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Attraction Action in Myrtle Beach, SC
Photo of small girl on a teacup ride goes here.Attraction Action

in Myrtle Beach! 

Photo of Margaritaville goes here. 

The Broadway at the Beach dining, shopping and entertainment complex (which includes Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville shown above left*) is one of the most popular tourism attractions in Myrtle Beach. New at this complex is the Pavilion Nostalgia Park, where kids and parents alike enjoy old-fashioned family amusement rides like the tea cups (above right*).

By Susan J. Young

Myrtle Beach is a lot more than just one beach. Actually, the South Carolina destination spreads out along a 60-mile stretch of beach that encompasses 12 different cities with 90,000 hotel rooms, dozens of golf courses and multiple dining and entertainment options.

It’s also expanding – and fast. I traveled to the "Grand Strand" (as it's also called) last year for the annual Travel South conference for travel and tourism suppliers across the South. It was a whirlwind visit, but a rewarding one.

Here's a sampling of what we learned about this family-friendly resort destination, including some of the "what's new" detail for 2008.

Logo of Hard Rock Park goes here.Attraction Action

Rockers unite! A new $425 million Hard Rock Park, the first major U.S. theme park to be built in a decade, will open this May in Myrtle Beach. showcasing rides and attractions.

Drawing of Hard Rock Park Backstage Tour facility goes here.While the 140-acre musically themed park with 40 attractions isn’t open yet, you can get a taste of what’s planned by visiting the 7,000-square-foot Hard Rock Park “Backstage Tour."
This preview center (see photo at left*) features  six interactive rooms and sensory or simulator experiences. Backstage Tour is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  What’s to see?
Photo of Led Zeppelin roller coaster under construction goes here.You’ll eyeball a model of “Led Zeppelin – the Ride,” the park’s signature roller coaster.
Boasting 3,738 feet of track and six inversions, that thrill ride is already built within the park (see photo at right*) and now testing is under way. 
At its highest point, the coaster towers 15 stories above the ground. Rock fans will surely love this one, as the entire coaster experience will be timed to Led Zeppelin’s hit “Whole Lotta Love.”

Just announced last fall, the Hark Rock Park will also feature “Nights in White Satin – The Trip.” This ride is being launched in a unique partnership with the Moody Blues rock group.

In fact, the band’s rock masterpiece “Nights in White Satin” will be re-orchestrated for the park by Justin Hayward, who originally wrote and composed the song more than 40 years ago. The park describes the new ride as a dark, dreamy, immersive ride.

Photo of Hard Rock Live! concert venue goes here.As with other theme parks around the South, the new Hard Rock Park will feature multiple themed areas.

It will boast a massive "Hard Rock Live!"  amphitheater (see photo at left*) with state-of-the-art sound system. The park will also field children’s play areas; restaurants; and retail shops.

You can, in fact, buy tickets right now. Advance ticket purchases -- $50 per person for ages 4 and up – may be made online at www.hardrockpark.com. That's also a great site for viewing photos of the construction progress. And it provides directions to the preview center.

Amusements Galore

Photo of park entry with carousel goes here.

The new Pavilion Nostalgia Park at Broadway at the Beach features an old-fashioned carousel and a host of other family-friendly rides.*

If you traveled to Myrtle Beach in past decades, you likely remember the traditional amusement rides and experiences at the Myrtle Beach Pavilion Amusement Park.

Those were the good ole days of corn dogs, funnel cakes and a host of simplistic rides.

Photo of pirate ride goes here.While the park closed in 2006 after 58 years of operation, some of that historic park’s most popular older rides and artifacts now have a new home.

You'll find them at “Pavilion Nostalgia Park"located at the Broadway at the Beach dining, shopping and entertainment complex.

Open year-round, Pavilion Nostalgia Park features rides, arcade games, carnival food, and a museum. Two highlights are the 1912-era Herschell-Spillman Carousel and a historic German Baden Band Organ, first exhibited at the World Exposition in Paris in 1900.

At presstime, ride tickets were $3 apiece, or a bundle of nine ride tickets for $20 or 25 ride tickets for $50. Visit www.mbpavilion.com

Broadway in Coastal SC

Photo of Broadway at the Beach goes here.

Visitors enjoy the boardwalks, shops, attractions and nightclubs of Broadway at the Beach.*

Speaking of Broadway at the Beach, it’s “the place” to be in Myrtle Beach. It boasts 100 specialty shops, 20 restaurants, 15 attractions, 10 nightclubs and three on-site hotels.

