Most people in New Jersey are familiar with the legend of Action Park. Even those too young to remember have heard the stories.
The drownings, the broken bones, and in one case electrocutions that marred the park’s reputation and left it buried in litigation until it was forced to close down in 1996. This summer the park found a way to reopen.
We drove to Vernon early last Saturday with a plan to arrive as soon as they opened and cover as much as the park as possible. We reached the compound just after ten to find the parking lot empty save for two teenage attendants and the old familiar rainbow banner from the 90s. Parking is six dollars.
We purchased day passes and entered. There were no lines yet so we marched towards the newest attraction. Located at what was formerly Geronimo Falls are the two fastest slides in the park, the H2 Oh No! and the Zero-G.
The former is a standard if terrifying speed slide and the Zero-G is a torture device that drops you through a trap door into a looping tube. The 100 ft climb to the top features wonderful views of the ground below and an audio track of a beating heart as you ascend the stairs.
Both rides will leave your heart in your throat and half of your bathing suit up your butt crack, so we rode them both multiple times.
Further down the hill is another new ride called High Anxiety. It’s a dark tube that shoots four man rafts up the sides of a funnel and the sensation is not unlike riding a halfpipe until you are flushed out into the pool at the end.
High Anxiety was built in 2004 when the park was still Mountain Creek, but they didn’t serve alcohol and Action Park does, so if you’ve ridden it before try it again after a few beers. The bartenders are awesome and Theresa is our favorite.
Experiencing momentary weightlessness in a large raft is a unique feeling but smacking your rear on the funnel isn’t. Don’t sit too far into the seat.
Plenty of original rides are also still up and running. The 8-Lane Surf Hill, the Tarzan Swing, Cannon Ball Falls, Canyon Cliffs and the notorious wave pool are all back and largely unchanged, though the Colorado River now offers helmets which is nice considering some of us banged heads the first time down.
There is also still an issue with people who can’t swim jumping into the deeper pools, but the lifeguards seemed to have it under control.
The park is no longer the lawless playground it once was, and the Alpine Slide is long gone (thank god), but Action Park has retained much of the original spirit that made it great.
Hopefully the owners can avoid the problems that drove it into bankruptcy last time and judging by the new staff and management it’s safe to say they will.
When we left the park, we regretted not getting season passes, all of us, and we plan to go back very soon, so if you get a chance check it out. Still, keeping it real, as we left the park, we also saw an EMT examining the blood trickling from someone’s head.
8 comments on “Action Park NJ Reopens”
I go there multiple times a week! Best waterpark ever!
Hey do they still have that big fan you fly over in the wing suit?
Is the water still 32 1/2 degrees?
Man did we have fun there in the late 80s early 90s.
did not see the wingsuit.
the water varied in temp, it was a warm day and went from cool to warm but it was all appreciated.
I had a great time.
The alpine slide was actually there but cost extra money, which I was disappointed by.
That said, it was my only issue.
The grounds were well tended, and most rides struck a great balance between fear of certain death and too tame. I don’t think they could ask for a better homage to the nostalgia while modernizing.
I was most impressed by the amount of walking, I thought that the rides would cater more to the morbidly obese, but to really enjoy it you had to climb stairs and hills both.
Even Vernon Valley/Great Gorge/Mountain looked well tended. Haven’t skied there for 20 years, and would certainly give it another try after looking at it again. Hope there’s some stuff for non park-types, of course.
There is an alpine slide, but it isn’t the old track that broke everyone’s bones and killed a guy back in the day. The new one is attached to a track and seems much safer.
ML242, The rides at Action Park are mostly one of a kind. It is the only park out there that has water rides which require tubes that make you scream of fear. They are also the only waterpark where you need to be a good swimmer to go on certain rides. Most waterparks are quiet as a library and their rides cater to the morbidly obese and lazy. There is no deep water and many of the rides don’t even get you wet. At those parks, they have a conveyor belt for your tubes. At Action Park, you haul the tubes up yourself. Even though I pig out on junk food most times I go, I weigh less now than I did in the spring because I run up those hills all day to get to the rides faster. I wonder if they will bring back the VVGG name since they did bring back the Action Park name. Also, the park was not closed for 18 years. It was open for 17 of the 18 years as Mountain Creek Waterpark. I found the original Mountain Creek Waterpark sign hidden in a maintenance area in the park. It says “Action is back this summer at Mountain Creek Waterparks”. I also found the vintage Roaring Springs sign (now Wild River Canyons) and the original Colorado River ride sign. Despite the name change, Intrawest downsized the park by nixing the entire motorworld section. It was for many years a pure waterpark and was never, and will never be the draw it once was. People don’t want to walk up hills anymore, they’d rather sit on an overcrowded beach all day, or go to a waterpark where it is easy and there is no danger at all. Action Park is now a much smaller attraction and has a much harder time competing with other parks while it used to have a monopoly.
I really wish they would make the H2OhNo slide as steep as the original Super Speed slides were – I mean, it can be done, the people who made the AquaLoop and the SuperLoop (the latter of the two being used on the Zero-G) make a speed slide as steep as the original slide, and plenty of slides operate a slide that steep perfectly safely. Damn it, I want my 60MPH enemas. 😛
I’m just so glad that the park survived all these years and that Intrawest decided to preserve it. They could have easily leveled it and turned it into more McMansions like the rest of the mountain has. It would be a shame if a place of such historical significance was destroyed so no one from my generation could experience it. I have gotten so much enjoyment out of Mountain Creek Waterpark which is now Action Park again, that I will probably remember just like the generation that was around back in the day. As the owners said, I hope the spirit of Action Park lives on so more generations after mine can experience it. 2028 is it’s 50th anniversary.
BOOM, we have video.