May 17, 2022

Charlie Doodle

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‘Epitome of entertainment’: Leaders say MAX center major benefit for Orangeburg | National News

4 min read

Nothing to do in Orangeburg?

Orangeburg County and state leaders say that tired mantra is no longer applicable.

The $4 million, 30,000-square-foot MAX Family Entertainment Center officially held its grand opening and ribbon cutting Friday.

The center, located at 1015 Red Bank Road off U.S. 601 near Interstate 26, offers family entertainment including laser tag, trampolines, soft play and a spin zone, along with other adventures.

“Why go to Charleston? Why go to Columbia when you have it all right here in Orangeburg County?” Orangeburg County Council Vice Chairwoman Janie Cooper-Smith said. “This is one of the biggest assets to ever hit the county. MAX Entertainment will be the epitome of entertainment in the Midlands.”

“People are saying there is nothing to do in Orangeburg County,” Cooper-Smith continued. “You better wake up. The sleeping giant has awakened. He can’t sleep anymore. There is no place for him to sleep. Things are going on all the way around.”

Orangeburg County Council as well local lawmakers have been supportive of the project since owners Johnny Murdaugh Sr. and Johnny Murdaugh Jr. announced their desires to open a fun park about three years ago.

Orangeburg County has served as a liaison between the business and the Orangeburg Department of Public Utilities by helping the business to receive utility connectivity.

Orangeburg County is also in the process of trying to acquire land behind the business to create an access road from U.S. 601 to the property. Currently, there is only access to the property on Red Bank Road.

Orangeburg County Council Chairman Johnnie Wright said the county primarily served as a resource for the Murdaughs when they were building.

“The county is very very glad to have something of this magnitude in our county,” Wright said. “This is something that is kind of unusual because of the entertainment it is. You don’t have any close around.”

Wright said there were a lot of challenges faced with COVID.

“We certainly had to be there as much as we could to help them,” Wright said, noting legally the county could not provide any monetary assistance because MAX is a private business.

Murdaugh Jr. praised Orangeburg County Council for supporting the project in ways such as helping navigate the process with the S.C. Department of Transportation.

“Any local features we may need sometimes we could talk to the county and they would lead us in the right direction.”

Murdaugh Jr. said there are plans for future development. Specific details were not provided but will be released on the Max website and social media page.

“Keep your eyes looking toward the hills,” Murdaugh Jr. said. “Grass does not grow under our feet too long.”

The business was also funded with a $2.8 million U.S. Small Business Administration loan as well as by private investors.

In addition to family fun, the center has a menu including snacks, pizza, salads, drinks, desserts and a kid’s menu.

The fun park also includes party rooms, a community/kitchen center, concession stand/restaurant and prize-redemption area.

To keep the public safe, the fun center has sanitation stations, safety shields/masks, social distancing, surface sanitizing and deep cleaning. The facility also has four 10-ton AAON air-conditioning units that recycle 100% of outside air.

“From a state perspective, it is important that we address quality-of-life issues here in Orangeburg County,”  Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, D-Orangeburg, said. “Quality of life meaning amenities for families entertainment kind of options.”

“This is why this is so important, because it is providing an entertainment venue for residents in the Tri-County area,” Cobb-Hunter said. “I think the fact that it is a minority-owed business is a plus.”

The construction of the $4 million park was nearing completion when 2020 began. It was scheduled to open in the middle of March 2020 when COVID hit.

“They persisted in spite of,” Cobb-Hunter said. “There were a number of challenges to getting this done. I hope people will do everything they can to support them.”

“Families in Orangeburg County now have another venue for their families for entertainment,” Cobb-Hunter said, noting “now there is no valid reason for families to be saying there is nothing to do in Orangeburg.”

“We have never had anything like this before,” Rep. Jerry Govan said. “I want to recognize the resiliency of this family and what they have been able to do.”

The center employs about two dozen but will continue to increase its employment gradually.

The center is open Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday. On Saturdays, noon to 9 p.m.  and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

The website,, includes information about the entertainment center.

For more information, call 803-937-5959 and 803-809-0088.