10 NJ amusement park rides and attractions we miss
Six Flags Great Adventure today announced that its upcoming 14th "scream machine" will be named The Joker. The "4D, free-fly coaster" could open in Jackson, as soon as this spring. Last summer, Action Park reopened in Vernon, with lots of safety features amid the thrills.
What a time to be alive for adrenaline junkies! It all makes me a little nostalgic for some of those Jersey rides we look back on, shaking our heads with a chuckle. The kind that our older, wiser selves might not let our younger versions ever step foot on, in the first place. Those rides rocked!
1. The Alpine Slide, old Action Park (Vernon)
What could possibly go wrong, with each person on a separate sled, hurling down a winding concrete track?
(This has been replaced at 'new' Action Park by the Alpine Mountain Coaster)
2. The Tarzan Swing, old Action Park (Vernon)
Hang onto a rope, and hurl yourself just like Tarzan in the movies, into a waiting pool of water. Only, it takes a lot of upper body strength. As a kid, I kind of plopped into the frigid water below. Others belly-flopped with such gusto, they may still be feeling the effects.
(The Swings are at 'new' Action Park- but with padding and a much handier grip on that line. Maybe I'd make it further out!)
3. Batman & Robin: The Chiller, Six Flags Great Adventure (Jackson)
From the outside, this dual track coaster looked cool and exciting. Once you sat down, I remember seeing spots and trying to keep my head from slamming into the seat and safety harness.
4. Lightning Loops, Six Flags Great Adventure (Jackson)
By the time many of my peers got to ride this one, it was just "Lightning Loop" - singular, after an unfortunate death involving the "blue" side of the double track roller coaster. The red Loop rocketed frontward and backward, until the early 90s. This is what was taken down to make room for Batman: The Ride, which is still a favorite!
Honorable mention at Six Flags: Shockwave (the standup coaster that didn’t last long).
5. Jet Star Roller Coaster, Casino Pier (Seaside Heights)
Curse you again, Superstorm Sandy! This oceanfront coaster thrilled generations of fans, until famously being ripped from the boardwalk in 2012. (FYI, like a "PG" pirate, this camera guy posted below uses some mildly salty language.)
It was reduced to this:
Casino Pier last year unveiled its phoenix rising from the ashes of the Jet Star... a new spinning ride, dubbed Super Storm.
Other old Jersey amusements were much less dangerous-- maybe that's why they were favorites:
6. The Golden Nugget Ride, Morey's Pier (Wildwood)
This Wild West themed, mine car ride was around for years on Hunt's Pier. It went through a rough "Dinosaur Beach" patch in the late 90's, before a classy sendoff by Morey's. The ride's been given a second life in central Pennsylvania.
7. Giant Slide, Morey's Piers (Wildwood)
It was a big farewell in 2010 to "Wipeout", which had been Morey's Piers first attraction. It lasted for 43 years on the Wildwood Boardwalk. Instead, there's now a Wipeout six-lane slide at the pier's water park.
8. The old Wild Safari, Great Adventure’s animal park (Jackson)
If you ever drove through with the family car, there’s a good chance you have a monkey story. Whether they did some damage to a soft-top, or took a bathroom break on a windshield (ew), it was memorable. The newly revamped “Safari Off Road Adventure” is definitely an upgrade- as evidenced by the long lines!
9. Tivoli Plunge coaster at Tivoli Pier, Atlantic City
Many south Jersey folks have fond memories of riding this smaller steel coaster in the 80’s and 90’s, at the old TropWorld casino (now the Tropicana). The other big ride was a ferris wheel. In hindsight, given today’s food allergies, maybe the barrels full of peanuts at the Red Lips Saloon were the most dangerous attraction.
10. Mini-golf at Bowcraft Amusement Park (Scotch Plains)
Well before the days of 'Monster Golf", this was the seasonal “go to” place for family “putting” around Union County in the 80’s. Nothing quite like a few holes of mini golf, just off scenic Route 22. The course eventually was canned to make room for other attractions and more parking.
Have some close-call memories from old "Traction" Park? Or another "wish it was still around" Jersey ride? Share them below!
Erin Vogt is a lifelong Jersey Girl, whose first reporting gig involved her Fisher Price tape recorder. As a wife and momma of two kiddies, she firmly believes that life’s too short to drink bad coffee. A fan of the beach, Dave Grohl and karma, in no particular order.