I Went to Action Park!

December 12th, 2013

Kyle Graham links to a cool documentary about the most famous amusement park in tort history, Action Park. The park, which closed in September of 1996, caused six fatalities, and countless injuries.

I went there on a field trip with the JCC  Camp in (I think) the summer of 1996, right before it closed. Or maybe it was 1995. I would have been 11 or 12 at the time.

The Cannon-Ball water slide (the one with the loop) was closed when I was there. We were (alas) not allowed in the Wave Pool. I remember our counselor telling us very clearly that people have died in there.

tarzanBut I did go on several of the rides. I distinctly remember going on the Tarzan Swing. Here is how Wikipedia describes it:

This was a steel arch hanging from a 20-foot (6.1 m)-long cable over a spring-fed pool. Patrons waited in long lines for the chance to hang from it, swing out over the water, then jump off as the beam reached its height. In early years the area patrons jumped off from was not over the water but a cushioned area. Some people who let go as soon as they started their swing would land on the cushion and then slide/crash into the water. In the mid-1980s the starting position was shifted so that patrons started over the water. Some patrons hung on too long and scraped their toes on the concrete at the far side. Others used the ride properly, but were then surprised to find out the water underneath was very cold. It was cold enough, in fact, that the lifeguards sometimes had to rescue people who were so surprised by the sudden chill that they could not swim out of the pool.[2] In 1984, one man died from aheart attack after experiencing the swing.[2]

I totally wiped out. I slipped off the cable a few seconds after I jumped off the platform, and plummeted the full 20 feet into a freezing cold pool. It was really, really uncomfortable. And yes, everyone on the long line was laughing at me for falling. That was the last thing I heard before I hit the water.

tarzan2I remember riding on the Super Go Karts, even though I wasn’t tall enough (they didn’t care). Apparently, these cars could go up to 50 mph. For whatever reason, I couldn’t come to a complete stop, and at the end I crashed into the car in front of me. I hit the car in front of me so hard that I jump-started it. They threw me off the ride and said I could never come back (that wouldn’t be a problem). Fortunately I wasn’t hurt.

I do remember trying Dippin Dots for the first time. The Ice Cream of the Future made a lot more sense back in 1996.

I did chicken out on the diving cliffs. I remember waiting on line on the Colorado River Ride (I should’ve abstained!), and for some (dumb) reason, I put my brand new sandals on a shoe rack outside the ride. This was Jersey. When I finished the ride, of course, they were gone. I had to walk barefoot the rest of the day. I think one of the counselors had an extra pair of sneakers that was many sizes too big.

Anyway, now these are just memories.