Some of the fondest summer and fall vacation memories are made on the roller coasters, waterslides and go-kart tracks of Myrtle Beach, but there’s only one place on the Grand Strand where you can experience all three thrills in one place – Family Kingdom. The seaside complex includes an amusement park, a water park and go-kart tracks, offering fun and games for the whole family.
Located in the heart of downtown Myrtle Beach, about a half-mile south of Bay View on the Boardwalk, Family Kingdom features three parks in one. Splashes Oceanfront Water Park gives visitors the chance to ride twisting, towering waterslides overlooking the beach, along with a lazy river, kiddie splash pad and other aquatic attractions. Family Kingdom’s amusement park has 35 rides, and the two racetracks provide the perfect proving grounds for some friendly competition.
Of course, the top attractions are the roller coasters and thrill rides, and Family Kingdom has a nice mix of new-age coasters and traditional rides that will bring back memories for longtime visitors. The centerpiece is the Swamp Fox, an old-school wooden coaster that recently celebrated its 50th birthday. Featuring more than 2,400 feet of wooden track that makes that vintage “clickety-clack” sound, the Swamp Fox provides gut-wrenching drops and beautiful ocean views.
Family Kingdom also boasts some notable new rides, including the popular Sling Shot, which sends passengers on a 100-foot free fall. The Twist ‘n Shout coaster, the Thunderbolt and the Yo-Yo are also among the latest scream machines at Family Kingdom, and the classic carnival rides such as the Tilt-A-Whirl, the Scrambler, the Galleon, the Hurricane, the Log Flume Water Ride and the Bumper Cars continue to keep old and new generations of thrill-seekers lining up for more.
Speaking of water rides and bumper cars, Family Kingdom offers opportunities to indulge in both wet and wild activities. Splashes Water Park, which is open through Labor Day weekend, is located just across Ocean Boulevard from the main Family Kingdom property. For an additional fee, patrons can purchase combination passes for both venues to enjoy the water park by day and the amusement park by night. Lockers and changing facilities are available for those visiting both parks.
Patrons with the need for speed can get their fix at Family Kingdom’s two racetracks – the Oval and the Figure 8. The Oval provides NASCAR-style, short-track racing as drivers try to work their way to the front of the pack, while the Figure 8 layout simulates a more open-wheel, road-racing format with tight turns, two loops and an elevated overpass. The go-karts accommodate one or two passengers, so drivers can go solo around the Oval or take the kids for a spin around the Figure 8.
Small children and adults who prefer life in the slow lane also have plenty of amusement rides to choose from, like the Antique Cars, Berry-Go-Round, Carousel, Ferris Wheel, Kite Flyer and Train ride. For the little ones, the Canoes and Wet Boats water rides, the Frog Hopper bouncy ride, the Flight School and Red Baron airplane rides, the miniature Big Trucks ride, the Kiddie Coaster, the Kiddie Speedway, the Kiddie Swing, the Kiddie Ferris Wheel and the Mini-Enterprise.
Best of all, there’s no admission fee required to enter the parks. Family Kingdom guests may purchase wristbands for all-day, unlimited usage; a la carte, per-ride tickets; or simply tag along to hang out with the young and the young at heart. Wristbands are available for purchase at $27.95 per person, and you can add all-day water park admission for $9.95 more. Water park-only admission is $19.95, and children under 2 are admitted free to the water park with a paid adult.