I’m not much of a thrill seeker.
I’m scared of heights, I don’t like speeding down hills, and I get supernaturally cold in the water or in the snow. Also, I duck if someone throws a ball or a frisbee at me (instead of catching it like a normal person).
So when I heard that Action Park, the “World’s Most Dangerous Amusement Park,” had opened its gates again, I was simultaneously curious and terrified from afar.
This looping tunnel? Not photoshopped. It was a waterslide. You heard me.
Since I grew up in California, the words “Action Park” mean nothing to me, but apparently they invoke a strong reaction from people who lived in the New Jersey area in the 80’s and 90’s. Action Park has a big reputation. Located in Vernon, New Jersey, the park was filled with death-defying rides…literally.
The looping waterslide was just one example.
How about the Alpine Slide? To brave this ride, you had to take a chairlift up the mountain, then ride a sled down a steeply-sloped fiberglass track. Tradition mandated that as you were on the chairlift, you spit on the riders and the track below. The tracks were made of concrete and fiberglass, and no one wore helmets…instead they were usually wearing swim suits.
The Tidal Wave Pool was another fun one. Waves in this pool reached up to 40 inches in height, and went on for 20 minutes. The pool could hold up to 1,000 people at a time.
Then there were the Super Go Karts. Because the karts could be jerry-rigged by wedging tennis balls into the governor devices meant to regulate how fast they could go, it was possible to use the karts for bumper cars at 50 mph.
From 1978 to 1996, the park was an almost-unbelievable summertime destination. However, a high death toll (!) and accompanying bad press led to its eventual demise.
The action stopped for almost 20 years, but now the park is back! According to the owners, the focus is now on safety.
I’m still not going.
Are you an Action Park survivor from back in the day? Would you go now? Am I just a scaredy-cat? (Don’t answer that).