Action Park:

This Wikidedia entry brings back some fond memories of the late, great Action Park of New Jersey. Where else could a fourteen year old ride a go cart at highway speeds? I didn't know that local doctors referred to it as "Traction Park," but I'm not surprised. When I went with some friends in 1981, one misjudged the Tarazan rope ride and landed on the ground instead of the water, causing a moderate leg injury, several others got nasty scrapes from the Alpine slide, and I felt at great risk of drowning in the wave pool--every time I tried to climb out, a wave would hit me and knock me off the ladder. How this park managed to stay in business for twenty years, I don't know, it was probably the single most obviously dangerous place I've ever been.

uh clem (mail): was probably the single most obviously dangerous place I've ever been.

Never been to Camden, eh?
7.13.2007 11:31am
ardbeg78 (mail):
And you're forgetting the bungee jump they installed in its final years. The line was a couple of hours long, but worth it.
7.13.2007 11:34am
I went there in 1982 or so, and I remember saying something like: It is a place people will go to feel like they could die.

The next day someone was electrocuted when there was an exposed wire on the boat ride.
7.13.2007 12:36pm
That place was the greatest. Dangerous but great. That's why people liked it. Leave it to the lawyers to mess it up.

Basically everyone who went there knew and understood how dangerous it could be.
7.13.2007 12:42pm
That place was awesome, I particularly liked the cliff dive and the colorado river ride.

The robe swing was pretty cool to.
7.13.2007 12:44pm
Cathy (mail) (www):
Wait, it's gone? I remember seeing the commercials on TV as a kid (1974-92) and always wishing I was big enough to go. It certainly looked like fun...

But now that I think about it, I think I knew an older neighborhood kid who'd gone, and he came back with some sort of minor injury...

Instead in 11th grade we were taken to Great Adventure for Physics Day (a day they opened the park to students to, um, "study" the physics of the rides).
7.13.2007 1:00pm
Yeah, I didn't realize it's gone either. 'Course, I haven't been out there since they changed the ski area from Vernon Valley to whatever it is now.
7.13.2007 1:31pm
Tingy Wah (mail):
Don't forget the cannonball! For the uninitiated that was a waterslide formed by an enclosed pipe that first smashed your head on a roughly 35 degree bend, then shot you into a pool of mountain spring water that itself was roughly 35 F.
7.13.2007 2:32pm
Spartacus (www):
Perhaps not as dangerous, but I used to love riding the Hell Hole at Coney Island, even after it had been twice closed (for several months each time) during my recent memory after someone had been killed by a malfunction: a panel had come loose, the person thrown out into the supporting structure and torn apart. I don't know if there were any casualties on the Cyclone, but it always felt like it was about to fly off the track. It was built in 1927.
7.13.2007 2:48pm
uh clem (mail):
The permanently located amusement parks are don't hold a candle to the traveling carnival rides for danger.

Knowing that your ride was just put together by the drunk toothless guy missing his left forearm is thrill enough right there.
7.13.2007 3:51pm
John Frazer:
Prof. Bernstein,

The Wikipedia entry is brilliant. Now I know to look forward to an exam question about un-governed bumper cars on your product liability final this fall...
7.13.2007 4:43pm
Bill Sommerfeld (www):
Cathy: ah, yes, "physics day" at Great Adventure. Did that in the early 80's.

What a complete boondoggle! Park was filled with high school kids attempting to avoid their teachers... I think I may have been one of the few people in my class who actually collected data using the silly cardboard-and-rubber-band accelerometers they had us build.
7.13.2007 7:32pm
William Spieler (mail) (www):
Does this have anything to do with New Jersey?
7.13.2007 8:59pm
I thoroughly enjoyed the link, easily one of the most fascinating posts here in months. And I'm not kidding, that was great reading.
7.14.2007 2:12am
Tom R (mail):
That Wikipedia entry deserves to be read aloud - deadpan - by Kent Brockman.

When I started work at my current university (which is built on the site of a former army base), and found that the childcare centre was on "Rifle Range Road", I thought of Mr Brockman...
7.16.2007 6:53pm