MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) – 2016 is a landmark anniversary for one popular Grand Strand attraction as the Family Kingdom Amusement Park on Ocean Boulevard turns 50.
The park welcomed close to 200 roller coaster experts to the park to celebrate with a ride on the “Swamp Fox” wooden coaster.
“They’re national icons and they’re national treasures that ought to be preserved,” American Coaster Enthusiasts Vice President David Lipnicky said.
The celebration is part of the groups 2016 Spring Conference.
“Once you get on top that hill, it’s a 75-foot hill once you go around the curve it’s a beautiful view of the Atlantic Ocean,” Family Kingdom Operations Manager Scott Osborn said.
The Swamp Fox opened in 1966, the same year Family Kingdom did.
“There’s just something timeless about a wooden coaster,” American Coaster Enthusiasts Communications Director Tim Baldwin said. “It just really engages all of your senses and they’re just fun. When you find those delicious moments of air time.”
He’s talking about that thrill of coming out of your seat these classic coasters provide.
“The nostalgia and the rides that we have to offer here brings people here and families here,” Osborn said.
It’s a connection formed through generations of fun and passed down through every adrenaline filled scream
“My grandfather who got my mom riding, he’s past away but every time i’m on a classic wooden coaster because that’s what he rode i’m thinking of my grandfather,” Lipnicky said.
Founded in 1978, American Coaster Enthusiasts is a nonprofit, volunteer organization dedicated to the preservation, promotion, appreciation and safe enjoyment of roller coasters. With more than 5,000 members worldwide, ACE is the largest and longest-running enthusiast organization in the world. Members of ACE receive exclusive park benefits, newsletters, magazines and the opportunity to attend national, local and even international events at parks. ACE has been prominently featured on various news programs and many cable networks such as the Travel Channel.