New attractions and theaters greet visitors this summer
It’s a Wonder-filled Life
Located at the site of the former Crab House restaurant at Broadway at the Beach, the $15 million WonderWorks calls itself an “amusement park for the mind.” The concept has been likened to a children’s museum on steroids, but with a full bar, restaurant and indoor/outdoor seating, there’s plenty to keep adults entertained.
The upside down mansion hoisted high in the air is sure to create wonder, but it’s what’s inside that may really astonish visitors: a virtual roller coaster, submarine, a hurricane simulator, a NASA Space Shuttle simulator, laser-tag area, and a multitude of interactive displays all of which aim to entertain and educate.
Parton Hoists the Jolly Roger
Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede is no more, giving way to Dolly Parton’s Pirates Voyage, an $11 million expenditure. The Pirates Voyage, opening June 3, required a major overhaul and new construction at the site of the Dixie Stampede facility, adjacent to the Carolina Opry at U.S. 17 Business and Bypass. The swashbuckling, audience-interactive adventure and dinner show features a predictable and familiar cast of seafaring characters including kings, jesters, ships’ captains, and of course, pirates.
The Sky’s the Limit
The $12 million 187-foot tall SkyWheel will be the largest observation wheel east of the Mississippi River. Located on Ocean Boulevard near 12th Avenue North in Myrtle Beach, the SkyWheel features 42 temperature-controlled, glass-encased gondolas that hold six to eight passengers, and are approved for food and cocktails. The developers hope the 9- to 12-minute sightseeing ride becomes a popular year-round attraction. A new Jimmy Buffett themed restaurant is at its base.
Break A Leg
While adventure attractions will always be a part of the beach experience, theaters continue to provide a popular form of entertainment, and 2011 promises new options. Joining the stalwart Palace Theatre, Medieval Times, Carolina Opry, Alabama Theater and the House Of Blues are a few new faces. See page 32 for news about Legends in Concert and the new Celebration Music Theatre.
When the large freestanding nightclub, Club Kryptonite, at Broadway at the Beach, closed, it presented an opportunity for Legends in Concert to move from its original home to this newer facility–one primed for a re-imagining.
The $1 million-plus renovation includes an intimate 600-seat house, with oversized “cushy” seats and “ample legroom,” according to Legends’ management, along with a large stage and plenty of room for the live band. Big screens flank the walls for live-action close-ups.
Tried-and-true favorites have returned to Legends, which opened in March, including a young rockabilly Elvis, and performers emulating Little Richard, The Blues Brothers, Dolly Parton, Michael Jackson, and others.
Celebration Music Theatre is the newest theater on the Strand and moved into the property formerly housing Legends in Concert in Surfside Beach. It opened Feb 28 and the producers are staging an all-new tribute show, similar in format to other tribute productions, but have also added plays and musicals to its schedule, including A Broadway Celebration opening April 28.
Fun For All, and All For Fun
With an improving economy and sunny skies hoped for, city leaders and those in the amusement and entertainment industries seem secure in their plans to open state-of-the-art family attractions. The nearly $40 million spent on these attractions (including the $6 million Myrtle Beach Boardwalk) speaks volumes about their confidence in decades of visitation from sun worshipers and ticket buyers alike.