Rare Footage of New Jersey’s Action Park (1979 – 1980)

Jason G. (of Contra Dextra Avenue) told me about New Jersey’s Action Park last year, an infamous late ’70s institution that offered kids thrills beyond belief—provided they survived the experience. The park was notorious for causing injuries and even several deaths. (The wave pool was called the “grave pool,” etc.) A few days ago, according to Deadspin, former Action Park director of operations Adam Ringler uploaded some rare park footage to YouTube from video taken in 1979 and 1980.

The video starts off with some commercials, moves to live footage of the inner tube attraction (they disappear into caves!), on to breakdancing, some kind of projectile-firing tank slash demolition derby attraction, a supersonic raft slide (watch the jump the raft full of kids takes at the 5:00 mark!), more commercials, a bobsled-like attraction (no helmets, please), and then the coup de grâce: the legendary, short-lived cannonball loop slide, i.e. a water slide that does a loop de loop.

A smiling boy in one of the commercials sums up the park and the long gone era that gave it life: “There are lots of big things for little kids to do.”

Thank you, Adam Ringler! Viva Action Park!

9 Responses to “Rare Footage of New Jersey’s Action Park (1979 – 1980)”

  1. 1 contradextraavenue April 17, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    Holy shit, video of the tanks! There will never be another ride that freaking awesome. Kids these days will just never know…

  2. 3 contradextraavenue April 17, 2014 at 11:36 pm

    They shot tennis balls from air cannons. If you hit one of the small targets on another tank, it would spin out of control for 3-5 seconds (you can see one of them doing it in the video). It was like a live-action version of one of Atari’s Combat tank games. And on top of that, the people waiting in line for it could pay $.50 at a number of turrets along the wall to shoot tennis balls at the tanks too. Ingenious.

  3. 6 2W2N April 18, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    Lefty is going to die when he sees this.

  4. 7 ocguy72 April 2, 2015 at 5:34 am

    I lived close by from 1979 to 1984. I went here many, many times. I broke my back skiing when it was a ski resort in the winter when I was ten. My uncle fell off the alpine slide and hit the half-pipe so hard a piece of his tee-shirt got embedded in his shoulder. Took years before it completely worked its way out. Action park was amazing if sometimes dangerous fun that no way could be repeated in today’s sue happy environment. My only complaint was I moved right before they opened the upside down loop. By the time I returned for a visit years later it was gone. This park was not for the timid and if you were timid when you got here you weren’t by the end of the day! Great times! Glad I was able to experience it! Seeing the video here was a true blast from the bast! Thanks!

    • 8 2W2N April 2, 2015 at 2:17 pm

      Thanks for the comment! I’m so jealous you got to spend time there. If you happen to have any pictures, I’d love to see them…

  5. 9 ocguy72 April 8, 2015 at 6:57 am

    @2W2N… Photos?…I don’t have any, but I will ask my folks if they remember taking any while we were there. I’m sure some should be floating around.
    I have to say, I wish I could go back sometimes. I live in CA now and as I get older I find myself thinking back more and more to Vernon and where I grew up just up the mountain in Highland Lakes. I was a great place for a kid to grow up and Action Park just added to it! Had tons of fun there both in the summer and in the winter when it was the ski resort. I am planing a trip back east with my wife soon and I plan on showing her the area I grew up in. Might even go into the old park now that I hear it has re-open. I’m sure it isn’t the same but it will be nice to walk around and take it all in nonetheless! I have a pretty good memory so if/when I come by some photos I will be more than happy to share.

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