“Hey mom, have you ever heard of a band called Led Zeppelin? They’re pretty good,” stated my son as a middle-schooler expanding his musical tastes. And what could have better entertainment value than combining rock with theme park rides? Led Zeppelin, the Stones, Bruce Springsteen, the Eagles, Bob Marley, and the Moody Blues are just a few of the classic bands celebrated at the only Hard Rock Park, located in Myrtle Beach, S.C. It’s sure to be a hit with your kids and you just might have a great time yourself.
On a recent July visit, as I entered the gate to Hard Rock Park, a pair of English Guards, like the type at Buckingham Palace, were posing for pictures. Only this pair of guards was female and wearing the shortest and tightest uniform and highest pair of black boots I have ever seen. Lots of guys were happily having their picture taken with the guards using the impressive Hard Rock gate as a background. Helpful Hard Rock staffers are on hand throughout the park to snap photos so you can be sure to have your entire family included in the picture. Hard Rock Park covers 55 acres and features a lot of live acts, mostly music but some other performances too.
There are 11 venues for performances ranging from diners to a 10,000 seat amphitheatre. To make the most of your visit the first thing to do is grab a park map which doubles as an entertainment schedule on the back (performance times are also provided online). There seem to be more performances later in the day but there are always a few acts going on, and frequently up to five different acts performing at the same time. I strolled into Amp’d Coffee for refreshments and talked to one of the baristas there who told me all of his favorite acts so I could pick the ones I wanted to make sure to see. Throughout the entire visit, the one consistent thing was the friendly and helpful staff members.
Following on the success of Hard Rock Café, $400 million has been invested into the theme park counting on the popularity of rock music. The Origins Theater near the entrance to the park, plays a 12 minute video recounting the history of Rock and Roll (did you know that Elvis won second place in a state fair singing competition at the age of eight?) and the Hard Rock Café. It’s an interesting video and well worth watching. You’ll even find out how the memorabilia collecting got started.
The park is divided into six “rock environs:” All Access Entry Plaza, Rock & Roll Heaven, British Invasion, Lost in the 70’s, Born in the USA and Cool Country. There are five roller coasters, one in almost every environ, including the one-of-a-kind Maximum RPM!, which takes riders on a ferris wheel/roller coaster ride in a Mini. No kidding. This is the only line I saw the entire time I was in the park. Coaster fans will not
I have to admit a fondness for the British Invasion section. It seemed like everyone was having fun. In the evening, the duo called Fab 2 climbed on top of a red British bus and played some great music. The London Cab ride looks vaguely familiar with those crazy tea cup rides, but believe me, tea cups have never spinned like those cabs do. Then there is Nights in White Satin – The Trip, a roller coaster ride in the dark.
There are two sections kids, especially elementary through middle school age at least, will enjoy. One is the Reggae River Falls, which is basically a gigantic playground with water added. Water pours on your head, shoots at your feet and allows for slip-sliding all around. Bathing suits, or at least a change into dry clothes, will be called for. The other place to get totally soaked is Slippery When Wet, another playground surrounded by water and a roller coaster. Anyone can grab a big water gun and try to drench riders on the roller coaster.
The other fun and unique kid’s section is Kid’s Rock State Park. Kid’s Rock includes a climbing wall, climbing ropes and a high ropes course complete with plenty of staff to help, encourage and keep kids safe. Dare-devils will love it and parents will be able to relax knowing that their kids are burning energy and pushing their physical boundaries all under the watchful eye of Hard Rock staff. Harnesses and hard hats are required to participate in most of
Kid’s Rock State Park.
Then there are little surprises, kite flying off the back of a jet ski, bathroom mirrors with a 2-second delay of your image, talking statues, and the Heavy Metal Graveyard full of unique statuary. Food is readily available and there are plenty of opportunities to buy memorabilia.
Hard Rock Park combines our favorite rock music with a mixture of imaginative and old stand-by favorite theme park amusements. If you get the chance to go to Myrtle Beach, don’t miss Hard Rock Park.
If live concerts are really your thing, go online to find out who is playing so you can plan your visit accordingly. KC and the Sunshine is scheduled for August 30th. Hard Rock Park officially opened in June and isn’t to park capacity. Go now before it gets too popular.
Hard Rock Park, Myrtle Beach, SC
Hard Rock Park has tried to provide something for all ages, although kids who appreciate rock music will have a blast and kids who like running, climbing and participating in activities will get the most out of the park. Not great for the stroller set.
Generally $50 per person but go online for frequently offered special deals and pre-purchased tickets.
Food is available all over the park. Restrooms are easy to find too.
By Donna Jefferson