Excavators, dump trucks, bulldozers — all kids seem to have a deep fascination with these huge machines that turn up the earth and help build cities from the ground up. And while most of their admiration is usually done from the sidelines, there's a park that will put them up close and personal with these powerful machines. Diggerland is the theme park of your truck-obsessed kid's dreams, and you won't want to miss the chance to visit.
Diggerland, located in West Berlin, New Jersey, is described as a "construction adventure" land where you can drive, ride, and operate heavy machinery in a safe family-friendly environment, according to the park's website.
"Each machine has undergone advanced engineering modifications which make them safe for the public, allowing children as small as 36 inches to operate with little to no instruction," the park notes on its website, as per Swifty.
The park has over 25 attractions comprised of all kinds of construction-related equipment, according to Construction Equipment Guide.
And most of them are really unique (and look like a whole bunch of fun). There's the Spin Dizzy that takes riders for a spin in a hydraulic excavator, or the Sky Shuttle, which takes visitors to high up in the air for a view of the entire park.
More adventurous rides include an off-roading adventure on Rugged Riders and the Greased Beast, which takes passengers on a simulated dump from the hopper of steel demolition trailer.
For the little ones, there are micro diggers that let kids sift through sand to find buried treasure, a construction-themed video arcade, and a barrel train pulled by a compact tractor.
Think all the fun is just for kids? Diggerland also offers a Diggerland XL version of the park, which is only available to adults, according to New Jersey Monthly.
So what, exactly, is it about trucks and machinery that makes kids go nuts?
It's all about learning how things work — that, and big machines are cool.
Playing with toy trucks and cars can help kids develop cognitively and physically by exercising their fine gross and motor skills, according to Fatherly.
"The toy car allows true hands-on learning. You’re not just watching a show and learning about trajectory or buoyancy, but now you’re literally experiencing it," Dr. J. Alison Bryant, founder of PlayScience, told Fatherly. "It’s the tactile, visual, sensory learning of doing. And we know that, for STEM skills, the best way to learn is through doing."
So it seems as though their love of trucks is actually doing them some real good.
Tickets can be purchased online for a specific date, starting at $29.95 for kids under 42 inches tall (because they can't ride all the rides alone yet), and $34.95 for those above. And, an individual annual membership is just $54.95. You can also buy tickets for a non-specific date for $38.95 apiece.
The park open March through early December, but times and dates vary.
So the next time your kid rushes to watch the trash truck go by, or asks you to stop and watch a firetruck unload, do it. Trucks are fun. Big machines are fun. Just ask the kids at Diggerland. They know where to find it.