Our good friends from New Mexico came down to spend a week with us and see why we were so excited to go to Panama.
So, one of the places they wanted to see, was the Panama Canal. We boarded our little coaster bus to the main road (30¢) and caught the bus into Panama City and Albrook Mall. ($2.50)
From there, we went through the mall and got a ticket for the Hop-On, Hop Off tour bus. It’s $30 a head but you can hop on and off for 24 hours.
We enjoyed the tour until we got to the Miraflores Locks Visitor Center. We got off the bus and bought our tickets for the locks.
Once inside we went right to the theater and watched the 10 minute movie on building the locks. It has early history and even later history including what led to the American turn over of the locks to Panama. Once the film was over, we went into the museum. The museum has four floors and includes exhibits about building the canal up to and including the new canal expansion project.
There were displays on the different wildlife that can be found in the area.
There were displays of the lock control room…
And even a chance to “pilot ” a ship through the locks…
Info and pictures about the expansion…
It’s a very informative and well done museum. Once we were done with the museum, it was time to head out to the viewing decks and see the locks and hopefully a ship going through the locks in person.
You can view the locks from 3 locations. The top floor of the museum, which has a snack bar, the second floor, which has a full restaurant, or the ground floor. We decided to check out the restaurant on the second floor since we had a bit of time to kill before the next ship came through. At the time of this writing, ships DON’T go through the locks between 10am and 2pm. Turns out, there is a very nice restaurant on the second level. It was a buffet ($37.00 per person) the day we were there and the outside seating was by reservation only. However, inside seating was open. So we ate from the buffet and then we saw the first ship coming toward the locks
We watched as it drew closer and they lined it up with the channel…
Just a tip here, you can reserve seating outside to watch the ships go through the canal, but if you do, those of us who are eating inside will just come out and crowd the rail anyway.
My wife and I loved coming here because it was just a year and a half ago that we were viewing the visitor center from the deck of a ship
Without that cruise, we wouldn’t have known what a beautiful country Panama is, and we might not have decided to come here at all.