Amusement parks can be hit or miss — especially parks that stretch the theme a bit too thinly. Luckily, the new Hard Rock Park in Myrtle Beach (at 211 George Bishop Parkway) hits many of the right notes.

A small group from the City Paper attended a “sound check” preview of the Hard Rock Park in Myrtle Beach last week. We were quite impressed. The 140-acre park’s handsome layout stretches around a central lake from the reggae-themed beach party area and the imposing Led Zeppelin: The Ride roller coaster, through the British Invasion, Born in the U.S.A., and Cool Country spots.

The intense Zeppelin ride stands 15 stories high, kicks off with a 65 m.p.h. drop, and loops around through six inversions — all to the tune of “Whole Lotta Love.” One the biggest attractions of the park, it will surely become the most popular ride and a must-ride for thrill seekers.

At a more peaceful pace, Nights in White Satin: The Trip is a slow-moving, psychedelic, indoor ride set to the orchestral rock music of the Moody Blues, replete with 3-D glasses (the black-light, fluorescent painted, laser/strobe special effects were cool). Other highlights include the kid-friendly, medium-sized roller coaster Eagles: Life in the Fast Lane, plenty of game rooms, and mini parks aimed at kids: a “punk pit” inflatable bounce room, a splashy Reggae River Falls jungle gym, a laid-back Shake Rattle ‘n’ Roller coaster ride, a musical ice skating show called Country on the Rocks, and the Bohemian Rhapsody Fireworks Show.

The food is surprisingly good. The beer is terribly over-priced. The shops and merch huts are fully stocked with funky souvenirs, T-shirts, hats, mugs, and bric-a-brac. Music plays from mounted speakers at every step along the walkways.

Their spring and summer concert lineup includes a varety of rock, country, and pop acts. For more information, visit or call the office at (843) 236-ROCK (7625). —T. Ballard Lesemann

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