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Inside the Now-Closed 'Wildest Amusement Park in the World
This water slide has a complete loop -- it only was open a couple weeks before being closed by the park. (Photo via Wikimedia)

Inside the Now-Closed 'Wildest Amusement Park in the World

"Action Park couldn't exist today."

"Accident park." "Traction park." "Class action park."

Now nearly two decades after its closure, Action Park in New Jersey -- also known as the "wildest amusement park in the world" -- is the subject of a documentary made by Mashable and Daily Motion as they seek to figure out just how insane the park truly was, according to NJ.com.

"Every story that you hear, any legend that you hear about it — it's all true. This is a place that it actually happened," Andrew Mulvihill, the son of Action Park founder Eugene Mulvihill, told Mashable.

cannonball loop This water slide has a complete loop -- it only was open a couple weeks before being closed by the park. (Photo via Wikimedia)

"Part of the fun was surviving the day," one man said in the documentary's first segment.

And not everyone survived. During Action Park's 18 years, there were six deaths.

The park was opened in the 1970s as one of the first modern water parks. Mulvihill said his father envisioned a park where "people controlled the action."

So, instead of roller coasters and flying swings, this park, although it did have motorized boats and such later, featured more slides and drops. These let the person "control how fast you went, how high you went," according to Mulvihill.

"The rides at action park were lawless," Comedian Chris Gethard, a former action park patron in his youth, said.

There was the Tarzan Swing -- a rope swing that you would drop off into a pool of water -- the Alpine slide -- a cement track on which a small wheeled cart carried riders (many road burns were had) -- and the Cannonball Loop -- a water slide with a complete loop.

"If you go back and look at the picture of the Cannonball loop slide, it looks photoshopped," one man said. "It looks unreal." He recalled people coming out of it with bloody noses.

Employees were offered $100 to test out the ride.

"Pretty wild ride. Never quite perfected that one," Mulvihill said, noting it was only open a couple weeks.

Check out this 1982 commercial for the park to get a sense for some of the rides:

The most dangerous of the attractions, according to the documentary, was the wave pool, which visitors recalled having stronger waves that lasted for longer intervals than most wave pools should.

"Part of this story is about inspection and oversight," Brian Sheppard, a law professor at Seton Hall University, said. "You would hope that inspections would happen frequently enough that you would see there could be problems with the equipment or problems with operation."

But when you have 16 year olds -- sometimes younger -- running the rides, the room for error seems to jump.

"There's a lot about this that strikes me as being on the fringes of legality," Sheppard said, later noting the insurance company covering the park was created by its founder and based in the Cayman Islands.

Action Park closed due to legal issues in 1996.

"Action Park couldn't exist today," Seth Rogin with Mashable, said. "There are way too many lawsuits. There are way too many over protective parents. There's no time out zone at action park."

Although many realize why action park had to close, they are nostalgic for it.

"It kind of makes me sad. I wonder if kids today have that feeling of 'let's go prove our backbone,'" Gethard said.

Although the documentary includes some of the seedier aspects of the amusement park, it's fascinating none-the-less to hear of people's terrified -- yet fond -- memories spending time there.

Watch part of the documentary:

You can check out the first part of the documentary on Mashable, but be warned of some strong language.

Technically, the spirit of the park was revived in 1998 as Mountain Creek Waterpark, owned by Andrew Mulvihill, who said it has a renewed emphasis on safety.

(H/T: io9)



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