Each season we have many new rides and attractions to celebrate and look forward to, but it isn't often that a park picks up and moves down the road a couple hundred feet! Miracle Strip @ Pier Park is doing just that in 2014, and it's all in the name of growth. We've been covering some news from the park as they've made progress on the expansion here at NPN, excitedly watching as they announced new details.
|The original 1.2 acre site © Miracle Strip @ Pier Park|
One of the greatest aspects of moving Miracle Strip @ Pier Park is the addition of space - the new park will open on around 14 acres, almost 12 times larger than the original park. "At this park we will be offering all of the things that we have been missing due to limitations and out-growing the property we were on for 5 years: great food, fun games, more thrilling rides, a water play area in which to cool down, and beautiful trees to give much needed shade," Mrs. Meeks points out. "The park will have meandering walkways among beautiful landscaping and flowers, with touches of artwork and decoration here and there amidst the lights, smells, and sounds of a park from yesteryear."
|The Tilt-a-Whirl in its new home © Miracle Strip @ Pier Park|
"Teddy and I have great respect for the Larks (owners of the original MSAP) and the wonderful park they created and devoted their lives to for 40 years on Panama City Beach. We know we can never replicate or come close to recreating their original park but hope we are successful in creating a special place for families to come and create new memories with new generations that were not able to experience the original MSAP." It also sounds like the park's move has had a lot of local support, not only by fans but also the government: "Mayor Gayle O'berst of Panama City Beach and City Manager Mario Ginsbert have been instrumental in helping us get this new park built and we have appreciated their dedication to helping Miracle Strip @ Pier Park move to our new, larger location," says Meeks.
|The location of the new park - you can see the old one in the upper left.|
The Southern half of the park will contain the parking area and main entrance gates and ticket booths. The park's architect, Jim Roberson of JRA Architects, created this view of what will greet guests:
|© Jim Roberson / JRA Architects|
|Service Buildings © Miracle Strip @ Pier Park|
|The Riptide being rebuilt off-site for refurbishment © Miracle Strip @ Pier Park|
Moving over from the existing rides at Pier Park are the Balloon Race, Tilt-a-Whirl, Scrambler, Sea Dragon and Ferris Wheel - all will be located among the trees in the Northern half of the park.
|© Miracle Strip @ Pier Park|
|© Miracle Strip @ Pier Park|
Miracle Strip @ Pier Park was able to find a great set of Bumper Cars up North in Vancouver, and they have already taken up residency on the Northern side of the property.
The Northern half will also have an amphitheater with adjacent stage for performances and other amenities.
In total there will be nine new rides at the expanded park, five for adults and four for children. When added to the original attractions that are being moved, Miracle Strip @ Pier Park will offer nearly twenty vintage rides - a claim that not many parks can make!
An exciting aspect of Miracle Strip @ Pier Park will be the admission structure, which includes "unlimited riding armbands, individual tickets, and books of tickets for customers that want to ride or play on the water playground." The park will have free admission, something that makes it a natural gathering place, and a welcome one at that.
Really, the thought behind the park is not simply an amusement park that hearkens back to a time gone by, but also as a place for the community to gather. Along those lines Mrs. Meeks says "our park will be used by the community as a place to come together and celebrate the local arts of school bands, choruses, art clubs, church choirs, and theater. We want the local charities to use it for 5k run
fundraisers, adopt-a-pet, and walk-a-thons. Our pathways are perfect for parades of all sorts without having to shut down public roads. Because we are locally owned and operated, we can help the local clubs, schools, families, and churches have a family friendly place to have events, get-togethers, field trips, and reunions." How wonderful is that!
As many are aware Miracle Strip @ Pier Park is planning on resurrecting the famous Starliner wooden coaster, which was moved to Cypress Gardens after the original MSAP closed - but was disassembled when Legoland Florida moved in. Work on that plan is continuing, with the ride now owned by the park and some aspects already being worked on.
|An Original Starliner Car © Miracle Strip @ Pier Park|
Mrs. Meeks continues, "we have already jumped the hurdle of having the Conditional Use Zoning approved for the 2.5 acres for the Starliner location and the approval of height variances to build the coaster to its original height by the city of Panama City Beach." The current plan is still to have the Starliner up and running again for patrons in 2015. When complete, it will run along the Western boundary of the new property.
While the addition of the Starliner is exciting, there's so much to look forward to when the park opens this April. If only we were a bit closer to Panama City Beach we would be sure to visit and take in some vintage amusements - but even if I can't make sure I'm sure that plenty of people will. Best wishes to Miracle Strip @ Pier Park on their grand reopening, and many thanks to Jenny Meeks for sharing with us here at NPN!
You can follow along with plenty of updates on the new park from Miracle Strip @ Pier Park's Facebook page.