I never actually went to Action Park — the infamously dangerous 80’s-era amusement park in Vernon Township, New Jersey. But the name alone conjures childhood memories because it was a perennial source of rumors and urban legends for kids at the time. (And we all lived a few hours away in Eastern Long Island.) I remember the commercials too.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard the name mentioned since that time. (The park closed in 1996, in part because of the same recession that was giving my generation so much anxiety in our first post-college job searches.)
So I was surprised when a friend in Britain, of all places, sent me the first video below. Not only does Action Park’s infamy live on, it extends across the Atlantic.
Anyway, it turns out that the park was one dangerous place. There was even a 2020 documentary about it on HBO Max.
This is a place in Queens that my siblings remember, even if I don’t — the “Adventurer’s Inn” amusement park off the Whitestone Expressway on Linden Place (the College Point area). The park had a bit of a turbulent history, and actually went by a number of names between its opening in the 1950’s and when it closed in 1978. (Somewhat confusingly, it was once called “The Great Adventure Amusement Park,” but it had no connection with the Six Flags Great Adventure megapark that opened in 1974 in New Jersey.)
There are still plenty of people out there who remember “Adventurer’s Inn,” as evidenced by the websites you can find about it. One that I really like is Todd Berkun’s “LI & NY Places that are no more.”
I myself had no clue. I certainly passed the site occasionally when I lived in New York, but I had no idea it was a place my parents took us when we were kids. Any remnants of the park have long since been razed; the College Point Multiplex now occupies the site (not far from The New York Times distribution center).