Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A look at the Swamp Fox at Family Kingdom, Myrtle Beach, SC

I am a firm believer in the idea that if you have to say you are "the best" or brag, giving yourself the title "the best" or "the greatest," you are not at all. This sign makes me laugh, but it does not exactly say that the coaster is "the best," but it is definitely close to accurate in describing the quality of this ride.

I am assuming the list that declared this number is the same NYT Cartmell article that declared the Kennywood Thunderbolt to be number one. Cartmell was very influential is bringing our attention towards roller coasters. For my generation, I look at folks like Joel Styer for getting me into taking photos and The Coaster Critic (if I recall correctly) on some of those late 90s/early 2000s TV shows to encourage me to explore. Anyways, I think that the Swamp Fox is an underrated and awesome ride.

This John Allen PTC coaster was created in 1966 and it is a twisted and airtime filled machine. It is definitely worth dropping by. 
 feel that this ride is very similar in feel to another John Allen classic, the 1960 (originally from Roseland Park, NY) Lakemont Skyliner
 Above you can see a storm rolling in. On this visit we got a ride in and soon after a storm blew in. This coaster was heavily damaged after 1989's Hurricane Hugo and with a huge rebuilding effort, this coaster was reopened in 1991.

The park has already opened for the season so if you get down to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, be sure to check it out!

1 comment:

  1. Every year that I went to Myrtle Beach with my parents in the 1980s, I visited William Parker who owned the Swamp Fox. At that time the park was known as the Grand Strand Amusement Park. I had been published in a college newspaper in Ohio in which I listed the Swamp Fox as my favorite coaster. I felt the Swamp Fox deserved national recognition. On one visit, I persuaded William Parker to invite the American Coaster Enthusiasts to come to the park and determine the worthiness of this ride. As Parker was considering selling the park for condo development, I was determined to save the coaster from the wrecking ball. I felt any recognition for the ride might help its chances of survival. The following year in the late 1980s, ACE showed up and we rode the coaster together. They were impressed. And the Swamp Fox eventually ended up being ranked the #8 best wooden coaster in America. Parker went forward with his plans to sell the park, and I tried to find a buyer. And that is when the Sea Mist Resort owners bought the park from Parker. The Sea Mist owners were proud of the ranking of the coaster, which earned the ride the title of "legendary," and therefore were eager to refurbish the coaster and park after Hurricane Hugo. I had a part in saving the Swamp Fox's life by pushing to get it ranked, and it still proudly wears its badge of #8 wooden coaster to this day.