Photo of entrance to Broadway at the Beach goes here.Visitors enjoy four distinctive styles of architecture: New England Village, Caribbean Village, Charleston Boardwalk and Heroes’ Harbor.

The boardwalks which crisscross and surround the complex's central lake are popular with visitors who arrive to simply meander and "people watch." Or, you might enjoy a water taxi ride across the lake

Photo of Ripley's Aquarium goes here.



One of the center’s most visited attractions is the family-focused Ripley’s Aquarium (shown at right*).

Don't miss the aquarium's lower-level "moving walkway" tunnel. You stand and gaze upward, as the walkway moves you along, and fish, rays and sharks swim around and above you. 

Photo of Pirate exhibit entrance goes here.In addition to a wealth of marine exhibits and dive shows, the aquarium is tapping into the public’s continued fascination with the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie phenomena.

The aquarium’s popular “Pirates” exhibit (its entrance is shown at left*) – introduced last year -- runs through March 2008.

General admission for Ripley’s Aquarium, including access to the dive shows, marine science presentations and special exhibition hall is $17.99 for those 12 and older, $9.99 for children 5-11, and $3.99 for kids 2-4. Younger kids are admitted free. Visit www.ripleysaquarium.com. 

A New Shopping Option

For shoppers, a new Market Common mixed-use residential and retail development will open this spring on the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base.

Visitors will enjoy six restaurants, 50 retail stores, a 16-screen movie theater and an upscale grocery store.

Tenants will include P.F. Chang’s China Bistro (South Carolina’s first), Claddagh Irish Pub, Orvis outdoor store, Tommy Bahama, Chico’s, Banana Republic, Coldwater Creek, Anthropologie, Copper Penny, Gordon Biersch Brewery, and White House/Black Market.

Murrell's Inlet: The Natural SpotPhoto of Murrell's Inlet walkway goes here.

Photo of Murrell's Inlet restaurant goes here.   








Nature lovers who may need a respite from Myrtle Beach’s razzle-dazzle attractions, shows and commercial establishments should just head south. Take time for lunch or dinner and a stroll along the waterway at the Murrell’s Inlet; a boardwalk-like path hugs the water and signs point out natural highlights.

Photo of a pelican snoozing on a canal post goes here.Murrell's Inlet is a much quieter spot than Myrtle Beach, and it features pristine views of coastal scenery and wildlife; we viewed pelicans (see photo at right*) snoozing or resting on the channel posts adjacent to the boardwalk.   

Just a short drive away is Brookgreen Gardens, a 9,000-acre National Historic Landmark. 

Founded in 1931, this is a "must see" attraction -- a magnificent, lush combination of flowers, trees, natural areas and sculpture. Photo of Brookgreen Gardens' sculpture goes here.


Brookgreen's Huntington Sculpture Garden boasts more than 1,200 dramatic works in 35 acres of garden and landscape settings.

It’s a cerebral experience combining art and nature.

Photo of sculpture goes here.





And Brookgreen Gardens has a superb Lowcountry History and Wildlife Preserve.

Here you might meander along the attraction's nature trail and spot archaeological ruins of an 1800s rice plantation.

Photo of scenic landscape at Brookgreen goes here.Brookgreen's on-site Center for American Sculpture is a place for research and classes; it’s generally not open to the public but available for private tours.

Admission to Brookgreen is valid for seven days; so visit the sculpture gardens one day, and return for the nature trail another.  

This attraction is an affordable option for families.  Tickets are $12 for adults 19-64, $10 for young adults (13-18) and seniors (65 and over); $5 for kids 6-12. Younger kids are admitted free. Visit www.brookgreen.org

For More Information

From the annual Grand Strand Fishing Rodeo (April 1 to Oct. 31) to the Sun-Fun Festival (June 5-9) and the Beach, Boogie and BBQ Festival (Aug. 29-30), Myrtle Beach delivers a wealth of fun activities and events.

Planning to visit? To plan your visit, check out this helpful events calendar: www.grandstrandevents.com.

Don’t leave the destination without seeing a full-scale production show. Since 1986, when Calvin Gilmore first brought year-round live theater to Myrtle Beach, the area has emerged as a hotspot for live family entertainment – offering the best in shows, music, dance, comedy, dinner theater, celebrity concerts, and movies.

For theater and show information, as well as details about golf, fishing, other attractions, beach activities and lodging, contact: 

The Myrtle Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, a division of the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce


*Photos are owned, copyrighted and used courtesy of Susan J. Young or Myrtle Beach area visitor attractions. All rights reserved. Please do not link to nor copy these photos. Thank you.


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