New thrills are coming to Myrtle Beach in 2021.
The FunPlex Myrtle Beach will transform a parking lot into a tropical-themed park. Slated for 14th Avenue between Withers Drive and Ocean Avenue, FunPlex will feature seven rides. The Myrtle Beach Community Appearance Board approved rezoning the site as an amusement zone in June 2020. The park should open in spring 2021.
Palm trees will line the park, which will include a walk-up bar and restaurant.
The park will be the latest endeavor from The Funplex Amusement Centers of East Hanover and Mount Laurel, N.J. The Lahn family, owners of the company, first opened a park in New Jersey 23 years ago.
“We are excited to bring the Funplex brand of fun to Myrtle Beach,” Funplex CEO Brian Williams told Coaster101.com in June. “We … have developed our parks in a thoughtful and deliberate way ever since. The Funplex Myrtle Beach will offer a big punch in a compact footprint.”
The rollercoasters will bring an exciting twist to the park, built for both families and thrill-seekers.
Highlights of the top rides:
The park’s featured ride will reach heights of more than 50 feet. It’ll be the tallest interactive 360-degree jet simulator around.
Fun in the Sun
This big-air coaster will run on a track encircling the park’s circumference. It’ll feature a hamster wheel-style seat – two free-spinning seats in a circle – an exhilarating twist to an already captivating ride.
“We thought having a different action with the hamster-wheel cars would be a difference-maker,” Williams said. “We try to find and add unique attractions to our parks from small to large and we think this roller coaster is a great addition.”
Drop and Twist
It’s a 65-foot tower with astonishing ocean views.
All rides are from the Visa/SBF Group, an Italian rides and roller coaster design company.
The Park Will Have Food and Drinks, too
The yet-unnamed bar and restaurant will serve signature food and drink on two sides right on the beach. It will offer, among other things:
- Custom frozen drinks
- Domestic and local draft beers
- Traditional bar-food options
Williams said getting all they hoped to into that plot presented a challenge.
“We had at least five different versions of the layout with different rides in the mix,” he told Coaster.101.com. “What we ended up with is seven rides that reach different age ranges and thrill levels.”
Randy Lahn is the owner of Funplex Amusement Centers. He says Myrtle Beach has been on the company’s radar for years.
“I’m happy to see it come to fruition,” Lahn told Coaster101.com. “We have been fortunate to provide families a place to eat, ride, splash, and play for years and we are thrilled to open another location for families to make memories.”
Myrtle Beach will be the third Funplex location and the first outside of New Jersey. Features of the complex will include:
FunPerx: Members get a point for every dollar they spend at FunPlex, and a $10 bonus credit for every 100 points. They’ll also receive notices about new events and exclusive offers.
Parties and events: FunPlex locations have the capacity to host events, depending on local regulations regarding the coronavirus pandemic.
The Myrtle Beach location will have a different layout, content, and feel as compared to established complexes in New Jersey. FunPlex will develop a smaller, more outdoor-centric facility than the New Jersey locations.
Williams told Coaster101.com an outdoor model made more sense for Myrtle Beach financially. Plus, the Grand Strand would have more seasonable weather months to operate an outdoor park. The company favored a fully-outdoor park to maximize the footprint, Williams said.
Can Another Park Work on the Grand Strand?
Myrtle Beach is home to several successful amusement parks – such as Family Kingdom Amusement Park, Myrtle Waves Water Park, and WonderWorks Myrtle Beach – but has also seen amusement parks come and go.
The iconic, 11-acre Pavilion Park gave way to redevelopment in 2007. Hard Rock Cafe launched an unsuccessful amusement park in 2008, not making it through a single season. Even with new management and a reopening as Freestyle Music Park, it closed in 2009.
Those examples aren’t concerning to FunPlex, Williams said, citing their lack of sustainability.
“What we are doing is a smaller investment that we are comfortable making in a better location,” Williams said.
Many Myrtle Beach visitors engrain their getaways in tradition and habit – they’ll stay at the same resorts, visit the same attractions and eat in the same restaurants every time. FunPlex owners hope to become part of those customary plans for vacationers and locals.
“With the level of attractions and the way we will operate the park I am confident that once a guest comes to the Funplex they will create new traditions with us in their plans each year,” Williams told Coaster101.com.