Action Park!Yes, I saved one Action Park story for this week, and it was submitted by Steven Kreuch.
I know you’ve been inundated with tales of Action Park, but I wanted to tell you some of mine. It should be noted if he hasn’t sent stories himself that Matthew also loved this place [Ed. note: Matt and Steven are the official "Brothers Of Dubious Quality."]
We used to love Action Park… much more so than the 6 Flags that was nearby, and I think that was because it had an aura of danger. You felt that the attractions were just a little too unsafe, and that by going on them you might really be risking something. They were also amazing as a spectator because you never knew what you were going to see. Blood, nudity, and people picking out the largest wedgies in history were all part of the fun.
It should also be noted that Action Park was divided into 2 parks… the water park and the “moto” park. Admission to the park dropped to ½ price midway through the day, so we would time our drive there to arrive as soon as the price dropped. Then we'd spend the first couple of hours on the water rides, get dressed and dry, and hit the moto area as it got dark until the park closed.
I’ve gone skydiving, bungee jumping, car racing and all sorts of silly things that have risked my life, and I feel like Action Park was the beginning of my love affair with all things ridiculously dangerous. I wanted to take you through some of the “attractions” in the park that haven’t been mentioned.
We’ll go through the park as I would… water first.
One thing about the water park: you couldn’t wear watches on many of the rides because you might tear the foam of the sliding surface. All towels/shoes/shirts/whatever had to go into a locker you paid for or put in a cubby just outside the entrance of the ride (you hoped your stuff would be there when you got back). This comes into play later.
The Wave Pool
I only went in this pool one time and that was enough. As the other reader wrote you, I almost drowned in it. At the time I was very experienced with swimming in the ocean in decent sized surf so I didn’t think anything of it at all. The thing is… they cranked that sucker up to 11. As a 12 year old I swam over and got to the ladder out of the pool and had to tread water (something I’ve never been good at) waiting for my turn to use it. You see… with the size of the waves you couldn’t hold onto the side of the pool. Then each person getting out would grab a rung of the ladder and the wave would subside and leave them dangling there until the next wave came and they could make it up another couple rungs until they then dangled again. Some would fall off and try again while others would be able to get their feet under them and scramble up. It was exhausting and when I was able to get out I vowed never to go in it again. I view all wave pools as an evil that I will never enter.
This was a fun one. I don’t know if you’ve read the Wikipedia about Action Park but if you haven’t, you should… it’s some of the most amusing reading I’ve had in a while. This was a great spectator ride because as you waited you watched everyone go and either make amazing flips and dives that you would applaud or cheer those that bellyflopped and wiped out.
As noted by others, this was a tube that you jumped in and went through many twists and turns (in the dark) at high speed. It eventually spit you out 20 feet in the air for freefall into an ice cold pool that was 20 feet deep… which was shocking to say the least. My first time on this ride I had my first Swatch which I loved. I was told to hold it if I didn’t want to leave it the cubby because I couldn’t wear it on the ride. So I clutched it. I held it tight as I could as I blindly whipped through curves in the darkness. Suddenly I was spit out into the air and as I fell my hands opened… and out fell my watch… to sink in 20 feet of water. There was no recovery, only “lifeguards” yelling for me to get out of the pool so others didn’t land on me. My shock from the cold water was so strong that I could barely move and get to the edge anyhow. I somehow made it and never went on that ride again.
Super Speed Water Slides
I LOVED these. These were rides that you had to weigh over 100 pounds to go on. You then climbed up a huge set of stairs and then slid down in the correct “position”: flat on your back with your arms crossed over your chest and your legs crossed. The slide was gentle at first with a slight hump or two you went over before it dropped almost straight down. You could feel yourself skimming over the water and getting air at the start. It was terrifying and fun. It lasted for about a second and then you were on level ground skidding to a stop. It was only when you stopped you realized the wedgie you had. And back then when you got a wedgie on this thing it meant having your gigantic JAMZ flowery shorts up your butt. It was a great colonic. This ride was also a huge spectator ride because of how many girls/women wore bikinis and would lose their tops on it. Great fun for teenage boys.
The only ride I’ve ever been too terrified to even try. It was a ride where people got on a hard red plastic sled and went on a downhill of assembly line rollers to then skip across a pool. The sound it made was tremendous and all I could ever think about was getting a finger or something caught and no thank you.
Action park had a whole series of pools that were interconnected that different waterslides kicked out into. Some were really chill and it was shaded and there were little caves you could hang out in. One thing about it though was that there were two diving cliffs – a 23 foot cliff and 18 foot cliff that you could jump off of into a 16 foot pool. The pool wasn’t shut to people not using the cliffs, so you had to make sure before you jumped that you weren’t going to land on someone… which happened all the time.
There were other rides but they were tame and not as memorable.
The Moto park though… that was where it was at. You must read about it on Wikipedia to get an idea of it but it was amazing.
The best ride in it was the Tank Ride. The tanks were these gas powered carts with a full cage on them. They also had bullseye targets and a tennisball cannon you could shoot while in it. The point was to drive around and hit other people’s targets and they would spin for a couple seconds and be out of commission, then resume their driving and shooting. There would always be one guy who got picked on for some imagined slight and it would seem everyone would team up on him. Also, while you were waiting to go on it, for a quarter you could use tennis ball cannons that were ringing the area the tanks were in and shoot at the tanks to keep you interested. It was a bit crazy and a whole lot of fun.
The go carts went faster than any I’ve ever been on and they just didn’t care what you did on them. Some of the cart rides and the motorboat ride on a pond full of snakes demanded you leave your drivers license with them while you went on the ride. Needless to say Matthew left his there once.
That was what the whole park was… a sense of danger with no one looking at what you did… so be as dangerous as you want to be. There was something amazing about the park too. When you left you just wanted to go back because it was like nowhere else you’d ever been before, especially living in a leafy safe suburbia. I would actually go back there in a heartbeat if they opened it for one more summer. My wife would kill me but I’d come home with skinned knees and hands, picking my bathing suit out of my butt with a big grin on my face that I survived and loved every second.