Traction … err…. Action park

Action park was a waterpark that operated in the northern western part of NJ from 1978-1996. It was one of the first major water parks in the country and there was no attraction like it in the tri-state area at the time. Located in vernon Valley/Great gorge, the management decided to try to find a summer use for the property since skiing was not feasible. It began slowly, but by the early 80’s was a large park with numerous rides, a wave pool and a motortrack race course.

The amusement park earned many nicknames such as Accident Park and Traction Park because it was not uncommon for as many as 10 people a day to be injured seriously enough as to have to go to the nearby hospital. When an amusement park buys an ambulance for the local hospital due to the heavy influx of patients, that’s a bad sign right there. 6 people have confirmed to have died while in the park and the park closed down in 1996. Two years later the park reopened as Mountain Creek, with a heavy emphasis on safety.

I only have a few memories of Action park. I remember when I was in my early teens (mid 80’s) going there and hating the fact that the park was built on a hillside so every ride entailed long hikes with a rubber tube up the side of a mountain. I also hated the fact that the water was ice cold. It could be 110 in the shade and that water was always bone chilling cold. I did ride the infamous looping slide and it was not a pleasureable experience. It was neither thrilling, nor exciting, unless you consider being held up at gunpoint thrilling and exciting. I suppose you actually could describe being mugged in that way, because it sure felt like I had been assaulted by the time I had gotten off the ride.

I visited Action park again around 1990 or 1991. I recall stopping in because the TMNT were going to be there (this was right after the first movie had shown in theaters) They now had a bungee jump and I tried it. Was terrified. Looking back I was a pussy because I’ve gone skydiving without so much as a single tremor of fear.

I honestly don’t personally remember much else about Action park, but I hope you do, and I hope you’ll post your experiences here. I would say more but honestly why re-invent the wheel? There’s a number of good sources of info on Action park, and if you want all the details, go there. They did the work of writing it, so I’ll let them tell you rather then just essentially rip them off.

There’s a really lengthy recap of the rides and the siteowners experiences at Action Park here. very detailed and well worth reading.

Weird NJ has a page about Action Park, with many reader comments.

Of course the Wikipedia entry about Action park is really the best place to read up about it. It is extremely detailed and appears to be very accurate, covering the rides, the injuries, the deaths, the surly/drunken/couldn’t-care-less employees and more.

1983 tv ad for Action Park

1988 tv ad for Action park

Tarzan swing at Action park

The following pictures come courtesy of Abandonedbutnotforgotten, and the rest of the pics can be found here. I don’t know when these photos were taken, but based on the opne picture showing a reference to Mountain Creek, I’d assume they were taken right before Mountain Creek opened, which means they were taken between 1996 (when Action park closed) and 1998 (when Mountain Creek opened). I imagine this is what Jungle Habitat looked like in 1978 after it closed down.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. How high was the bungee jump at action park? Can’t find any posts that say.

    Reply

    • Posted by lostinjersey on September 11, 2013 at 9:18 PM

      i remember visiting it in the early 90’s just before it closed. IIRC it was around 50 feet high or so. it was essentially a giant concrete diving board platform. you just ran off the edge and fell and then the bungee sprung you back up.

      Reply

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