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There's Nothing in the World Like Action Park!
April 16, 2014 5:55 PM   Subscribe

Action Park was an amusement park located in Vernon, New Jersey, (in)famous for its dangerous rides. "You'd see a kid in the summer cover in friction burns, and you'd be like 'How was Action Park?' " (13 minute documentary on DailyMotion.) Relive some of those memories with 9 minutes of commercials from 1979-80, including an actual record of people on Cannonball Loop, and almost six minutes of rides and attractions from 1991.
posted by filthy light thief (40 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

 
Previously. (double-ish?)
posted by tonycpsu at 5:59 PM on April 16, 2014


I've never been, but even I know it's nickname is Traction Park
posted by wcfields at 6:08 PM on April 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think this one has enough new material to not be a double.
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:09 PM on April 16, 2014


Just looking at Cannonball Loop gives me nightmares. What happens if you don't clear the loop? You get stuck in the dark at the bottom until someone notices you didn't come out the other side, while in the meantime more and more people are sent down hurtling at you at god knows what speed? And it's pitch black?

AAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUGGGGGHHHH
posted by 0xFCAF at 6:18 PM on April 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


"The world's largest participation park" as a phrase is the perfectly constructed metaphor for this place. The individual parts are harmless enough but put in the order presented, it's terrifying in unexpected ways.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 6:28 PM on April 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Those videos are so good. Everything seems so sketchy and dangerous. And exciting. "Action Park is better than Broadway!"
posted by Literaryhero at 6:42 PM on April 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


Also, that slip and slide looks dangerous as hell. It is launching people into the air. Wow.
posted by Literaryhero at 6:43 PM on April 16, 2014


God, I miss that place.
posted by KingEdRa at 6:46 PM on April 16, 2014 [2 favorites]




The tennis ball shooting tanks. Yesssss.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:54 PM on April 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


i can't believe there continues to be new video for this place. i've only heard about it via mefi posts.

this was well before ubiquitous cell phone videos so it just boggles my mind enough people brought camcorders to this place to have had several posts with different, new, and terrifying footage.

but i'll watch it tomorrow. i need to sleep without dreams of amusement parks gone horribly, horribly, wrong.
posted by sio42 at 7:03 PM on April 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Action Park is reopening.

"We have a new ride coming called the Zero-G," says Mountain Creek president Bill Benneyan. "It's the world's tallest and only looping drop-gate slide. It's going to scare the heck out of you."
posted by mokin at 7:10 PM on April 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


(Although it should be noted that it reopened in 1998 and it's now just changing its name back to Action Park. The "reopening" angle is more of a publicity stunt.)
posted by mokin at 7:16 PM on April 16, 2014


Symbioid beat me to the Mr. Show link. Damnit.

I AIN'T AFRAID OF NO ROLLY COASTER!
posted by duffell at 7:27 PM on April 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Our "Senior Skip Day" in High School was a semi-official trip from suburban Connecticut down to Action Park. It wasn't the first time I'd been, but given it was a last outing with schoolmates I'd known since kindergarten in some cases, it was a good trip. And, yes, hanging out around the extreme water slides and watching for the inevitable swimsuit malfunctions was a very popular activity for both sexes. I got banned from the go kart track for losing control, but even that was fun. I don't recall any casualties on the bus home afterwards, but there were certainly walking wounded in the park, mostly abrasions and small cuts. This would have been '86.
posted by Blackanvil at 8:11 PM on April 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


Oh, I miss that place. It was an awesome part of my youth. It's easy to miss Sussex County.
posted by codswallop at 8:30 PM on April 16, 2014


Action Park really did live up to the legend. One of my first experiences with pure physical terror was on the Geronimo, a water slide that was a six-story drop at what seemed steeper than a forty-five degree angle. As I got to the top of the slide, I realized that it would really easy for me to DIE by sticking out an arm or leg at, well, ANY TIME. After that, the bungee jump later that day felt relatively sedate. The next time I experienced anything like that day, I was jumping out of a plane.

