Massive 'Great Ape’ hoisted into place at Myrtle Beach’s newest attraction

It was like a scene from a movie ... sort of.

King Kong moved up the side of a skyscraper off U.S. 17 Bypass on Tuesday, but, unlike in the movies, this 35-foot-tall monster gorilla, dubbed the Great Ape of Myrtle Beach, is only ornamental and had to be hoisted by cranes to the prop skyscraper. And there was no damsel in distress, just curious passersby snapping photos of a scene you’re likely to see in reality once in your life.

The great ape scaling a New York City-esque skyscraper is the calling card of Myrtle Beach’s newest attraction, the Hollywood Wax Museum, which will open some time in June. Officials say there isn’t an official opening date.

The attraction’s exterior will be a testament to all things Hollywood, including the great ape as well as an over-sized award statue resembling an Oscar. The wax museum has been transforming the 26,000-square-foot building at the corner of U.S. 17 Bypass and 21st Avenue North formerly occupied by the NASCAR Cafe.

“It also gives Myrtle Beach its own landmark,” said Aileen Stein, a spokeswoman for the Hollywood Wax Museum. “It’s very eye-catching.”

And this is the toned-down version.

Officials removed several components – including a Mount Rushmore-style feature, a replica of the famous Hollywood sign and shooting stars around the main sign – to satisfy concerns of the Myrtle Beach Community Appearance Board, which must OK the signs, landscaping and building exteriors of new development in the city.

This Hollywood Wax Museum is owned by the same family-run company as the original one on Hollywood Boulevard that debuted in February 1965 with life-size wax figures of celebrities. In addition to the one in Hollywood, there are museums in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., and Branson, Mo. The family still runs the company.

In Myrtle Beach, three attractions will be housed under one roof: the two-story wax museum; Outbreak, a zombie-themed haunted house; and Hannah’s Maze of Mirrors. There’s separate admission for each, though you can package two or three into one price, Stein said.

-Dawn Bryant,