Panama City Beach lost one of its long-time iconic attractions in 2004, Miracle Strip Amusement Park. But some of the rides were sold to a Bay County couple who rebuilt and relocated the family rides at Pier Park. Now they are growing and moving again.
You can call it a dream come true for Miracle Strip owners' Teddy and Jenny Meeks. In 2010, Miracle Strip at Pier Park was just an idea. "We were out here one day and thought this would be a great area for kids," Teddy Meeks said.
Fast forward 3 years and the park is a thriving business. With 11 rides on the 1-acre site, there's something for everyone.
"It is so fun, it's like a little piece of Disney World," Joanna Bush said. Her mother Missy Bush used to frequent the original park and is glad she can share a piece of her childhood with her children. "It's just so neat to see my kids enjoying things that I enjoyed as a kid. Their favorite ride of the day was same one, when I was a kid," Bush said.
But despite that, there's still a need for more. "We knew we were land locked here. We love Pier Park but we do see the need for a full size amusement park," Meeks said.
On Friday, Meeks obtained the papers approving their plans for expansion. Just southeast of their current location, sits a 10.5 acre property that they hope to fill.
Plans call for a 50 foot lighthouse, concessions, and yes more rides. In their possession are the essential parts to the Star Liner, the beloved wooden roller coaster that once occupied the original park.
"The old miracle strip was truly iconic. I mean it was one of those seaside amusements parks that lasted forty years. I don't think there's anything way we can replicate that but we want to bring our niche or twist to that." Meeks said.
After the current Miracle Strip lease expires at Pier Park, the goal is to move the existing rides onto the new property. Ground is expected to be broken in October, with an opening date set for April 2014.
The Star Liner will not be opening next year because of planning constraints, but the ideal time frame puts the iconic coaster back in the park by 2015.