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A day at Freestyle Music Park

You've seen the new commercials, and you've read the news reports.

The $40 admission is paid, and you've walked through the turnstiles. You're giving the new, and supposedly improved, FreeStyle Music Park, a chance.

But the questions are rolling through your mind: What should I do first? Is there enough to do in this park for me to spend a whole day?Members of the media ride The Time Machine, Thursday during a media tour of Freestyle Music Park. 05/21/09 Photo by Charles Slate cslate@thesunnews.com

Here are some observations about the new park, and a few possible itineraries of how you can spend your time.

The price is cheaper from last year. It's only $39.99 to enter this year. Parking will be cheaper, park officials have said, but they haven't released prices yet. Season tickets are $64.99 each, and they include free parking. So if you're going to visit the park more than once, you're better off buying a season pass.

A day with the children

Arrive at 10 a.m. The effort to make the new Freestyle Music Park children-friendly is obvious. An entire land, Kids in America, is a good start to the day if you're making the trip for children under the age of 10. A good first ride is the Hang Ten, a smaller roller coaster that will thrill your children and make you smile with its beach music soundtrack.

Children 7 and older might want to try Soak'd, a suspended roller coaster that puts riders in the line of fire of people with waterguns standing below. For smaller children, there are a few more rides that you should check out. Life is a Highway gives riders the simulated experience of riding in the cab of an 18-wheeler. Get Off of my Cloud allows riders to travel in balloons over the skies of the park. None of these are must-dos, but the traditional train and balloon fare might appease children for a while. For older children, these rides probably won't be interesting.

While you're in Kids in America, you might try the "Flip 5 Live" rock show that features current pop hits performed by the park's band. If you venture to the optional children's rides, this land's visit will last about two hours if lines aren't exceptionally long.

Once you leave Kids in America, swing over to Across the Pond. It'll be lunch time, and an interesting choice might be Penny Lane's Cafe, a '60s joint that features six-feet lava lamps and American cuisine. Prices hadn't been released by the park, but an entree is expected to go for approximately $10.

After your tummies are full, a possible way to start the afternoon is The Carnaby Carousel, which will amuse smaller children. It's a typical carousel, but the design features British rock music and a musical tribute design with an '80s feel. Next, The McGillivray's Cab Company ride is the basic scrambler, with a London twist. Older children with a little bit of dare in their system might enjoy the Round About, the park's second-biggest coaster. The cars, modeled after British sports cars, give it a feel of an actual racetrack.

More of the park's appeal to smaller children can be found in this area as well. A multi-level playground, as well as an arcade, are both geared toward the younger set. And from trial runs so far, the new CSI! Live show has thrilled children. The show, which is modeled after the popular TV hit, allows children to help solve the case of an unconscious magician's assistant.

Between lunch and the rides, Across the Pond will likely keep you until 2:30.

There's not as much for the kids in Country USA, but it's worth a stop. The Iron Horse is another coaster in the park, and this one's designed primarily for children. The 10-minute "Ice Cold Country" show features upbeat music, skating and acrobatics. It's worth a view. Also, The Texas Swings and the Big Ol' Truck, modified versions of range vehicles that move in circles around a track, might entertain children, but this section has the least number of children's attractions. Overall, you'll probably spend an hour here.

Your last stop of the day should be Myrtle's Beach. Hang out at the Splash Bash for a while if it's hot. The Polly Nesian's Splash Bash water playground will excite kids, and you'll probably get a much-needed break from standing in line. Adrenaline Rush is a stunt show that puts extreme sports figures doing rail grinds, ramp jumps, and other extreme sports moves. The characters of the show do what seem to be the same tricks over and over, losing the viewer's attention after a few minutes. But if your children enjoy stunts and skateboarding, you might want to check it out. The ending of the show, which features a character on fire jumping into a pool from a high platform to extinguish himself, is the highlight of the show.

If your children are tall enough and have the nerve, check out The Time Machine, the biggest roller coaster in South Carolina. The coaster features a 155 foot drop, speeds of 65 mph, and six inversions. If you don't think they'll be up for it, make sure there are at least two adults so one can stay with the children at all times. It's the best attraction at the park by far. You'll finish at about 5 p.m. If you want to ride something again or shop, you can. If not, you'll be back home or at your hotel in plenty of time for dinner.

For Teens/Adults

For teens and adults, it might be a little tougher to spend an entire day at the park. A few of the rides are appealing for older riders, though.

Even if you aren't going to spend the whole day, arrive at 10 a.m, and begin your day in Myrtle's Beach. Take a ride on The Time Machine, and if there's no line, ride it a few times. Enjoy it in the morning.

Then, check out the Adrenaline Rush stunt show. Total time in Myrtle's Beach: one hour.

Next, dart over to Across the Pond. The Round About, the convertible-car racing coaster with British rock'n'roll anthems, is definitely worth a ride. Check out Monstars of Rock as well, the park's only dark ride. The inside ride uses contrasting lights, illusions, and frightening music to create the park's spookiest ride. You'll probably be through with Across the Pond in 45 minutes.

Kids in America might not sound appealing, but stop by for Soak'd. The water coaster isn't visually intimidating, but it offers an interesting water-coaster hybrid experience. Kids in America will take about 15 minutes of your time, and you'll be ready to zoom to Country USA.

The "Ice Cold Country" show is one of the park's most appealing shows. It's high-paced and short. Grab lunch at the The Big Q Smokehouse, the park's largest restaurant. The Iron Horse coaster is worth a quick ride, but the rest of the attractions probably won't gain your attention, as most of the other rides in Country USA appeal to smaller children. You'll be ready in about an hour and a half.

Before leaving, you might want to ride The Time Machine one more time, if the line's not too long.

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