I have been meaning to mention this place. It first jogged my memory back at least 5 years ago when I was reading a chain letter marked "You know you are from Jersey If..." One of the lines was You know you are from Jersey if you knew someone that was seriously injured at Action Park, and it reminded me about my experience at that amusement park. It was the early 90s and I was about 10 years old at the time and my father thought it would be a fun bonding family experience to visit this waterpark. What follows is my vague memory of what it was like at Action Park that day:
Action Park, Mount Vernon NJ
We arrived there around I would say noon, it was hot and I was itching to dive into some pool somewhere so my red headed ass would get a break before the noon sunburn attacked me. Kids were everywhere but like usual the family stuck together and debated on which ride to try first. What did we see?
My brother races to the top and yells for me to catch up. "Oh man!" i say to myself, this must be something good. I approach the top of well, a cliff, and we waited in the line. What struck me odd, as well as peeked my curiousity was the blocked viewing of what we were actually waiting in line for. Confused what I just said? Basically we were standing on a rock platform, extremely high up, and had no view of what lurked beneath. Just the rock underneath our feet and a rail around the side. The line did not venture to the side so there was no sneak peak at how high we were. Waiting and waiting, my brother looks at me and says
"Your certain your going to jump?"
"F*ck knockers yes I am going to jump, if you do it, Imma do it!" I think to myself. Suddenly, its our turn and we are asked to step onto the painted footprints right on the edge of the platform. My brother steps up first, glances over and suddenly has a change of mind.
"Uh Jeff, I don't really think we should do this"
"Whats he talking about" I ask myself...."Big Bryan, afraid?"
That is when I step up beside him and glance over for myself. I shit you not, below me looks like the biggest drop in the world. My stomach turns as I realize there is no chance in hell I will be jumping to my death today. Suddenly, I realize why no one has complained or moaned that we were taking forever. Down below, in the pits of death, is a young man floating on his stomach. Four different people coming from different directions are swimming out to bring him to safety. The poor f*cker did a belly flop off of the death drop! My brother and I edge away from the edge and decide to take the weenie approach instead and go for the slide of death right next to the cliff. You can see it in the background of the picture. We figured instead of jumping to our doom, where you actually have to make the decision to jump, we would settle for the sliding action of "Shit I'm sliding and I can't stop"
Wow, that wasn't so bad, that was actually kind of fun! Yet we didn't do it again. We decided to take our time elsewhere and check out the next attraction:
The Tarzan Swing
Sorry for the crappy picture, but it is the only available one I could find. Let me set it up for you. You wait in a long ass line for a chance to hold onto a rope swing, dangling from the bar pictured, and swung out into a pool of freezing cold water. I watched in awe, as the people before me performed magical flipping stunts off the swing. There was also the show of watching people that got tangled up on the swing, while trying to swing by their feet upside down, and swinging full speed back to the "take off point". It may be hard to visualize for you but I'll try my best to imitate the sound the human body made as it smacked against a jagged rock wall padded ever so slighty with a foam shield.
Eyes wide and with the feel of pain on the brain, I approached the Tarzan Swing with one thing on my mind. "MAKE SURE I LET GO" Off I went and as I forgot to tuck my legs up , my feet skidded across the top of the water, pulled my hands forward and smacked my face into the water. Dazed, I pop my head up from under the water and wait for my mother to experience the same thing I just did. She wasn't too pleased. Who cares! Whats next?
Once again another crappy pic that doesn't show much. What you can see is that it was a black enclosed waterslide. What you can't see is what it was like at the end of that waterslide. Let me take you from the beginning. You are at the top of the slide and you are asked to sit down and cross your legs/arms as you peer into a pitch black tunnel before you. As the park attendant starts to explain the safety procedures, the jets of water you are sitting on shoot you into the black hole, and the safety precautions fade out of hearing range as you travel deeper and deeper into the dark. Twisting and turning, its a blast until you reach the very last turn, which is i'd say a healthy 90 degree turn. Thats right, SMACK right against the side of the slide and before you can have a chance to hurt a stream of water shoots up into your eyes, blurring your vision as you are shot out in the air. Your blinded body falling helplessly to the pool below. It kind of reminds me of the slide in The Goonies, where at the end they are shot into the lake which leads to their discovery of One Eyed Willy's Pirate Ship.
While we recovered from that blinding experience, I glanced into the woods across from CannonBall Falls and saw what I thought was something that was physically impossible.
The CannonBall Loop
Was this a rollercoaster? No way, it couldn't be. This is a waterpark, and I don't see any rollercoaster trains attached to it. As a matter of fact, I didn't see much to this slide. Just a single enclosed loop with a puddle at the end. I guess the puddle was suppose to be the exiting portion, but no way in hell that little bit of water could possibly keep you alive. What am I saying, no way in hell this slide is possible to conquer alive. Like I said, not much. That included no line, no crowd, no life to this abandoned slide. Man was it tempting, but it wasn't open. It just glared at you, sitting there all alone, calling you to attempt it. Yet there was no chance because it was closed. WHY? WHY WAS IT CLOSED? Some things you just don't know, but as always the brain gives you your own reasons. Mine was that some unlucky b*stard went down and got stuck halfway around the loop.
Dazed, sunburned, confused, but still alive, there was more to try! The last main thing I remember is
The Alpine Slide
A fiber-glass track with a sled ride, right smack in the middle of a waterpark. You took a ski-lift to the top. Thats right, a SKI LIFT. As you climbed to the top of the mountain, you are given a glance below at the Alpine Slide track. You watch helplessly as the people below zoom down the track, or the unfortunates that stop halfway and get smacked in the back by another rider. "Wow, when is my turn??" You reach the top and and set your sled atop your choice of slide.
You see that kid? Smiling away? He is only that happy because his brakes worked. Yea, you see what he is grasping onto with his hands. A little lever in the middle of the sled that acts as a brake. Well in his case at least. Mine just seemed to scratch the grainy surface below, and I swear it seemed to only make me go faster. No time to enjoy the ride, just the feeling of racing down the mountain, holding onto the sled for your life. You pass by multiple hay bails which act as "safety" measures. These are suppose to stop your fall. However, for one unlucky guy, it only added to his death. The Alpine Slide was the first confirmed death ride at Action Park. A man flew down the slide, lost control of his sled and hit the hay bail. The hay bail took his impact, fell over, and allowed him to fling off the side of the mountain, cracking his skull on the many pointy rocks below.
So that is my memory of Action Park. I believe that qualifys for the statement of being from jersey and knowing about an injury at Action Park. I witnessed many and although it was a scary experience, it was still a one of a kind experience that I will never forget. I will always remember Action Park. For those of you that have never heard of it or been there, I hope my story gave you an idea of what you missed out on! Action Park was shut down, due to a couple more deaths. A guy getting electrocuted in the Kayak Experience and many deaths in their wave pool. Mount Vernon has since re-opened it as Mountain Creek WaterPark but its not the same. Some rides are still there, the tracks to the Alpine Slide are still visible, but it is no Action Park.