Miracle Strip @ Pier Park-Panama City Beach

4.5-Shells4.5 Shell-ey’s

The weekend began when “Popi'” gave his two beloved daughters some Moo-Lah for a little fun over the weekend.  So Ashley and I thought, wouldn’t it be fun to take the kids and do things that usually get the answer, “Oh sorry guys, that’s too expensive”.  So we headed to Pier Park in Panama City, stopped at Kilwin’s ice cream (click to read post) to get the kids some delicious ice cream, watched the sunset at The Boardwalk, and then, yes then, we passed THE FAIR at Pier Park!!Will-airplaneThe Fair (better known as Miracle Strip @ Pier Park) is something as a kid you pass and dream about only too be told it’s too expensive.  But we had some cash left-over and said, what the heck.  Let’s let our kids be kids and buy some smiles and fun and blow the rest of this money and have some fun!  We paid about $40 for a package deal and every kid had a chance to ride two rides each (we had 5 kids if you are doing the math).

So first up, was the might Sea Dragon!  This was your typical viking ship that rocks from up and down, higher and higher.  No one was brave enough to even dare step foot on this monster of a ride except for my courageous little nephew.  Ashley and son boarded the ride picking the tippy-top seat and off they went!  See them way up there by the dragons head?Sea-Dragon-rideI was on the ground with the little kids and you should have seen their faces!! (well you will, I am about to post a picture).  It was hilarious!  They were terrified and mesmerized by all the screaming fans and watching that ship go higher and higher!! With the exception of Meg…who was thrilled. surpriseThe worker asked if they wanted one more free round since it wasn’t very crowded, but Ashley said her stomach couldn’t take it.  You’re getting old girl!  Anywhoo, look at the thrilled faces of mother and son.  Is this a framer or what?  And I love that chocolate ice cream stain on Gray thanks to Kilwin’s ice cream.ash-grayI think the favorite was the Red Baron airplane ride.  The kids could pull the stick in the middle and fly the plane up or down.  Any sort of “control” for a kid is thrilling.  This ride was definitely a winner.beth-gid-planeNext up, my youngest niece opted for the classic carousel.  She was the only one who got to ride it and as the youngest of four, was delighted to be the one-and-only.  You go “B’!B-carrisolMeggers and I braved the huge ferris wheel.  Whew, we were high!meg-farris-wheelThe carnival also had a huge fun Sock Hop Bouncing Pillow which is just that….a huge pillow.Bouncy-Float There was also a cool Tilt-A-Whirl.Spinnin-chairsThe park is landscaped very nicely with neat vine-sculptures and little lights everywhere.horse-landscape  There was a Butterfly Pavillion as well where you can check out hundreds of butterflies emerging from cocoons.  The night was quite magical for me and the kids.  We had a great time at the little fair.  I would definitely do it again (when Pops hands us a few bills again….) Ya hear that Dad? ;)group-shot

Inlet Beach-Panama City Beach/Rosemary Beach

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If you blink, you’ll miss Inlet Beach which is between Rosemary Beach and Panama City Beach off of Hwy. 98.  When I visit my sister, we love going here as a family because the beaches are less crowded.  There aren’t any condominiums in this area, just houses… some old, some new.  So that makes for views of prime white sand spreading out for miles and swimming without having to pass a bazillion people along the way (although it was crowded on Memorial Day).kids-running   The public beach access we often go to is on Orange Street and W Park Place Ave.  We pick Orange Street because there are BATHROOMS at the pavillion!  And when you have kids, that’s a must (or anyone with IBS ;).bathrooms And it has showers which is also helpful in getting off all that sand on tiny feet, sand pails, and chairs.ShowersAlthough I have to admit, in keeping beach chairs, umbrellas, & beach toys permanently in my car, it is nice to have a lil’ sand in your car when you live in the coast like we do!   But what I would REALLY love is to have sand in my old, awesome, kick-butt, surfer, antique Bronco like this one parked at Inlet Beach the day we arrived.  I don’t know who you are, but you are C-O-O-L.  Ohhhhhhh, to own one of these.  Anyone listening out there??BroncoOkay, back to reality…..there’s a long boardwalk taking you out to the ocean.  What a view!  It’s also right next to some state owned land so it’s nothing but beautiful sand dunes and natural vegetation.boardwalk viewAdditionally, they have lifeguards here at times with the typical flags waving letting you know what’s going on with the ocean, tide, marine life, etc… That helps because we do have undertows at times which can be quite dangerous and other marine life like jellyfish during certain seasons.  So this bit of info is always helpful.  And what mom doesn’t want a life guard on duty to help in keeping her kids safe?beginning-boardwalk

Okay, so you have the basic info of Inlet Beach, now for the MOST ADORABLE picture I have probably ever taken and it’s probably not my photograph skills but because my models are THE MOST adorable little 7 and 8 yr. olds in the world, best friend’s, Megs & Mags.meg-maggieMeg-Maggie-boardwalkDon’t you remember having a best girlfriend like this?  Those were some of the best times.  I love being around my niece Meg and her bestie Maggie.  Maggie had on Meg’s bathing suit.  Do you remember the time when you shared clothes and dressed alike?  They are so cute!!!  They also practiced their front walk-overs and wanting “Auntie Shell-Shell” to watch try after try.
Here is the amazing walk-over sequence.Cartwheelupside-downMeg-Maggie-FallFall-out in the end.  I remember practicing my round-off-back-handsprings in the sand growing up.  This brought back so many memories.  So here’s to all my sweet girlfriends growing up with some of the most innocent and fun memories (including dance routines that just would never end), Jennifer, Ashley, Frances, and Amy….. I love you girls!!!

Camp Helen State Park- Inlet Beach/Laguna Beach/Panama City Beach (Post 2)

…continued from Camp Helen State Park Post 1

So we took the long walk down the sandy path towards the beach, .6 miles.mom-path  Along the way, we saw beautiful picturesque scenes like Lake Powellbridge bridge-2 and gorgeous water oaks.OaksWe had to carry the little kids after a bit of walking.  That sand is hard for little ones to walk in and even harder when you are carrying one, whew!  But when the kids saw the water, they took off for it.  Even though we went to Camp Helen on a windy, cooler day in the early spring, those kids still wanted to get in the ice-cold water!  We told them to only get their feet wet (yeah right).  Shorts were coming off in the end.  Good thing we had a change of clothes.  (Note to self when living in the south by the beach, keep a change of clothes for the kids at all times.  It should be a part of your emergency pack.)kids The remnants of the old fishing pier destroyed by hurricanes is still on the beach at Camp Helen.  You can read about the history of it on their website.  Some fisherman were out having some fun while we were trying to keep our kids away from their lines. :/megThe kids had a blast in the water, as the adults enjoyed sitting on the sand and keeping warm (smart).  Next, we headed back to where Lake Powell meets the sandy shoreline of the beach.lake-pass  At times the lake does reach the ocean.  The water from the lake just meanders up to the ocean.  It’s very shallow and the kids love to play and look for shells or crabs.kids-lakekids-close-up-passThe day ended with fun, sun, sand, and the famous “plumber pose”. Nuff said.bootySo if you are looking for history, picturesque settings, serene lake views, beautiful beaches, fun for the kids, romantic walks, then head down to Camp Helen and enjoy the reasons why I am so thankful we HAVE state parks in our country.  A place for all to rejuvenate and enjoy what God has made :)

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