World’s Most Dangerous Amusement Park Re-opens in New Jersey | DENENA | POINTS

World’s Most Dangerous Amusement Park Re-opens in New Jersey

While most amusement parks are making efforts to offer both safe and exciting rides, one park re-opened this summer in New Jersey that has a history of danger for attendees.  The Mountain Creek Ski Resort and Water Park has been re-named Action Park, and has a tough reputation to overcome.  

It had been named the world’s most dangerous amusement park after it was the scene of six deaths, numerous injuries and countless lawsuits between 1978 and 1996.  In 1987, up to 10 people a day were being brought to emergency rooms from the park.  There were so many injuries that the park owners ended up buying additional ambulances for the nearby town of Vernon, just to keep up with demand.  Action Park was nicknamed “Traction Park” for the splinting of broken bones that seemed to occur with frequency.

The old park went into bankruptcy years ago, presumably from the many lawsuits filed by injured riders, and poor management.  When it closed it was $40 million in debt, but the owner had still denied many claims by holding up cases in court for years.  He even tried to establish his own insurance company in the Cayman Islands to cover liability, but was then accused of insurance fraud.

The New Action Park: Safer But Still Thrilling?

The new owners claim that the park has new levels of safety after an investment of $5 million on new rides, and eliminating some of the most dangerous elements.  Still the new Action Park has rides suited to any thrill-seeker and the website has a full page of rules, warnings, height restrictions and disclaimers for park attendees.   Despite those precautions, alcohol is freely available to riders.   Some of the rides include:

  • A 100 foot thrill slide, where the rider is let go through a trap door into a near vertical double-looping water slide.
  • The Alpine Mountain Coaster, a sled ride that was responsible for many injuries and at least one death in the original park.
  • Zip lines as long as 1500 feet that start on top a nearby mountain.
  • Cliff jumping into pools of water 25 feet below.
  • Various inner tube rides that simulate river tubing and rafting.

Naturally, there are many people drawn to adventure-style amusement parks, but the task of maintaining safety is even more pronounced.  Riders are left in control  on many of the rides, such as Tarzan swings and tubing rides, an element eliminated in many amusement parks.  This may be part of the appeal of Action Park, where riders can get an experience that is not available in the average amusement park.

Despite this there were only 26 injuries this year for Action Park’s opening, so there seems to be a new attention to safety and employee training that was lacking before.  The park benefitted from the media attention given to its predecessor, and its reputation certainly drew many people to try out the adventure theme park.