Beach Bummer


Sun to set on Myrtle Beach Pavilion after almost 100 years of memories

September 16, 2006

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- On a fading afternoon as summer wanes, a small girl looks anxiously into the Haunted Hotel, trying to decide whether she will risk entering the ride where a sign promises "Doom Service Available."

Beach bummer A cool breeze brushes in from the ocean as a middle-aged woman waves to a friend snapping her picture as she rides a zebra on the Pavilion Carousel. Down the way, past the log flume and ring toss games, teenagers shriek as they spin on swings high in the air. And across Ocean Boulevard, older folks, seeking quiet and reliving memories, sit on a balcony overlooking the street.

These are the sights and sounds of the final summer of a piece of Americana. After nearly a century, the Myrtle Beach Pavilion is closing Sept. 30, and along with it the amusement park that has been part of this ocean resort for more than 50 years.

The Pavilion is a victim of changing times and tastes. Many visitors are getting older and likely don't want a spin on a roller coaster. To younger children, used to video games and computers, the rides seem quaint. The carousel dates from 1912, while the park's 2-ton pipe organ was first exhibited at the 1900 World Exposition in Paris.

"For a lot of people that is wonderful, but for a 10-year-old born in 1996, they don't care," said Tim Ruedy, vice president of operations for the sports, entertainment and recreation division of Burroughs & Chapin Co., which operates the Pavilion.

The first Pavilion opened in 1908 and was a wooden structure used for entertainment and dancing. It burned in 1920 and another was built. That one burned in 1944, and the existing reinforced concrete structure - which survived Hurricanes Hazel and Hugo - was built four years later.

"Although the Pavilion helped Myrtle Beach to grow, Myrtle Beach has outgrown the Pavilion," he said.

Plans for the 11 acres of valuable real estate in the heart of downtown have not been set.

The Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce has a Web site at where people can post their feelings and memories.



It's a wonderful world

Most of us can't afford the $70,000 price tag on a 23-day trip being offered by the tour operator Abercrombie & Kent. The trip takes you around the globe on a private jet with 48 other travelers to visit nine world wonders. But the itinerary is worth sharing, as it may inspire you to plan your own trip of a lifetime.

The "Nine World Wonders" itinerary includes: 1) the pyramids of Tikal, in Guatemala, which are the remains of an ancient Mayan civilization 2) the giant stone monuments on Easter Island 3) Australia's Sydney Opera House, considered one of the most beautiful buildings in the world 4) the temples at Angkor Wat in Cambodia 5) Shwedagon Pagoda in Burma, which is plated with solid gold and inlaid with jewels 6) The Taj Mahal in India 7) Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where mosques and traditional markets stand side by side with modern skyscrapers 8) the ruins of the "Lost City" of Petra, Jordan 9) the pyramids of Egypt.

For those who can afford the trip:; 800-554-7094.



New cruise taxes may be chilling

It may cost you more to cruise to Alaska next year, starting with a new $50 tax per passenger that Alaska voters approved last month. The new tax is on top of the $40 to $70 per person that Alaska cruise passengers already pay. Fares to Alaska, a higher-ticket cruise destination anyway, also may increase as a result of other cruise-line taxes imposed by a measure on the Aug. 22 primary ballot. The $50 head tax includes $4 to monitor pollution controls. The remaining $46 is intended for improvement of ports, harbors and visitor services. The measure affects ships carrying more than 250 passengers.



What if you could listen to that hot-selling audio book without having to schlep along your CD- or cassette player, or download it onto your MP3 player? Enter the Playaway, a battery-powered digital audio device about the size of a deck of cards that comes pre-loaded with an audio book. Buttons on the device control volume, reverse or advance the narration, adjust the speed of the narrator's voice and bookmark favorite passages. The content cannot be copied or added to. The unit comes with mini headphones and runs on one included AAA battery. Playaway Digital Audio Books start at $35 at; 877-893-0808.



Urban Travel Photography

(Lonely Planet; $16.99)

What is urban photography? To author Richard I'Anson, it means something as basic as taking photographs in a city or town. How big or small it is, he writes, doesn't matter. In addition to having the appropriate gear and understanding the technical elements required, he suggests that before you leave for your destination you conduct some pre-trip research - even something as basic as finding out the dates and times of festivals, for example, or opening hours of attractions. Among the many topics he discusses are skylines, city views, architecture, streetscapes, fountains, shops, street art and urban details - "the kinds of things," he writes, "that most people take for granted." As an example of the latter, he writes about what he calls one of Seattle's hidden secrets: a wall stuck with hundreds of pieces of chewing gum. You have to see it to appreciate it. One thing to remember: Never leave your dwelling without your camera: "Opportunities can occur at any time."


Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.