Family attractions a big draw in Myrtle Beach

That’s the beauty of Myrtle Beach’s Hollywood Wax Museum, showcasing eerily lifelike wax figures of celebrities. Fans can live out their Hollywood star fantasies without fear of being served a restraining order or ushered away by security personnel.

The museum opened in June and is the newest addition to Broadway at the Beach, an entertainment venue featuring numerous family attractions.

Clooney’s wax likeness stands in a wedding chapel setting. Fans can don a wedding dress and pose for photos on the arm of the man who was until recently considered Hollywood’s most eligible bachelor.

But Clooney has to share the limelight with Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts and many other A-list celebrities.

Classic film buffs also can mingle with Old Hollywood royalty — well, their likenesses anyway. Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in the 1961 classic “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is clad in a copy of the iconic black Givenchy evening gown worn in the opening scene. The film gave birth to the “little black dress,” still a glamorous fashion staple for women today.

Those who relish the horror genre can get a heart-stopping thrill out of Outbreak: Dread the Undead. This live-action haunted world, with state-of-the-art special effects, puts visitors in the midst of a blood-curdling zombie apocalypse. The Myrtle Beach location is the only Hollywood Wax Museum in the country (there are four) that has this exhibit. Teenagers love it, but it’s not recommended for young children.

Hannah’s Maze of Mirrors is more their speed. Upon entering this fairytale universe, kids must navigate a bewildering mirror maze to rescue Princess Hannah of Savannah.

Myrtle Beach has been a family vacation destination for decades, but in recent years the explosion of attractions, especially at Broadway at the Beach, has put the seaside city on the map for more than just its sun-kissed beaches. The liveliest, most family-friendly destination on the Grand Strand, a 60-mile stretch of Atlantic coastline, Myrtle Beach has something for tots, teens, seniors and everybody in between — even if it’s a rainy day.

At WonderWorks, the crazy upside-down house touted as “an amusement park for the mind,” visitors do a double take when they see bicyclists pedaling faster and faster until, whoosh, they turn upside down, making a complete circle on the Xtreme 360 bike.

Expect the unexpected at this quirky attraction.

For the astronauts of tomorrow, the Space Discovery zone offers an out of this world experience. Kids can try on a space suit, explore the surface of Mars in a rover and even climb inside a replica of the Mercury capsule, the first American manned spacecraft.

The Spacewalk Challenge takes family fun to new heights — 36 feet to be exact. Navigating the three-story, glow-in-the-dark rope course requires mental acumen and physical prowess. Discover who is the most fit and quick-witted in your bunch.

There are almost too many activities to do in an afternoon, but kid favorites include a larger-than-life Lite-Brite, getting blown away in the Hurricane Shack, and taking in a show at the 6-D Motion Theater.

With more than 100 hands-on exhibits in six WonderZones, the whole family will have a blast and learn a thing or two in the process at WonderWorks.

Meanwhile, at the Ray Bay Dive Show at Ripley’s Aquarium, a wide-eyed child asks his mom, “Will the sharks eat the lady?” She reassures him that the diver inside the tank with sharks and several species of stingrays is perfectly safe. He smiles with relief, and is soon mesmerized as the sea creatures surround the diver, eating out of her hand

After getting his fill, a 2-foot-wide Atlantic stingray with a serrated, venomous tail glides gracefully to the glass, rippling his flaccid body. The kids in the crowd interpret this as a greeting and say hello. They wave when he swims away.

A narrator tells the group that, in the wild, stingrays bury themselves in the ocean floor to hide from predators. Their color serves as protective camouflage, but their tail is the ultimate weapon.

The aquarium, a Broadway at the Beach anchor, features exhibits teeming with marine life from around the globe, but for many the live dive shows are the highlight of their visit.

Wrap up your time in Myrtle Beach with a stroll on the mile-long oceanfront Boardwalk and Promenade.

The big attraction here is the 187-foot-tall SkyWheel, the tallest Ferris wheel on the East Coast. Create a family memory by taking your crew up in an enclosed gondola for a breathtaking, bird’s-eye view of the beach and skyline.

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