MYRTLE BEACH — Hard Rock Park is gone but visitors to the new Freestyle Music Park opening in its place can still "Get Off My Cloud" and "Fly Like an Eagle."
Those are two new rides for children unveiled Wednesday as Freestyle Music Park makes itself more family friendly with a new themed area with 11 attractions for the younger set called Kids in America.
Workers were busy Wednesday installing the main support for "Get Off My Cloud," which conjures the old Rolling Stones hit, and will let adults and young children ascend in cars resembling balloons to get a view of the revamped park the new owners plan to open Memorial Day weekend.
"These new additions will allow parents and grandparents to take part with their children and grandchildren to enhance their overall park experience," said John Stine, director of sales and marketing for the park.
When Hard Rock opened last year, the $400 million park was the single largest tourism investment in South Carolina history. But the 55-acre park closed in September when its owners filed for bankruptcy protection after poor attendance in a downward- spiraling economy.
FPI MB Entertainment purchased the park out of bankruptcy for $25 million and changed the name to Freestyle Music Park, keeping a music theme but also making changes to make it more attractive to families.
Some Hard Rock attractions were aimed at older riders. One, a dark ride based on the Moody Blues' "Nights in White Satin" conjured psychedelic lights and images.
Reporters were invited Wednesday to see the new kid's theme area, although other areas of the park are still undergoing renovations. The huge replica Gibson guitar installed by Hard Rock was still in place as was a replica of the Statue of Liberty holding a Zippo cigarette lighter with a Neil Young quote on the pedestal: "Keep On Rockin' in the Free World."
Stine would not say if they would be in the park when it reopens.
The economy is not a whole lot better than a year ago, but Stine said he doesn't think there will be a repeat of what happened to Hard Rock.
"The economy is what it is, but we also know people need to get away. They need to forget about troubled times and they need to get away with their family," he said. "We think this is the perfect place to do that and, if it's only for a day, we're going to deliver."
But industry consultant Dennis Speigel said the new owners have a tough challenge that may not be solved by creating a more wholesome environment.
"It's going to be a battle," said Speigel, president of International Theme Park Services based in Cincinnati.
The location, on the inland side of the Intracoastal Waterway away from the beach, doesn't help, he said. And he questions whether visitors want to spend their time at an amusement park during a beach vacation.
FPI MB Entertainment is made up of Freestyle Park International, a division of MT Development of Moscow; Roundbox Advisors; and a group of local Myrtle Beach investors.