Springtime is here, and what better time to reminisce about one of the most unique amusement parks to ever open in New Jersey?

Action Park opened for the first time in Vernon Township, in 1978.

Ask anyone who's been there, and they'll describe Action Park with adjectives like, crazy, wild, insane, off-the-chart, and OMG!

Looking back, it's amazing it lasted nearly 20 years.

Action Park was created when the owners of the Vernon Valley/Great George Ski Resort needed a way to generate money during the summer.

It started innocently enough with a giant water slide in 1976.  A couple of years later they added a couple of more slides and a go-cart track.

At its peak, it had 75 attractions for visitors to try.  The problem is that the owners of the park wanted to create a park that offered a sense of risk.

When we visit amusement parks today, we can feel exhilarated on the rides, but we know there's virtually no chance of getting hurt and it's very rare when you hear of someone dying.

During the early and mid- '80's, millions of people visited the park.

How dangerous was this park?

Defunctland via YouTube
Defunctland via YouTube

One attraction was the Alpine Slide.  The History Channel shared this description:  Picture a steep cement track, you hop onto a fiberglass car, and then you speed down the track.

There were no rails to guide you down.  Not only that but the cars were often broken and many times the brakes didn't work.  People were sustaining real injuries.

At its peak, the local emergency room claimed to treat about a dozen people a day for injuries sustained at the park.  There were even deaths attributed to attractions at the park.

The park gave the hospital so much business, that the owners of the park bought ambulances for the hospital to help deal with the demand.

Many of the rides were operated by unqualified kids working a summer job.  Many of the teen visitors were drunk and out of control.

There were also questionable business dealings, indictments, and lawsuits.

By the '90s, the park was forced to shut down various rides when personal injury settlements and the resulting higher insurance costs became too costly.

Though there were attempts to save the park, it closed for good in 1997.

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