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The Fun Plaza on Ocean Blvd. lives up to its name as one of the most entertaining North Myrtle Beach attractions inside and out. Located just steps away from the oceanfront, and easy to get to for both area resort guests and beach goers, the classic open air plaza has been a North Myrtle Beach hang-out and entertainment center for generations - a legacy that is still evident by both its retro decor and old school arcade games.
A welcome step back in time for long-time Myrtle Beach vacationers, and an engaging local arcade and entertainment center of visitors of all ages, this local landmark is a well-loved time capsule that will have everyone in the family smiling.
The "Fun Plaza" has a unique little role in North Myrtle Beaches' history as one of the first attractions to be established along the oceanfront. Along with notable central Myrtle Beach attractions like The Gay Dolphin and Peaches Corner, Fun Plaza, (then known as "Sloppy Joe's"), helped build the region's reputation as a young, hip vacation hotspot, and attracted both locally stationed soldiers and college kids looking for fun in the 1940s. After World War II, thanks in no small part to these early attractions, tourism exploded in the region, with many of the formerly single soldiers bringing their new families to hit their favorite Grand Strand attractions.
Old photographs reveal that Sloppy Joe's was a popular and always-busy attraction, locatedjust a few feet from the beach, and serving up 24 hour breakfasts, lunches, and typical beachside snacks for hungry night owl patrons. Today, the plaza has a more family-centered atmosphere, but has certainly not dwindled in its popularity, and still remains a must-stop for generations of vacationers.
Fun Plaza is laid out like a typical East Coast beach boardwalk arcade, with multiple entrances leading to a sprawling main room that is compartmentalized into different areas of arcade games. Visitors can enter the plaza from the western side of North Ocean Blvd, or via the beach by hopping up to the oceanfront beach boardwalk. The neighboring snack shop is still going strong, specializing in hot dogs, ice cream, and other easy-going beachside treats, and vending machines are also located on site for ice cold drinks, but the star attraction at Fun Plaza are the dozens of classic and prize-winning arcade games.
Paying homage to the classic beach boardwalk entertainment centers, visitors will find a long bank of skee-ball machines, which dispense tickets with virtually every round of play. Located close to the skee-ball games are the arcade's renowned baseball games, which are vintage additions that only require a quarter per game, and will take seasoned vacationers bank to the original days of boardwalk arcades.
Other prize-winning modern games are stationed throughout the plaza, including a number of "claw" arcade games that allow patrons to pick up a stuffed animal or two for their sweetie, and "Wheel of Fortune" spinning games where lucky visitors have the opportunity to win big. The arcade even features several classic fortune teller stations that were made famous in the 1980's classic Tom Hanks movie "Big."
Best of all for frequent visitors is the cost: many of the vintage games are still just $.25, and even the modern amusements with big pay-offs hover around the $1.00 per game range. This makes an afternoon of off-the-beach entertainment a budget friendly venture, and patrons will also find ATMs on site to keep the fun going well into the night.
The biggest joy for patrons of all ages is cashing in the tickets, and visitors will find a wide array of prizes that can accommodate everything from 5 hard-won tickets to hundreds of tickets, carefully saved or luckily won in a single game. From penny-candy and miniature souvenirs to electronics and small appliances, Fun Plaza patrons will find prizes for every ticket range, ensuring that everyone leaves the boardwalk attraction a verified winner.
Fun Plaza is open year round, generally from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 a.m., and while the plaza is hopping on busy summer days, with lights and sirens going off in all directions, winter visitors may find they have the expansive plaza all to themselves, giving them ample opportunities to try out every old school or flashy game that catches their attention.
As a vintage attraction that never goes out of style, Fun Plaza is a staple of the North Myrtle Beach oceanfront scene. Generations of vacationers have descended on this local landmark for decades, and many long-time visitors are delighted to find that the original games that made this beachfront diversion famous, including skee-ball and the classic baseball arcade game, are still intact and still dispensing plenty of tickets for skilled game players.
Fun for families of all ages, and especially the youngest members who can cash in their winnings for trinkets and souvenirs, a trip to the Fun Plaza is a North Myrtle Beach tradition that is clearly bound to entertain newcomers for generations to come.