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“Avoid the mid day break (2-3 hours) - No Ships in the Locks” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Miraflores Visitor Center

Miraflores Visitor Center
Book In Advance
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$130.00*
and up
Panama City Tour And The Canal
Ranked #3 of 167 things to do in Panama City
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
69 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“Avoid the mid day break (2-3 hours) - No Ships in the Locks”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 9, 2013

A world class visitor center with 12 minute video viewing theater, museum section and of course the enormous covered viewing platform. Transited the canal a dozen times in past work profession and have come here over the years and they continue to improve this vistor venue and its at world class now.

There is a buffet restaurant one level below the viewing tower if you want to avoid the crowds on the upper level and take amaxing photos of the ships coming thru the locks from your table... You must reserve a table if you want covered balcony rail (vs inside).

The largest ships transit the canal during daylight for safety reasons, they go in conveys of 6-8 ships with starts on both the Atantic and Pacific side and they they pass each other in the Gatun Lake where there is enough room to do so. This means after the last morning North bound morning ships clears the Mira Flores locks (usually by 11am) you will not have any ships in the Mira Flores Locks til the first Southbound large ship arrives @1-2pm depending on the number in the convoy that day.

Tip: You really want to be there when there are ships in the locks being moved with aid of locamatives from one lock to the next so either go early morning 8-10 or for a late lunch with reservations @130-2pm or any time in late afternoon from the covered viewing deck but heat might make you cut you viewing short.

Enjoy

Visited October 2013
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Thank KPS92-5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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uk
Level Contributor
59 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 99 helpful votes
“great”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 8, 2013

we were really lucky when visited we saw 2 ships go through we were with a guide and unsure if were going to see any as we were there at 12 and best time is afternoon
it was great to see and the museum was really informative
you must go if you are in panama city

Visited September 2013
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Thank airmiles1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Blenheim, New Zealand
Level Contributor
139 reviews
43 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
“Get there early!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 7, 2013

I went first thing in the morning (opens at 9) and there was a line for the tickets already. To get in for the 'full effect' is $8. I think it was maybe $4 just for the viewing deck although you could get into the museum just by going up a floor instead of going through the main floor.

It was definitely interesting to see how the ships go through and to get a feel of their size in person. The museum was well done and informative with a lot of models in there. There was a 3D movie which I only caught about 5 minutes of, but it was cool. They are building an expansion which they claim will be done in 2014 for the 100 year anniversary but it didn't look to me like much had been accomplished yet.

I would definitely say go if you're in P.C. but it did start to get crowded fast and was hard to get a 'front row' position on the platform to watch the ships. I spent about a hour 1/2 there which was plenty.

Visited October 2013
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Thank hotrodgurl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Miami, Florida
Level Contributor
64 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Great Information and Views”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 7, 2013

The visitor center was very well done and kept my interest reading through everything and the different floors made it so appealing. It kept you from getting bored. I also enjoyed the interactive part of the center. I felt very informed after my visit. The movie was good, except they only showed it in Spanish.

Visited September 2013
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Thank LotusPrins
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
36 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Great experience- Definitely worth the trip”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 6, 2013

After reading many different suggestions about the the Miraflores Locks visitor center I decided to go around 2:00 on a Saturday and I am so glad I did! The timing couldn't have been more perfect. When you arrive you want to buy the "whole" package ticket for $8 instead of the $5 partial This includes the 3D video about the expansion Panama is undertaking and a very brief history of the canal. You will also gain entrance into the museum. The museum has 4 floors of exhibits and by far the best, in my opinion, is the simulator. You actually feel like you are on a ship passing through the locks. I was able to catch the 3:00pm film and go through the museum in an hour, just in time to watch 2 ships go through the locks. Total time spent was about 2 and half hours. Note! If you are taking a taxi ask the fare to your destination before accepting a ride. There are many taxis there at closing (5 pm). I jumped in one and didn't ask...when I got to Casco Viejo I was very surprised at the $15 he wanted to charge (I was told this trip should cost about $5). I gave him $10 and got out- a bit risky I know- but I knew I was being over charged.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
Thank Di K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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