Imagine you are a kid again, and someone told you that you could drive a real construction vehicle. As in, you could get behind the wheel with no training, seatbelt yourself in, and take it for a spin. If you're anything like us, your child-self would be going nuts. Statements like: "COOL!!" and "No way!!" and "Best birthday gift everrrrrrrrr!!" come to mind. Now imagine you are your present self (really stretching the imagination right here). Something tells us that a lot of those reactions would be the same. The urge to do things we thought were awesome when we were kids usually doesn't go away - we just learn that most people don't actually get to do those things. Well, we have some good news: you can actually drive a real construction truck - the kind you thought were so cool when you were a kid (and secretly think are pretty cool now). Not only can you take them for a spin (and dig with them and take thrill rides with them), but your kids and your grandkids can do it too!
Diggerland USA just opened last summer in West Berlin, NJ after a whirlwind planning and building process that only started in January (yes, they built the entire adventure park in six months!). A sister park of the already popular Sahara Sam's Oasis: Indoor and Outdoor Waterpark, Diggerland is the first of it's kind in North America. The company took real JCB construction trucks (with the support of Farm-Rite, Inc) and turned them into crazy rides and fun entertainment.
For our first actual ride, we just had to check out the Spin Dizzy. You can see this thing whipping around from the parking lot, and you either think, "Can't wait to do THAT!" or, "not doing THAT!" You get strapped into this huge digger, and then it hoists you up a little and starts to spin. Just when you're thinking what a kid's ride this is, the Spin Dizzy really really picks up speed (the kind of speed that gives you that thrill ride feeling in your stomach) and tilts, giving you a great look at the ground below you. After a couple of times around in both directions, we highly recommend giving yourself a few minutes before you try to work any of the construction equipment. We admit it - we were very impressed with the Spin Dizzy.
There are a lot of other fantastic rides to choose from. Some are more tame and some are more thrilling, but they are all just plain fun. The Sky Shuttle takes visitors 50 feet in the air, giving a wonderful view of the entire park (and a great place to discuss everything you want to do next). Meanwhile, the Ground Shuttle hovers at only 6 and 1/2 feet in the area and bounces you around some sandy terrain. Operation Battle Truck and the Excavator Express are great rides for your whole group to take together. The various Diggers are also fantastic for a wide variety of ages. Practice your digging skills and try not to let it bother you when the 8 year old next to you digs his brick out of the dirt first.
height requirements for the attractions. Only the arcade and the Kids Zone have no minimum requirement.
Backhoe Brandon, gets the vehicle to do some pretty insane things (wheelies anyone?). This was definitely one of the highlights of our day there. We also got to meet the dinosaur mascots, Digger and Daisy, so be on the lookout for them.
Our most favorite part of our day at Diggerland was seeing the grandparents and parents ride these powerful vehicles with small children sitting on their laps steering. You could tell that they were thrilled to not only do something that they've always wanted to do, but they were getting to share it with a child that they loved. Before we left, we watched a grandfather patiently helping his little grandson around the Skid-Steer course, both grinning away and having a great time. Buckets of fun for everyone? Definitely!
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