The most dangerous amusement park in US history

Forget Old Chicago…Riverview was the best:

(As long as you weren’t African American, at least.)


My parents only took me there once before it closed, my main memory is them comparing it negatively to Coney Island (they were transplanted New Yorkers).

It must have been a gas to be a Lane Tech student in the 50s and early 60s.

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Riverview was closed while I was still a toddler, so I never got a chance to visit it. I did manage to get to Old Chicago maybe two or three times while it was open. It might have had a better shot had Marriott not opened up Great America and eaten its lunch.

The closest things to an Action Park scenario in the Joliet area were the flooded quarries. Some of those were not fenced in, and had a ramp down into the water. But that was all unofficial, winked-at trespassing. That’s all been tightened up now.

Excellent video breaking down Action Park’s history:


That place sounds awesome. I would totally have gone there.

Last time I went was 94 or so, and by then, everything was pretty nerfed, sometimes literally, to the point where the attractions were still unsafe compared to any other amusement park, but somehow no longer enjoyable anymore.

The Alpine racer carts were pretty interesting since they put these signs everywhere telling you to brake and slow down, some with attendants, some not, because if you didn’t heed the warnings, you’d fly off an embankment, however, if you did heed the warnings, someone would crash into you full speed, you’d get whiplash, and go off the embankment anyways.

Fun times.


Well, there’s what Steve Goodman called the charm school.

My family used to make a pilgrimage out to Joliet every year or so to go to a particular fried chicken restaurant. Even from my father’s store on W. 63rd it was quite a slog. Now, having raised my own family, I can’t imagine going so far just for a restaurant.

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Hey, it was part of Waterworld!

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Remember, there didn’t used to be so many. And a family might only eat out at a ‘good’ restaurant a couple times a year at most. Worth making a trek.


Man, what great memories I have plodding barefoot through Action Park with my pals during the summer. I visited numerous times, as a kid. I had no idea there was so much controversy with this place. We always opted for Waterworld. For us, the Super Speed Slides, the vertical pair, of course, represented the pinnacle of bravery.

Basically, you would lean back into the slide, crossing your arms over your chest, while standing on a trap door. The attendant opened the trap door, and you would commence a near free fall, while the stream of water flowing down the slide tenderized your back. And at the end of experience you would stand and ceremoniously pull out the deepest wedgie you had ever had.


Love me some alpine slide. We have (had?) two of them in Minnesota when I was growing up (80’s) and they were great fun. Especially the one where coming around a bend on a clear day you got a fantastic look out over lake superior. They were absolutely safer when I was grade school aged. Lower center of gravity and all. Fortunately when I started to grow I also got smart enough to keep things under control.


Not my family, Mom was a foodie. Even when money was tight, any week we didn’t go out to dinner at least once was a major aberration. And while my childhood memory says that the fried chicken was pretty good at the place in Joliet, there surely were comparable places in Chicago proper, even back in the 60s.

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I remember them in Park City, Utah as well, which my family visited on a trip out west. It was a nice run down that slide, but theirs was pretty mild.

Lol…I remember Action Park very well. I went there in 1980. Luckily none of us was seriously injured or died. The stories of intoxicated guests were certainly true. Lots of beer drinking and weed smoking in the bathrooms. :drooling_face:

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It’s hard to believe that an alpine slide in a location where there’s actual… alpine… would be more tame than one in New Jersey. Maybe the people in NJ just weren’t so smart?

Action Park was great. EVERYTHING was dangerous and you simply had to have some smarts and self control to keep from getting hurt. It was an awesome park.

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The most dangerous self-amusement ‘park’ in US history: Currently… the White House.

To make it more awesome, the park let the cheap beer flow to ensure that smarts and self-control went out the window.

:musical_note:Know where to fold 'em,
Know where to run! :musical_note:

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