The Hollywood Wax Museum at Myrtle Beach


Myrtle Beach. The name conjures the image of a peaceful sandy beach, a pier in the background with a white Ferris Wheel standing out against the light blue sky. And that version of Myrtle Beach probably exists; I was just blinded by the shininess of a couple tourist traps during my most recent visit.To be fair, tourist traps are one of the ways that locals make their money and local governments collect tax revenue. I can’t–and won’t–fault them for that. And to be completely honest, tourists traps can be fun.

The Hollywood Wax Museum in Myrtle Beach is a massive, cartoonish building that houses the museum, a zombie laser hunt, and a mirror maze. You can visit them all for a measly $30.

I opted for just the Wax Museum, which starts off with a one-story tall King Kong. There’s a photographer to take a picture of you inside his hand and those pictures are available for purchase in the gift shop.

I walked into the museum and right into a quasi-red carpet room with wax figures on either side. The layout fluctuated between red carpet, actors in their famous roles, and celebrities on stage. Each little “stage” for a figure had props for visitors. The whole place was pretty much an excuse to take pictures with wax celebrity lookalikes.

My favorite section was the horror-monster section. Not just because I freaking love scary shit, but because it contained three of the original Universal Monsters portrayed by their original actors: Imhotep, Dracula, and Frankenstein’s Monster. I could take a picture next to Boris Karloff decked out as the original Mummy and as Frankenstein’s Monster.

But the figure that made my day was Dracula himself: Bela Lugosi. I became obsessed with him after taking a class on Universal Horror Movies of the 1930’s and 1940’s in college; my bookshelf of DVDs has around twenty of his movies on it. Seeing him tower over me (he was 6’3″ compared to my 5’3″) and the regal costume that I’d only seen in black-and-white was amazing.

I gave the gift shop a passing glance; it had a small amount of souvenirs actually based on the museum. The rest could’ve been found at any mall.

Was the Hollywood Wax Museum worth the price of admission? I’d say a qualified yes. I enjoyed myself–and the horror monster area was worth it for me–but it would be far more fun with a group of people. And it’s definitely somewhere that’s fun once. I’m glad that I visited.

Want to see more pictures from my trip to the Wax Museum? Check them out on Instagram!


Project Adventure: The Range


Growing up, the closest I came to shooting was turning my brother’s paintball gun on a tree in our backyard. (He was going to let me shoot him to test his paintball vest, but he decided against it at the last second. Apparently he’s not a fan of the muzzle drifting towards his face.) My S.O. offered to take me to the range shortly after we started dating, but I kept putting it off again and again. Not from any desire not to visit the range; more because I’m a creature of habit and rarely leave the apartment on my days off. He insisted just recently, and so we headed to the range.

What struck me the most when I walked into the indoor range was how small the whole setup was. My shoes squelched on the gray sticky-mat (which the informational video later told me was to avoid tracking lead), and I found myself in a yellowish room that was longer than it was deep. A flat-screen TV was mounted to the same wall as flyers for firearms classes. On another wall were windows that looked into the range itself. And directly across from them sat a waist-high glass case with shelves of pistols inside; it looked like a grownup prize case from Chuck-E-Cheese.

S.O. and I had already browsed in the attached store, so I was starting to feel more than a little intimidated with the whole situation. I felt intensely outside my element and probably would’ve backed out if S.O. wasn’t there.

We picked out a pistol for me to shoot–the Smith & Wesson Shield EZ 0.380–before donning our hearing protection and heading through a set of doors and into the range. S.O. mounted the target before walking me through the basics of how to safely fire a gun. He reminded me to keep my fingers away from the slide, told me to relax my shoulders, and encouraged me not to worry about recoil making the gun fly out of my hands. Then he took a few shots to show my how it should go before letting me take over.

The best way to describe the feeling that rushed through me when I pointed the pistol at the target for the first time has to be dread. Dread that I’d miss the target completely or the recoil would knock the gun from my hands.

I aimed for the center of the target and squeezed the trigger. The bright muzzle flash caught me off guard, as did the kick of the recoil. But when my eyes readjusted, I spotted a hole in the bottom six inches of the target. I went through a magazine-worth of rounds, always hitting the neon green target but not where I thought I was pointing.

S.O. popped out of the range to grab another target. He then showed me how to use the sight–and it’s three little white dots–to better line up my shot. And boy did that make all the different. I went through the remaining bullets, firing from about seven yards away. Everything hit pretty damn close to where I’d wanted. I even shot half a dozen shots or so through the X at what would be center mass.

Did I feel more comfortable when I left the range than I had walking in? Absolutely. Do I feel like I’m confident enough to go back solo? Not quite. Will I be going back? Absolutely.

Project Adventure: Alpacas

Project Adventure: Visit somewhere new (ideally) once a month.
Adventures completed: 1

I found out about the Carolina Alpaca Celebration through Facebook; one of the local interest pages posted the event info. I’ve become fascinated with fiber-producing animals (alpacas and sheep) as I’ve been knitting more, so I jumped at the chance to see alpacas up close.

The Cabarrus Arena & Events Center is about thirty-minutes from my apartment. It took me about that to get there, and I walked inside and into a massive open room that smelled of hay and manure. The front half contained a handful of vendors dispersed among three rows, and in the back stood a dozen chest-high pens with fans attached to the bars.

The alpacas ranged in color from beige to gray to brown to black and looked like over-sized, super-fluffy stuffed animals. A few of them hummed.

A couple industrial, roll-up doors were partially open, making me regret my decision not to wear a winter coat. The show area, located inside the arena-portion of the building, was slightly warmer. It also housed a handful of adorable baby alpacas.

I took lots of pictures and browsed the vendor booths for the better part of an hour. Long enough to see everything (and to justify the trip up). I bought a ball of alpaca yarn; I haven’t figured out what I’ll make from it though I’m leaning in the direction of fingerless gloves.

What kinds of new places or experiences have you had so far this year? Do you have any planned?

Me with an alpaca