New roller coaster, rides planned for Myrtle Beach amusement park

An amusement park along Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach is upgrading for the summer season by adding four new rides and renaming its oceanfront water park.

Family Kingdom Amusement Park, at 300 S. Ocean Boulevard, will debut the Twist ‘n’ Shout Wild Mouse-style steel roller coaster, which the park says will offer a different experience than its other, well-known Swamp Fox Wooden Roller Coaster.

Also new for this summer: Kite Flyer, a lay-down passenger gondola ride; Flying Tigers and the Frog Hopper. The 13-acre park has about 30 rides.

Along the oceanfront, Family Kingdom’s Water Park will now be called Splashes, a name change that the park says better reflects that it is a full-scale water park on two acres. The water park has operated since 1977.

Park officials could not be reached Monday for more details about the additions. The amusement park is set to open March 23, then phase into the full summer schedule. The water park is set to open for the season May 25.

The amusement park has operated since 1966 and was originally known as Grand Strand Amusement Park. It was renamed Family Kingdom in 1992 when it was purchased by the Ammons family, which also owns the Sea Mist Oceanfront Resort.

The new rides are among several additions along Myrtle Beach’s main drag for the summer.

Farther north, a mini-golf course and restaurant are taking shape oceanfront on the former site of The Chesterfield Inn at Seventh Avenue North and a 6,000-square-foot candy and ice cream shop dubbed I Love Sugar is being built at 919 N. Ocean Boulevard. The plan is for both new attractions to be ready before the tourist season kicks into gear.

City officials have said that the boardwalk, which opened in 2010 and runs from Second Avenue Pier to Pier 14, has sparked some of the new projects, as has an economy that is showing signs of turning around.