Myrtle Beach Pavilion Amusement Park


Click on any image to see the full-size version.
These were taken on July 29, August 19, and Sept. 16, 2006, except as noted.


MYRTLE BEACH PAVILION AMUSEMENT PARK
Ocean Blvd 8th-9th Ave N

The amusement park rides stretched all the way from Ocean Blvd. to Highway 17. For many years, the park only took up 1/3 of this; it was in the section east of Withers Drive, and the section between Withers and Chester Street was the parking lot. Along that portion of Chester Street was the Joyland Motel, a Space Needle at the corner of Chester and 8th Ave. N., and a dark ride between them.

During the last years I was there, the park had the Corkscrew roller coaster in the southeast corner of the park, and a Galaxi coaster in the middle. By then, the Space Needle and dark ride were gone. In 1992, Chester Street was closed off, and the amusement park expanded into the entire block.

Videos:

Roller Coaster Database entry for Myrtle Beach Pavilion Amusement Park.

This park also once had a Galaxi coaster in the very middle of the park until 1997. This coaster was replaced by the Mad Mouse, the first mouse-style coaster made by Arrow Dynamics, in 6/13/1998. The Corkscrew roller coaster, made by Arrow, was bought from Magic Harbor, a few miles to the south. This coaster was located along the southern side of the park, starting at the 8th Ave. N corner, and operated there from 1978 until 9/06/1999. It was taken apart and sold to a park in Colombia, to make room for the Hurricane Category 5 coaster, which opened in 5/06/2000.

Historical park pictures in the gift shop/park exit on 9th Ave. North side:

 
A busy evening in the park, 60s-70s.

 
Time-lapse picture of the boulevard in front of the amusement park. This pictures shows Sloppy Joe's at the 9th Ave. N corner, the Dodgem bumper cars, and the double ferris-wheels which operated for many years.

 
Pavilion Amusement Park at night, 70s. Shown here is the Galaxi roller coaster which replaced the older Comet Jr. coaster.

Pavilion Amusement Park, card postmarked 1970.
The Galaxi coaster has replaced the "Comet Jr." in the center of the park. Note the new Astro Needle casting a shadow into the parking lot, at bottom. The miniature golf courses have been removed, and a new one built across the street where the original Pavilion buildings once stood.

Pavilion Amusement Park as seen from the Astro Needle, 1980. This shows the Galaxi coaster moved parallel to 9th Ave, the Haunted Inn, Swiss Bobs, and the new ride, the Enterprise, as announced by a banner across the Pavilion. For a much larger and detailed version of this picture, Click here.
Pavilion Amusement Park as seen from the Astro Needle, 1980. As the cabin rotates, the Pavilion, the German Organ building in the middle, and the Cork Screw coaster all come into view.
Thanks to Melvin Brafford for these and other MB pictures!

Park Brochures:
1996: Front - Inside - Large pic inside 2nd fold


The Last Season - 2006

 
Park map, 2006 "Farewell Season"

I don't think any amusement park anywhere had such a dramatic view from a major highway. It was spectacular even way in the distance.


   Log Flume

Original A. Ruth & Sohn organ, built in Waldkirch Baden, Germany in 1900 for the World Exposition in Paris in 1900, where it was a featured attraction. All of the figures and decorations were hand-carved from wood. After the Paris Exposition, it was taken back to Germany where it gave concerts in town after town, pulled on a large wagon pulled by a 6-horse team. In 1920, it was brought to the United States by a wealthy industrialist, remaining on his estate for 30 years. In 1958, the Pavilion acquired the organ, where it played for nearly 50 years. In 2007, it was moved to the Pavilion Nostalgia Park.

The organ runs on compressed air, which was originally supplied by a large hand-driven wheel. The original paint and gilt are still on the organ, which is 20 feet long, 11 feet high, and 7 feet deep. It weighs approx. 2 tons, which includes 400 hundred different pipes, 98 keys, 18 figures- 12 of which move, including 3 harp players, all in rhythm to the music. Others dance and beat drums. The music is composed on cardboard decks with punched holes to play the various instruments and direct the action.


Hurricane Category 5

This is absolutely the roughest roller coaster I've ever ridden. Its thrilling, but you get off of it feeling like you've been assaulted. The hills are nice, but the helixes make the cars feel like they're going to shake themselves to pieces. Apparently, it was working fine when it first opened, but hasn't been maintained as it should. Many people blame the Gerstlauer trains for the rough ride.

