MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Millions of tourists flock to the Grand Strand each year, and as the summer season inches closer, WMBF News is taking a closer look at some of the biggest attractions soon to open.
The first stop on the tour of newest attractions is the Skywheel. It doesn't look like much just yet, but all the drilling and digging will soon be more than just dreaming to David Busker.
Busker is president of Koch Development, the company behind the $12 million Skywheel project.
It's the first one of its kind in the United States, and of all the places in the country, they chose Myrtle Beach because of the city's promising tourism future as well as the their efforts to improve the downtown area.
"The investments that the city has made in the downtown area, the beachfront, the boardwalk, it has enough foot traffic, and critical mass to make an attraction like this successful," explained Busker.
When the Skywheel is complete, it will rise 200 feet into the Myrtle Beach skyline, giving passengers a full view of the strand below.
Forty-two enclosed gondolas will take people three times around the wheel, for about 10 minutes. One trip on the Skywheel will run about $12 dollars for adults and $8 dollars for children.
Busker says you can plan on this attraction opening on Memorial Day weekend.
Just below the Skywheel is yet another first. Koch Development is partnering with Margaritaville Enterprises for the first-ever Landshark Beachfront Bar and Grill. It's a new concept in the Jimmy Buffett line.
Busker says the Landshark will be a lot smaller, and more casual than the Margaritaville restaurant at Broadway at the Beach, more like the laid-back, beach lifestyle often associated with the Buffett name.
The next stop on the behind-the-scenes tour is something many people have seen driving down 17 Bypass and wondered – what is going on there?
General Manager Robert Stinnett says the number one question he gets is "what is it?"
It's the new Wonderworks attraction at Broadway at the Beach. It's a leaning, upside-down building, that's meant to catch people's attention.
"We like to say it's an amusement park for your mind," explained Stinnett.
What is just concrete and steel now, will soon be lined with over 100 hands-on exhibits, and all sorts of interactive games and mind puzzles.
"It's just a lot of neat stuff, and things you just can't do anywhere else," Stinnett said.
Expect to see everything from an earthquake simulator, to a bubble room. There will even be lazer tag and an indoor ropes course.
This attraction is set to open in March. Ticket prices will be about $20 dollars.
The next attraction is a new twist on an old favorite in Myrtle Beach - Legends in Concert.
Legends has been a staple on the strand for the past 15 years, and this year – it's packed up and moved next to Broadway at the Beach, taking over the old Club Kryptonite building.
Brian Brigner of On Stage Entertainment says to expect the same quality Legends performances, with new talent, and new production technologies.
"This building is going to allow us to take our production value to another level especially on the multi-media side," said Brigner. "We're going to have some things that people have never seen in this town."
The new building is a bit smaller, providing a more intimate setting for the performances.
"It's going to be an upgraded product," said Brigner. The opening day for this new theater is March 11.
These are only a few of the biggest, and most anticipated attractions in the Myrtle Beach area.
Also keep an eye out for the new Pirates Voyage soon to open in place of the Dixie Stampede and the Pat Boone Theater going in at the old Nascar Grille.
There will be a lot to visit and enjoy for everyone, from first-time visitors to locals who have been here for decades. This summer in Myrtle Beach, a lot of things are growing on the Grand Strand.