Thursday, March 26, 2009

Paying Your Dues

When I was a student at Public School #18, we bounced on a huge trampoline, played dodge ball and tag during gym class. We also biked with no helmets, rode our orange sleds down ridiculously steep hills and climbed trees.

Today we have goofy parents who sue schools for negligence when their kids get hurt on the playground.

Remember Action Park? Everyone who was a kid in New Jersey or New York in the late 70's and 80's remembers Action Park. Kids today wouldn't last 5 minutes in the wave pool. The Wave Pool was always filled with too many kids, everyone climbing all over everyone else to reach the ladder. According to statistics, lifeguards rescued 30 people over the course of a weekend.

My favorite ride was the Tarzan Swing. You held on to a rope, swung out over a lagoon and had to drop off at exactly the right moment or you risked injury swinging back and slamming against the rock hard wall. When you did let go, you landed in the icy spring fed lagoon. The shock alone prevented you from moving your limbs for a few seconds. Apparently the lagoon temperature only reached mid 50's even in mid-summer. The Tarzan Swing was only responsible for one fatality: someone had a heart attack when hitting the freezing cold water.

Action Park was really a test of adulthood and a great lesson in the hardships of life. You knew you were going to leave the Park with an injury. If you were lucky it would only be a scrape. Bleeding was not a reason to pack up and leave either. As kids, we never really thought it was dangerous. In fact, we couldn't wait to go back.

Here is a great article in memory of Action Park.

A blog from Action Park employees.

Check out this old commercial. The Tarzan Swing is prominent, as are the Cannonball Falls.


  1. action park is the best - who doesn't know of someone who flew off the alpine slide? actually, this same person also threw up on the Round Up at 6 flags. she was at the top of the ring. how unfortunate for the dude who was 180 degrees away from her.

  2. action park is great - who doesn't know of someone at their school who fell of the alpine slide. actually this same person also threw up on the Round Up at 6 Flags. (she was at the top of the ring tilted vertically. how unfortunate for the guy who was standing 180 degrees away from her.)