A theme park opening next month in New Jersey will let kids, and adults, move some earth with excavating equipment.
The owners of Diggerland USA outside Philadelphia say it’s the first theme park of its kind in the U.S., though many of its plans are based on four similar parks in the United Kingdom. Unlike a more intense heavy equipment playground in Las Vegas called Dig This, Diggerland caters to kids as well as adults.
Visitors who are at least 4 feet tall can take a turn driving a backhoe around a course with the help of a staff member or they can dig in sand piles with a 7-ton excavator.
Besides letting customers dig, the park also has the Spin Dizzy, a ride where passengers can spin at high speed strapped into the bucket of a specially designed earth-mover or go around more slowly in a digger-themed carousel.
The machines are the real thing, not miniatures or replicas. But they are modified to limit their functionality — and danger.
The machines used for digging are not able to be driven. Those that can be driven have safeguards so they won’t go too fast. And park employees can remotely shut down the machines.
The new theme park is set to open June 14, and full-day tickets are $35.