Action Park: World's Most Threatening Waterslide Park
If all goes well, above you will see first-hand one of the greatest myths of a North Jersey childhood: the infamous and legendary loop-de-loop waterslide of Action Park.
Action Park was located in Vernon, NJ -- considered "the mountains" by us kids from the more urbanized area outside Newark.
I have gone to Action Park twice, escaping injury both times, considered by most to be a miracle. (The second time was for one of the first Warped Tour concerts. Ick.) It was sued countless times for the dazzling amount of bloodshed and carnage it caused (which can be verified at this webpage detailing a list of deaths at amusement parks Deaths At Action Park and, unfortunately, went under and later was re-opened as Mountain Creek.
For a brief period in my childhood, I was an altar boy. (I left this un-molested.) The annual Our Lady of Lourdes Altar Boy was to Action Park, annually I would ask my mom to go, annually she would resoundingly say no, having heard of the legendary rumors of the perhaps dozens killed.
The upside-down waterslide posted above is a shrine to a North Jersey childhood -- it's a totem pole of sorts. Anyone who truly knew what it was like to be ALIVE knew of its existence. No one has actually ever gone down that thing, as it was never open. The two popular myths surrounding it a) the first person who came down the waterslide drowned when he was stuck at the bottom and b) an alleged "test dummy" was sent down and came out decapitated. No matter -- it is just a true testament to the human spirit of what man is capable of doing. The people at Action Park actually believed -- to the point where they spent thousands of dollars in fiberglass costs -- they could defy every known rule of gravity and physics.
Other great Action Park memories:
1) State Road 94 ran through the middle of the park. Meaning there were only two ways to get to either side of Action Park -- either by running across a major state highway or by taking a train over a bridge to get to the other side. On an altar boy trip I wasn't allowed to go on, childhood friends Kevin Gallagher and Dave Kearns were riding the train on the bridge when it suddenly burst into flames. Dave escaped unharmed, Kevin was caught on the bridge, suffered a 1st degree burn and then fractured an ankle leaping off the bridge to safety.
2) The Alpine Slides. The alpine slides are essentially go-karts that go down the side of a mountain. To get to the top of the mountain, you have to take a ski-lift. Once at the top of the lift, the pothead teenagers working at Action Park would show you graphic pictures of Alpine Slide victims missing entire sections of their stomachs. However, there was no way down the mountain once off the ski-lift -- you HAD to go down the Alpine Slides. Many were injured on these rickety vehicles equipped with rusty braking systems.
3)The park was laid out on a mountain, meaning that no matter what direction you went, you had to walk up a hill at 70 degree angles.
4) Being a waterpark, many go shoeless at Action Park. However, the walking grounds at Action Park were laid out with black, rocky asphalt -- in summer months, the heat would blister your feet if you stood flat-foot more than 3 seconds.
5) The ride where nine people ride in a single tube had tree branches and sharp ledges throughout it, causing many bloody noses and concussions along the way.
6) The undertow of the wave pool was so fierce, it was like a scene out of Indiana Jones.
7) French-Canadian men in speedos.
God, I miss that place.