Sometime in the late 1970s a man set out to become “the Walt Disney of New Jersey” and attempted to turn a plot of land on the side of a ski mountain in Vernon into a high-adrenaline, thrill-ride adventure park. Action Park was open for nearly 20 years and in that time, the motley mix of rides and waterslides didn’t just serve up the illusion of danger, but actual danger itself. People got hurt, people died, but that didn’t slow the park down. It just made it more popular.
The author of the memoir Action Park is none other than the owner’s son who was, pretty literally, along for the ride. He started out testing the DIY and questionable rides as a teenager and later moved on to help run the whole park. The book looks back at an experiment guided by the belief that people would flock to a place where the usual rules and safety regulations were simply non-existent. Broken bones and bleeding injuries? Maybe. Crazy fun? Definitely. Read it and go back to a time and place in which fun wrote the rules instead of lawyers.
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