The closure of Action Park is a perfect anecdote for everything that is right and wrong with what has changed about the way we raise children. It's true that there are fewer deaths and maimings (hard to understate), but you can't say we haven't lost something.
posted by Edgewise at 8:44 PM on April 16, 2014 [5 favorites]


I first learned about Action Park via MeFi and I've been fascinated by it since. This, however, is the first post that actually makes me feel not just terrified of it but like I really missed out on something unique and amazing.
posted by treepour at 9:32 PM on April 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


Today it might be called lawsuit park. Oh, how the lawyers have ruined all our fun!
posted by cman at 9:38 PM on April 16, 2014


I went there as a kid, once or twice. I have great memories of the alpine slide (sans any safety equipment) and the skateboard park.
posted by bashos_frog at 9:46 PM on April 16, 2014


Never been to Action Park, unfortunately, but I have ridden one of those Alpine Slide thingies, and it was an amazingly fun and unforgettable afternoon, even if I did leave a bunch of skin on the tracks.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 10:10 PM on April 16, 2014


I had a an Action Park documentary in the works that I cancelled. The story of Traction Park is amazing.
posted by jscott at 10:32 PM on April 16, 2014 [6 favorites]


Good lord, that documentary in the FPP is hilarious. And disturbing. Hilaristurbing.
posted by naju at 10:43 PM on April 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


All I know is if we had stayed on the east coast for the duration of my childhood, I would have been part of this FPP as some sort of particularly embarrassing fatality. Sigh.
posted by maxwelton at 10:57 PM on April 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


an underwater river

A current?
posted by professor plum with a rope at 11:10 PM on April 16, 2014


I just see that footage of the Alpine Slide and I'm just like OHHHHH NOOOOO AAAAAAAHH THAT PERSON IS GOING TO DIIIIIE
posted by DoctorFedora at 12:16 AM on April 17, 2014


Today it might be called lawsuit park.

One of its other nicknames back in the day was "Class Action Park".
posted by exit at 1:56 AM on April 17, 2014 [3 favorites]


I wonder in what ways things would be different now that we're in a world where the standard treatment for road-rash due to wiping out on the alpine slide and leaving a trail of blood and abraded flesh is not a wipe down with peroxide and a trip to the pool.
posted by mikelieman at 5:18 AM on April 17, 2014


I remember getting stuck on a drier piece of the lazy river and being run over by several other tubers. Good times?
posted by inturnaround at 5:46 AM on April 17, 2014


That DailyMotion film could be retitled "Mashable employees reminisce about ActionPark"
posted by honest knave at 5:51 AM on April 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's so strange to me that Action Park has this second life as the stuff of internet legend.

Growing up in North Jersey is was a "But Mooooo-ooom!" sort of place - you know. We can't go? "But Moooo-ooooom!" Billy's parents took him there! His whole family! It was fine!

(Sure, we didn't talk about Billy's cousin with the broken arm, but still)

Despite wanting to go, it was always obvious to me as a kid that Action Park was this bizarre, B-level, knock-off affair. Like many things in New Jersey, it was a cheap and rough-edged approximation of nicer things elsewhere.
posted by entropone at 6:30 AM on April 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


Despite wanting to go, it was always obvious to me as a kid that Action Park was this bizarre, B-level, knock-off affair. Like many things in New Jersey, it was a cheap and rough-edged approximation of nicer things elsewhere.

For example, Great Adventure
posted by mikelieman at 7:21 AM on April 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think I saw Freddie Mercury go down the water slide at about 1:05.
posted by Shoggoth at 7:39 AM on April 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


Damn, I missed a link at the end of this post. "almost six minutes of rides and attractions from 1991" should link up to this YouTube video.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:36 AM on April 17, 2014


Added!
posted by jessamyn at 8:37 AM on April 17, 2014


I think I saw Freddie Mercury go down the water slide at about 1:05.


I bet the chances you think you see Freddie Mercury in a video increase as you approach a video from 1979 at such a rate that if you graphed it, you could use it to design an attraction at Action Park.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:22 AM on April 17, 2014 [9 favorites]


> "world's tallest and only looping drop-gate slide"

curious what that meant, I looked & found the Proslide Skybox where you stand on a trapdoor whilst sealed in a tube, then are dropped into the slide. Also AquaLoop at Carribean Bay [?] in South Korea. Vid
posted by morganw at 1:15 PM on April 17, 2014


I lost three teeth at Action Park on one of the kiddie water slides. All of my friends and family were injured there. Even as a little kid I knew the wave pool was a death trap.
posted by ben242 at 7:10 PM on April 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


You know, I was sure that you used the phrase "rides and attractions" to subtly invoke another constantly-looped NYC/NJ childhood commercial/insidious earworm for the Westchester County Fair. Then I noticed that video is actually titled 'Rides and Attractions' and now the goddamned county fair song is stuck in my head regardless. EVERYONE COME JOIN THE FUN.
posted by mintcake! at 7:42 PM on April 17, 2014


Tracing the MeFi fascination with Action Park (two of the three previous posts used Traction Park in their title and the third has it in the tags):

2008
2012
2013

Action Park memories are also about half the comments in this thread about amusement park accidents.
posted by librarylis at 8:54 PM on April 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


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