Summer is Almost Here – Time to go to Action Park!

If you had the honor of growing up in the New Jersey area in the 1970s-1990s, hearing the name Action Park probably makes you think of Summer. Because from 1978-1996, whenever Summer rolled around, commercial for the park would start to appear on local TV stations and they wouldn’t stop running them until right before school started.

I was lucky enough to go to Action Park on 3 occasions and each time I had a ball. Unfortunately that did not seem to be the case with other people because the park was sued often for injuries suffered on their amusements. I had no idea (although the ambulances should have been a tip off), I just thought it was a crazy wonderland of water, wood and concrete. According to what I have been reading, the number of lawsuits finally caught up with old Action Park and they closed their doors in 1996.

This was probably for the best. I got to visit once in the 1990s and I have to say things were looking pretty grim. All the good, and I guess dangerous rides, had closed by then.

This commercial is from the early 1980s, the golden age of the park, can you spot all the dangers?

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Duke of Crydee

    I went there once and it was the greatest. It was my first summer as a lifeguard and over a half dozen of us decided to go there one day when someone found out that our lifeguard shorts were the same shorts the guards at Action Park used. So the whole plan was to lie and cut lines.

    Little did we know how well it would work.

    For the first half of the day we ran up the exit stairs, bypassing HUGE lines, get to the top and tell the guard there that we’re on break, can we cut in? They always agreed.

    About halfway through though the guards caught on. I guess during breaks they were talking about us. They asked us if we really worked there and we had to admit that no we weren’t.

    Then things got even better. They thought it was hilarious and kept letting us on. It was like we were VIPs. I never rode so many water rides in one day.

    Around 4pm a higher-up got wind and marched over to us with his walkie-talkie demanding our IDs and threatening that we’ll be banned from the park. Little did he know that we were about to leave, so we refused and just left. 🙂

    Good Times. lol

  2. The Retroist

    Action Park really was like the Wild West of theme parks. Rules were made to be broken and outlaws everywhere.

  3. Drahken

    I think someone was talking about this place either on a forum or in IRC a few years ago, it sounds familiar.

    The part about closing it being for the best reminds me of conneaut lake park. Back around the mid-90s they blew $3mil renovating (translation: destroying) the place, then seemed surprised that they went belly-up. They took what was always a smallish localized park (as opposed to a destination park), fenced it in so they could charge admission (admission had always been free), then turned around and removed several of the park’s most popular rides (at a time when the place desperately needed all the big draws it could get). When it closed down, it was a mercy killing. The park then changed hands numerous times and is sometimes open, sometimes not. I haven’t been there since that “remodel”, so I don’t know how screwed up the current incarnation of the place is.

  4. Daniel Th1rte3n

    That kid that blasts skyward from the briny depths at the :08 second mark brings to mind young Jason Vorhees from the end of the original Friday the 13th, and with the amount of grievous bodily harm visited upon the park’s visitors, perhaps that is appropriate…

  5. I wanted to go, but my parents refused to take us. I found out years later that my dad went to jury duty in the 1980s, and it turned out to be one of these “accidental death” lawsuits for Action Park. When they asked him what he knew about the park, he said “It’s a dangerous death trap,” and he was excused. Now I’m appreciative they wanted to keep me alive. And considering my track record with my right ankle, I can just about keep myself from getting hurt without trying!

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