late December for the 2,000-yard swim, which is open to athletes of all ages. The event also includes a catered lunch. The aquatic center also recently launched an annual Spookathon Halloween triathlon for kids and teens.