Diggerland USA Opens

A theme park opening next month in New Jersey will let kids, and adults, move some earth with REAL excavating equipment.

The owners of Diggerland USA outside Philadelphia say it’s the first theme park of its kind in the US, 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 both kids and 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 sevon-tonne excavator. Besides letting customers dig, the park also has the Spindizzy, a ride where passengers can spin at high speed strapped to the bucket of a specially designed earth-mover or go more slowly in the Dig-a-Round, 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 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 Jersey park is owned by Ilya Girlya and his family, who also run a nearby water park. The new Diggerland theme park is set to open June 14, and full-day tickets are $35. Other attractions include standard carnival games re-imagined, including a duck pond and a bowling game using a small excavator.