I confess, I'm not usually excited about visiting huge tourist attractions but the Panama Canal proved the exception for me. Everybody heads to the site whenever they touch down in Panama and now I understand why. Viewing one of the most difficult engineering feats ever established is an awesome sight up close. The experience begins with a stop by the Miraflores Visitors Center, which supplies four floors of extensive history and interactive displays about the Panama Canal.
Miraflores Locks is the tallest of the three sets of Panama Canal Locks, measuring over a mile long.The Panama Canal unfolds for 48 miles between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans so you can only view a portion of it at Miraflores Locks but it's still a jaw-dropping sight. Looking down from the observation deck, I witnessed a ship enter the waterway.
Gatun Lake forms part of the Panama Canal, carrying ships across the Isthmus of Panama. I watched as the canal gates gradually opened and closed for the massive cruise ship.
I stared as the ship was raised 87 feet above sea level, all through gravity. The passengers waved as they glided through the canal and I stood amazed at the spectacle I had been lucky enough to observe. The mechanics of the canal are intricately explained at the visitor center but all I remember is the image of that sprawling ship being gently raised and guided through the canal's passage, like it was a toy boat.