Posted by: dharmabeachbum | August 31, 2012

SkyWheel is a trip, man

In the dark with its multi-colored lights aglow the SkyWheel is the skyline of Myrtle Beach.

Photos by DBB correspondent Rob Hufnagle

It is 20-stories of spinning psychedelia that, upon fixing a gaze, might have one wondering if he or she is having a sixties flashback.

The attraction’s rim and spokes are lined with over a million LED lights. I spent last week counting them. (999,996..999,997) Okay, I didn’t really count them. Like much of the information here, I borrowed the light count from SkyWheel’s website.

The monstrosity is nearly as impressive in the daytime, towering over downtown Myrtle Beach, a five or six-block area that is at once tacky and sublime, crazy and cool.

SkyWheel features 42 enclosed, temperature-controlled gondolas. The wheel is the eye from which one can get a spectacular, panoramic view of the city and of the ocean. Its operators advertise the SkyWheel as the centerpiece of the 1.2 mile-long oceanfront boardwalk and promenade.

For $13, Adults can take a ten minute ride that consists of three revolutions (there’s got to be a revolution, man). Children’s tickets cost $9; tots under two board for free. Senior, military and group discounts are offered.

Myrtle Beach has, indeed, had open heart surgery.

Burrough’s $ Chapin (B $ C) tore most of the heart out, closing The Pavilion in 2006 and leveling it soon after. That left the city’s “arteries” — The Gay Dolphin, The Bowery, Peaches Corner, etc. — to try to keep the resort’s blood flowing.

Then Skywheel opened adjacent to Plyler Park in May 2011 and, voila, our city’s downtown was revitalized. Both tourists and locals have a great place to circulate.

We should cherish the attraction.

As B $ C reminded us with the razings of The Pavilion and Myrtle Square Mall, nothing lasts forever.

The 14th Avenue Pier is in the foreground.

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