The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Construction-themed park opening next month will let kids - and grown-ups - move some earth

  • Print

WEST BERLIN, N.J. - 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 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 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 Jersey park is owned by Ilya Girlya and his family, who also run a nearby water park. The new theme park is set to open June 14, and full-day tickets are $35. It does not cost extra to go on any individual rides.

At a preview event Thursday, the Spin Dizzy zipped in quick circles; its starts and stops were as jerky as earth-moving equipment is.

Unlike most spinning amusement rides, the operator also spins in circles. Park marketing director Chris Peters said that adds a requirement for the job: The workers who do it can't get woozy from spinning in circles.

Lisa Rupertus, from Pine Hill, took her 3-year-old son Jace on the Dig-Around, for a spin on the carousel. Jace, whose T-shirt said "I make dirt look good," is perhaps at the target age for excavation infatuation.

"He's very excited," Lisa Rupertus said, pointing to her other sons. "So is my 13-year-old and my 11-year-old."

Other attractions include standard carnival games reimagined, including a duck pond and a bowling game using a small excavator.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

The Folk Festival Experience 2014

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A young gosling prepares to eat dandelions on King Edward St Thursday morning-See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge- Day 17- bonus - May 24, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Aerial view of Portage and Main, The Esplanade Riel, Provencher Bridge over the Red River, The Canadian Museum for Human Rights and The Forks near the Assiniboine River, October 21st, 2011. (TREVOR HAGAN/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS) CMHR

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Will you miss Grandma Elm?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google