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WonderWorks draws curious looks in Myrtle Beach

You have to wonder about the mindset of people who would build an upside-down building, complete with upended trees and fire hydrants, said Richard Super of North Myrtle Beach while staring at WonderWorks at Broadway at the Beach on Thursday.

"It's confusing but interesting, I guess," Super said.

Construction crews do have to be more careful when building everything upside down, WonderWorks general manager Robert Stinnett said during a tour of the upside-down science attraction.

"Everything you build needs to be done in a very specific sequence," Stinnett said.

Most things must be installed from the top down, he said, gesturing to upside-down fixtures on the ceiling of the lobby.

Construction is about 95 percent done on WonderWorks, which is set to open sometime in April, he said. Stinnett pointed out where the virtual baseball pitching exhibit, natural disaster exhibit and various simulators would be located during a tour of the building Thursday. One worker airbrushed the walls around the mostly complete fourth-floor ropes course, which will be surrounded by arcade games and laser tag area.

Despite the noise and mess of construction, the managers of shops surrounding WonderWorks on the west side of Broadway at the Beach said they expected the attraction to help bring in more business.

"I'm excited about it. I think it's going to bring a lot of traffic," said Emily Matula, manager of retailer Gemini Boutique. "It's definitely generating a lot of talk."

Customers regularly ask what WonderWorks is, said Susan Collins, manager of Caribongo, a T-shirt shop nearby that opened in February.

"I get a million people asking me what it is and the only reason I'm familiar is because we lived in Florida and there's one in Orlando," Collins said.

Wonderworks will also bring more jobs to Broadway at the Beach. The attraction will employ more than 130 people including management, cafe workers, exhibit attendants and other positions, Stinnett said.

Roughly 100 workers will be hired at job fairs on Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at St. John's Inn, 6803 N. Ocean Blvd, Stinnett said. For more information or to apply, go to WonderWorksOnline.com.

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