Located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Family Kingdom Amusement Park is an amusement and water park located within the city’s Ocean Boulevard tourist district, featuring thrill and family rides for visitors of all ages. Family Kingdom Amusement Park opened to the public in 1966 under the name Grand Strand Amusement Park.
The 13-acre park encompassed land along the banks of Withers Swash, which previously belonged to Robert Francis Withers, a 16th-century indigo plantation operator. As a major family amusement center along Myrtle Beach’s Ocean Boulevard tourist district, the park operated independently until 1992, when it was purchased by prominent Ocean Boulevard developers the Ammons family. After its acquisition by the Ammons, the park was renamed Family Kingdom Amusement Park and redeveloped to include a number of new thrill and family rides, including the incorporation of the nearby former Wild Rapids water park, originally opened in 1977. In 2016, the park’s classic Swamp Fox roller coaster was declared a historic structure by American Coaster Enthusiasts in honor of its 50th anniversary of operation, and the following year, the coaster received a similar historic designation from the city of Myrtle Beach.
Today, Family Kingdom Amusement Park is operated as one of the last remaining free-admission theme parks in the United States, offering independent purchase of ride tickets and all-day ride wristbands throughout the park after entrance. The park’s operating season runs from April through October, with limited operation hours offered for water rides throughout the early and late parts of the season. Water park admission wristbands and combination passes to enter both parks are also offered.
More than 35 amusement rides are located throughout the park, offering high, mild, and family-friendly thrills for visitors of all ages. The park is best known for its Swamp Fox wooden roller coaster, which has operated since its opening in 1966. The 2,400-foot-long coaster features a figure-eight configuration on a track overlooking the nearby Atlantic Ocean and has been ranked as one of the best hidden-gem wooden coasters in the country by websites such as About.com and TripAdvisor. Other high-thrill rides at the park include the Sling Shot drop tower, the Twist’n Shout mouse coaster, a Giant Wheel, and the O.D. Hopkins Log Flume water ride.
Families may enjoy a number of classic midway-style rides, including a classic Carousel, originally building by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1923. The park’s Pistolero Round-up laser target ride was the first of its type installed in an American theme park and remains a staple at theme parks across the country today due to its popularity. Other classic midway rides for riders of all ages include the Galleon pirate ship, the Hurricane and Thunderbolt spinning rides, and the Kite Flyer parasailing ride. A variety of children’s rides are offered, including a Berry-Go-Round teacup ride, a family-friendly Train, a Bumper Boats course, and a miniature coaster and Ferris wheel. Two go-kart tracks, a figure-eight technique track and an oval track allowing speeds of up to 17 miles per hour, are also offered.
At the park’s Splashes Oceanfront Water Park, originally opened in 1977 as Wild Rapids, two acres of water attractions are offered overlooking the Atlantic Ocean coast. Eighteen separate water attractions are included with admission to the park, including three high-speed water flumes with drops of over 100 feet. High-speed and intermediate-thrill water slides are also offered, including two high-speed and two enclosed-body slides. A 425-foot lazy river ride allows for relaxation, and a children’s area offers safe play opportunities for younger visitors, including kiddie slides, rain trees, and a children’s pool with a waterfall area.
Ongoing Programs and Events
Free daily strolling entertainment is presented at the park throughout the operating season, including magicians, clowns, and balloon artists. Group admission discounts are available for groups of 24 or more, including all-day wristbands and combination passes for both parks. Extended park hours and park rentals are available for large groups hosting private special events. A centrally-located picnic pavilion is also available for private rental, offering seating for up to 100 visitors. The picnic pavilion may be rented in two-hour blocks, with additional fees charged for each half-hour of extended rental time. All pavilion reservations must be booked at least one week in advance and require a non-refundable deposit. Catering for group events is available for groups of 24 or more, offering a variety of classic American fare options, including hot dogs, hamburgers, and chicken strips. Birthday party packages are also available for children, including all-day wristbands, party meals, and gifts for the birthday child and guests.
300 S Ocean Blvd, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577, Phone: 843-626-3447