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Myrtle Beach’s Grand Strand is Great Fun

If dreary weather seems to follow your group everywhere, there is always a Plan B at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

With an average of 218 sunny days a year, the beach town typically offers clear skies and a mild climate. However, those occasional rainy days are no problem for Myrtle Beach, since the town offers a variety of indoor activities.

Groups visiting the Grand Strand can choose from a night of theater, laughter-inducing attractions, informative fun or just a place to unwind and dine. Your group doesn’t need a rainy-day excuse to explore Myrtle Beach’s indoor attractions.

Theater

GTS Theatre

Instead of shushing singing audience members, GTS Theatre encourages them. The theater welcomes audience participation during shows that dish out one catchy hit song after another.

The 140-seat theater provides an up-close experience with the performers that feels personal.

“GTS Theatre is a great experience,” said Sandy Haines, group tour sales manager at the Myrtle Beach Chamber and Convention and Visitors Bureau. “It is a more intimate theater than some of our others. Groups like that smaller feel.”

GTS fosters its close-knit feel with the motto “Consider yourself part of the family.” Staff interact with groups before, during and after the show. Groups can book preshow entertainment or extended time with the entertainers for a question-and-answer session.

GTS staff transformed the theater, originally a Western-themed building, into a 1920s style Parisian cabaret. The theater hosts a variety of shows that change with the seasons.

One of the theater’s most popular shows is “Motor City Musical.” Audience members relive the 1960s and 1970s with Motown numbers from the Four Tops, the Jackson 5, the Supremes and more.

Other favorite shows include “Beach Party: A 60s Tribute Show,” “Neon Lights: Celebrating Decades of Country Music,” “Michael Bairefoot: Comedy Magician” and “Elvis Live.”

OTHER OPTIONS: For a blockbuster theater experience, groups can watch the famous Carolina Opry at the Calvin Gilmore Theater. The talent-filled show features powerful vocal and instrumental performances.

Food

Dave and Buster’s

Planners looking to elevate their group meal to a memory-making outing can opt for Dave and Buster’s. The restaurant and entertainment complex is a popular dining spot for groups, with private event spaces and optional add-ons.

“Groups have done team-building experiences here,” said Haines. “We’ve also done scavenger hunts, which are a lot of fun.”

Headquartered in Dallas, Dave and Buster’s operates over 120 restaurants throughout North America. The Myrtle Beach location offers a large selection of food with state-of-the-art virtual games and simulators. There are more than 200 games, including Connect 4 Hoops, the World’s Largest Pac-Man and the virtual reality Jurassic World Expedition.

Entertainment

Hollywood Wax Museum and Entertainment Center

Visitors come face-to-face with Will Smith, Marilyn Monroe and Tom Hanks at the Hollywood Wax Museum and Entertainment Center. The museum presents lifelike figures that people can admire, and visitors can have their pictures taken with them.

These famous movie star figures often stand in front of themed backdrops, such as a pirate ship scene behind Johnny Depp dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow in “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Groups pose next to their favorite movie stars, often using props. Guests can put on a wedding dress for a nuptial photo with George Clooney, grab a bow staff with Bruce Lee or hold a bottle of Vitameatavegamin next to Lucille Ball.

The Hollywood Wax Museum ticket also provides admission to Hannah’s Maze of Mirrors and Outbreak: Dread the Undead.

“The Outbreak: Dread the Undead is a zombie experience,” said Haines. “People come out screaming and saying ‘Oh, that is so much fun,’ every time.”

While the zombie experience offers thrills and chills, Hannah’s Maze of Mirrors causes plenty of laughs while participants bump into reflecting walls trying to rescue Princess Hannah.

OTHER OPTIONS: Swashbuckling stunts wow visitors to the Pirates Voyage Dinner and Show. This entertaining spectacle includes a full-size pirate ship, live animals and a four-course feast. Another amusing act, “Le Grand Cirque 2.0,” debuted recently at Myrtle Beach’s Broadway at the Beach. The jaw-dropping tricks and choreographed movements test the limits of human ability.

Education

Ripley’s Aquarium

Far from a simple afternoon diversion, Ripley’s Aquarium is a world-class aquarium that features 1.4 million gallons of water and over 10,000 sea creatures. Groups can pet a stingray, hold a horseshoe crab and watch hourly dive shows while learning about underwater life.

Among the highlights are a 300-pound sea turtle, 12-foot sharks, a giant octopus and 14,000 fish. The aquarium’s 330-foot moving path takes visitors through an underwater glass tunnel.

“There is so much to do at this aquarium,” said Haines. “The brand-new African penguin exhibit has a 360-degree tunnel you can crawl through to get up-close to the penguins.”

Ripley’s Penguin Playhouse features a 5,550-square-foot expansion, the largest in the aquarium’s 20-year history. Groups can add a Paint With the Penguins program, where participants can pal up with a penguin and take home a piece of penguin-made art.

OTHER OPTIONS: Student groups or those looking for an educational stop will find plenty of facts at WonderWorks. Billed as “an indoor amusement park for the mind,” the attraction offers 100 interactive exhibits, such as a hurricane-force wind simulator, a virtual roller coaster and a bed of nails. Another staple for youth groups, Edventure Myrtle Beach, teaches science concepts to children through hands-on exhibits centered on flight and space exploration.

Drink

Duplin Winery

Live music, events, shopping and plenty of wine help groups unwind at the Duplin Winery. Opened in 2015, the North Myrtle Beach winery boasts a 15,000-square-foot venue that can accommodate more than 200 people, making it the largest wine-tasting station on the Grand Strand.

The winery offers tastings of at least 10 preselected Duplin wines while a staff member walks participants through the flavors and history of each wine. The winery focuses on muscadine and sweeter wine varieties.

“Groups can bottle a wine if it’s prearranged,” said Haines. “That is a fun souvenir for groups to take home.”

The site also houses a retail shop for gifts and souvenirs, such as homemade fudge.

OTHER OPTIONS: House of Blues also offers dining for groups at its 59,000-square-foot site. Groups can listen to live music while enjoying Southern-inspired cuisine.

visitmyrtlebeach.com

Eliza Myers

Eliza Myers has worked for The Group Travel Leader since 2007. She is the online editor and associate editor for Select Traveler.

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