Diggerland USA is a construction-themed adventure park geared toward all truck lovers. Kids—the biggest construction vehicle enthusiasts—can ride in and operate excavators, backhoes, and loaders.
There are thrill parks, water parks, and even aerial adventure parks, but have you ever heard of a construction-themed adventure park? Enter Diggerland USA, which opened its doors in West Berlin, NJ, last June. The first of its kind in the U.S., this park takes construction machinery and turns it into rides and attractions. Has your kid ever wanted to operate an excavator, tractor, or battle truck? You can do all that and more at Diggerland. Here’s how to make the most of your outdoor digging experience.
Get behind the wheel of the JCB Robot Skidsteer Loader 135 and negotiate your way through the obstacle course.
The park is open March through December, and weather is not a major factor because most of the attractions are enclosed. There are more than 20 rides for kids and their families. One of the most popular rides for thrill seekers is Spin Dizzy, in which passengers sit in a 20-ton excavator, are elevated into the air, and are spun around in circles. For those who want to drive and operate vehicles, Backhoe Adventure lets groups of three take turns driving a JCB 3CX backhoe through an obstacle course. There are also opportunities to drive mini, big, and midi excavators, skid-steers, dumper trucks, and mini land rovers.
The popular Spin Dizzy is a specially designed excavator. You’ll sit in the bucket while an operator spins you in circles.
For a break from rides, Diggerland also has daily equipment stunt shows featuring a group called the Dancing Diggers, who travel around the world performing tricks using heavy machinery (think wheelies, 360-degree spins, and other stunts). And don’t miss Diggerland’s duo of Nigerian dwarf goats, Doug and Dozer, who have their own living space and live webcam.
Note that kids must be at least 36 inches (3 feet) tall to ride the attractions (a few have a 42-inch height minimum). Kids shorter than 36 inches can still enjoy the KidZone and Excavation Center Arcade.
Drive a Mini-Land Rover around the kid-friendly course (must be 42-55 inches tall to drive).
Though Diggerland opened last year, it has already established some annual traditions.
In June, the SAMBULANCE Safety Squad is sponsoring an evening event called SAND: Special Abilities Night at Diggerland. Special needs families are invited to Diggerland and the attractions will be modified with reduced lights and noise, operational accommodations, and earplugs upon request. On Father’s Day, dads can enter the park for free with a paid child admission. There will also be a Hat Benefit—the first 150 guests who donate a used baseball cap will receive a special JCB Heavy Machinery cap.
Climb inside the cab of a modified JCB 3CX backhoe and take turns behind the wheel of this massive machine.
In September, Diggerland hosts a Touch-a-Truck Benefit in partnership with the SAMBULANCE Safety Squad, a nonprofit that provides educational programming to schools and groups who help kids with special needs. Community organizations with large trucks, such as the fire department or machinery contractors, will bring their vehicles for attendees to see. The event will have a sensory-friendly hour, so all kids can enjoy the experience.
In October, there’s Digger Fest with fall festival activities throughout the month. Families can go on hayrides, visit a pumpkin patch, and participate in costume contests on the weekends. During Halloween weekend, the Dancing Diggers will perform a spooky-themed stunt show.
Parents, you can take the wheel of a 14,000-pound JCB 8065 midi excavator (lap riders must be at least 3 feet tall).
Address: 100 Pinedge Drive, West Berlin, NJ
Hours: Mid-March to June 7: weekends, 11am-6pm. June 13 to Labor Day: daily, 10am-6pm. Sept. 12-Oct. 25: weekends, 10am-6pm. Oct. 31 to end of season: weekends, 10am-5pm.
Admission: $29.95 online; $34.95 on-site. After 2pm: $24.95 online; $26.95 on-site. Free for seniors older than 65 and kids shorter than 3 feet.
For more information: 856-768-1110. diggerlandusa.com.
Main photo: Climb inside the cab of a modified JCB 3CX backhoe and take turns behind the wheel of this massive machine.