Wednesday, May 07, 2008

WHOLE LOTTA RIDES



MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - The Led Zeppelin classic "Whole Lotta Love" throbs from the 1,200-watt sound system as the slick silver and white roller coaster nears the top of its serpentine track.

Lead singer Robert Plant shrieks, "Woman. You need. Loooooooove..." And as he does, riders scream as the car falls from a height of 155 feet, reaching speeds of 65 mph.

Welcome to Hard Rock Park, America's newest theme park and the first one built in the nation in a decade. Here the theme is not movies or fairy tales or water shows. It's that American invention, rock 'n' roll.

The $400 million park in the heart of South Carolina's $16 billion tourism industry had a soft opening in April that it called a "sound check." The grand opening is slated for June 2-3, with concerts by the Eagles and The Moody Blues.

As has Led Zeppelin, both groups have lent their names to key attractions at the 55-acre park built around a lake dominated by 70-foot replica of a Les Paul guitar.

The Eagles' "Life in the Fast Lane" roller coaster spins through what appears to be an abandoned saw mill as the hit song plays. "Nights in White Satin, The Trip" winds through the dark amid psychedelic lights and images set to the 1960s Moody Blue's hit. (READ MORE) (Park website)

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