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Hard Rock Park

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Hard Rock Park

A giant Gibson Les Paul guitar serves as the central icon at Hard Rock Park.

Arthur Levine 2008. Licensed to About.com.

Special Note- Park Closed in 2010:

After a truncated opening season in 2008, Hard Rock Park filed for bankruptcy. The Hard Rock Park reopened in 2009 as Freestyle Music Park. Freestyle Music Park closed at the end of the 2009 season and did not reopen. The information below is about the original park when it was open.

Read more about the re-branded park in an interview with the president of Freestyle Music Park.

Freestyle Music Park Overview

Hard Rock Park bankruptcy News briefs:

Location:

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Airport Info:

The Myrtle Beach International Airport is minutes away from Hard Rock Park.

Directions

From Charleston: US-17 N. Merge onto US-501 N. In Myrtle Beach, take the Waccamaw Blvd. ramp. Left onto Waccamaw Blvd., left onto River Oaks Dr.

From Wilmington: US-17 S. Merge onto SC-9 toward SC-31. US-31 ramp to US-31 S. Merge onto US-501 S. Take the George Bishop Parkway/River Oaks ramp to George Bishop Parkway.

Other Hard Rock Park Info:

Hard Rock Park Features:

Music-themed rides and attractions, including the signature dark ride, Nights in White Satin- The Trip, and coasters such as:
  • Led Zeppelin- The Ride
    World-class thrill ride with a wild Led Zeppelin overlay
  • Eagles Life in the Fast Lane
    Mine train-style family coaster
  • Maximum RPM!
    Prototype wheel-lift coaster
  • Slippery When Wet
    Inverted coaster with onboard water cannons
Plus, shows such as the Bohemian Rhapsody nighttime pyrotechnics display and the wonderful Country on the Rocks ice show, lots of live music including an amphitheater for major concerts, plenty of rock memorabilia, and retail stores.

Hard Rock Park Dining:

Lots of choices, with generally decent food, including:
  • Alice's Restaurant
    The park's full-service eatery features Thanksgiving dinner and clam chowder
  • Taste of Paradise Grill
    Tropical island fare
  • The Whammy Bar
    Biker-themed pub with appetizers
  • Carnaby Street Cafe
    British specialties such as bangers with mash
Food prices are reasonable for theme park dining. Beer and alcohol prices, on the other hand, are high.

Oddly, there is no Hard Rock Cafe at the park. However, there is a Myrtle Beach Hard Rock Cafe, in a distinctive pyramid building, at the nearby Broadway at the Beach complex.

Official Web Site:

Hard Rock Park

Hard Rock Park Overview

The 55-acre, $400-million Hard Rock Park is the first park themed to rock music. It offers rock-influenced attractions, along with lots of rock 'n' roll memorabilia, shows, live music, restaurants, shops, and an amphitheater that presents concerts. The park features six zones:
  • All Access Entry Plaza What would a Hard Rock Park be without retail shops? This is the place to make impulse purchases on the way in and out of the park.

  • Cool Country It's only natural that a park in the South--even one that's focused on rock and roll--would tip its cowboy hat to country-rock music.

  • Rock & Roll Heaven This area is dedicated to Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, and other rock legends who are no longer cranking it up to 11. Curiously, it includes a reggae-themed interactive water play structure and a Malibu Beach Party diving and stunt show.

  • British Invasion The Beatles, Stones, Who, and more modern-day UK artists get their due here. This is the most lavishly themed area of the park.

  • Lost in the 70s An indoor area that uses the decade's dubious mix of disco, punk, and glam music as its backdrop. This is the least lavishly themed area of the park.
  • Born in the USA celebrates US-bred rockers (who are presumably not dead, didn't record in the 70s, and have nothing to do with country music).

    It doesn't have the squeaky-clean persona, highly immersive environments, or blockbuster E-ticket attractions of a Disney park (although Nights in White Satin- The Trip is near-Disney quality--and quite trippy). Nor does it have a Six Flags-worthy arsenal of thrill machines (although the 150-foot tall, 65-mph Led Zeppelin coaster more than holds its own among white knuckle rides). But the Hard Rock Park does have a compelling theme that it has cleverly exploited to create an engaging, fun experience.

    Music is everywhere: in the background throughout each land, providing the inspiration for every ride, performed live on multiple stages, and piped into the restaurants. The music even follows guests into the park's bathrooms.

    The level of detail is often astonishing. For example, the original version of a song, say "Purple Haze," that's playing along the walkways in the Rock & Roll Heaven area seamlessly morphs into a note-for-note calypso version of the tune as guests approach the Reggae River Falls attraction. Those kinds of moments, along with the park's considerable whimsy (i.e. an Elvis-looking cow statue makes small talk with onlookers before spraying them with his udders) and innocuous irreverence (the neon in the Great Meals Diner sign is conveniently broken to read "Eat Me") set an infectiously upbeat tone and can't help but generate smiles.

    Rock music, which ironically once served as a generation-defining clarion call, now bridges generations and serves as an ideal point of reference to connect the park with its broad range of guests. Having said that, is the Hard Rock Park for everyone?

    Don't let the "Hard Rock" tag throw you. Like the Hard Rock Cafes, the park features many music genres, with an emphasis on age-spanning classic rock. Unlike the cafes however, the music is not ear-splitting, so families and older guests can maintain their sanity--and their hearing. With the shows, live music, and cool vibe, coaster-averse visitors should find enough to do. It would be nice if the park had more attractions like the Moody Blues ride, however. Parents may balk at paying full price for young children; the activities geared for kids under 36 inches might not justify the cost.

    I know: It's only rock & roll. But nearly everyone likes it. And nearly everyone will get a kick out of Hard Rock Park.

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