This coaster officially opened on May 6, 2000, and is the 4th wooden coaster on Grand Strand, and the tallest, fastest, and longest wooden coaster in South Carolina. It was designed by Dennis McNulty of Custom Coasters International (CCI), one of the premier wooden roller coaster manufacturers in the world, which no longer in business. During the 100 foot drop, it reaches a maximum speed of 55mph, and the entire ride lasts 2 minutes. This ride was constructed at a cost of $6 million.

The Hurricane and other fixed structures were the last parts of the amusement park to be demolished. The last portion of the Hurricane, the lift hill, was pulled down just after 9am, March 23, 2007 as shown in this dramatic video. The Sun News covered it in this 03/23/2007 article.

Rollercoaster Database entry for Hurricane Category 5
Coaster-net Coaster Report for Hurricane Category 5


Later in the day, on August 19th...

Sept. 29, 2006, the day before the Last Ride event, the park is idle:

1912 Herschell-Spillman Carousel - this is a perfectly preserved antique, fully functional.


Haunted Hotel

This haunted house lasted nearly 30 years, starting out as the "Haunted Inn", and undergoing a number of renovations, becoming the Haunted Hotel. This was the last haunted-house style dark ride on the beach, and was torn down in February-March 2007 along with the rest of the structures in the park. Click on the picture for a full page of Haunted House pictures and info.


Treasure Hunt - dark ride with shooting (I scored 980 the very first time I tried it.) This ride by Sally Corp. was originally installed at Broadway at the Beach as "The Den of Lost Thieves".

Wave Swinger, by Zierer

Scooter bumper cars

Mad Mouse coaster by Arrow Dynamics, this is one of 4 such coasters. It opened on June 13, 1998, at a cost of $2 million. RollerCoaster DataBase entry

Rainbow, by Huss

Starship 3000

Calypso

Hydro-Surge


During the 1970s, I had a massive batch of free tickets to ride the rides each summer, and I took full advantage of it. During the time that I actually worked and lived downtown, in the 80s, I didn't ride hardly anything. On August 19, 2006, I decided to get a park pass and ride them again, for the first time in over 25 years. In a very short time, I rode the Hurricane (2 times, recording it the very first time!), Treasure Hunt (3), Mad Mouse, Pirate, Haunted Hotel (3), Super Skooter, and the Starship. It was just like old times.


The Last Ride - Sept. 30, 2006, 3pm - 8pm

This was a special ticket-only event; for several weeks beforehand, sales of the 4000 tickets were brisk at $20 for 3-6, $35 for 7 years old and up. This included free rides during the event, free food and drinks, a band on the Pavilion stage, and a gift poster of the amusement park.

All was quiet in the park on the morning of the Last Ride event:

Time is getting near, a crowd is forming along 9th Ave. North....

Its open now!!!.... The park opened at 3pm, and the crowd quickly flowed into the park, mobbing the gift shop at the 9th Avenue N. entrance.

At the 8pm closing, the lights and rides were unceremoniously turned off, and everyone started walking toward the 9th Ave. entrance, a dark end to 58 continuous years of on the beach. A large souvenir picture of the park was given out to everyone as they went through the exit.


The Demolition

Many of the portable rides were removed from the park very quickly; once that was done, wrecking crews focused primarily on the main Pavilion building, tearing it down through January 2007, and finishing up very soon in February. After that, they turned their attention to structures and fixed rides in the amusement park.

The historic carousel, the German organ, and a handful of other rides were saved, and moved to a new Pavilion Nostalgia Park located at Broadway at the Beach.

The rest of the portable rides were sold; the rest are being demolished, including the Hurricane rollercoaster and the Haunted Hotel dark ride. Tourists going downtown for the 2007 season will be greeted by fenced grassy lots where this historic park once stood.

These pictures were taken on Sunday, March 4th 2007 by Brandon Bade <bbade514@yahoo.com>:
 
Looking at the Little Eagle kiddie coaster/train
 
Ticket booth/souvenier shop complex along 9th Ave. North
 
Last loop of the Log Flume and the edge of the Haunted Hotel
 
Site of the Pavilion building/Magic Attic
 
Park entrance on Ocean Blvd
 
Looking north under the Hurricane coaster on 8th Ave. North
 
From 8th Ave. North looking toward Ripley's
 
What's left of the Hurricane and Hydro Surge

Pictures taken on Sunday, April 1, 2007:

No more spectacular view from the highway:


Final demolition on the foundations- some of which date back to the early 1950s. Pictures taken May 12, 2007:



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