Feature Article - September 2010
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Fun For The Whole Family

Waterpark Options for All Ages

By Dawn Klingensmith

How Not to Do It

The way the alcohol flowed at the now-defunct Action Park in Vernon, N.J., you'd think the waterpark was geared to adults with a death wish. Yet according to WeirdNJ.com, the place was more or less staffed and run by teenagers, and the combination of unruliness and lax enforcement, not to mention the poorly engineered rides and snake-infested pools, led to so many real and rumored injuries and deaths that Action Park earned the nicknames "Accident Park," "Class Action Park" and "Traction Park" (on account of the friction burns caused by some of the rides).

In 1985, Action Park's reported accident toll exceeded 110, including 45 head injuries and 10 fractures, according to a 1986 article in the New Jersey Herald—though the park got into trouble with the state for not disclosing injuries so the actual sum may have been higher.

In 1987, the Herald spoke with the director of the ER at a nearby hospital, who said five to 10 people were brought there daily from the park. The doc added that many of the injured had alcohol on their breath. According to WeirdNJ.com, this is not surprising because "beer kiosks were more plentiful than ice cream stands at Action Park."

In fact, in addition to Action Park's Water World, there was a go-kart section of the park called Motor World with its very own bona fide brewery. A former Action Park employee reveals on WeirdNJ.com that he and his co-workers stole kegs and raced go-karts after hours, and then went for a swim to "sober up" before heading home. There was no nighttime security to speak of.

Action Park was sold in the late 1990s and in its present incarnation as Mountain Creek Waterpark has won industry safety awards.