In full disclosure, we were provided tickets to Diggerland in exchange for our honest review.
Last year, when the whispers began about a construction themed amusement park opening in NJ, we knew we had to visit! As the parent who has read “Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site” a thousand times in the span of a week and watched every episode of Bob the Builder TV series, Diggerland is a mandatory visit. My husband and I were more than happy to make the trek with our family one sunny day this summer.
Diggerland spans over 14 acres and includes over 23 attractions with the highlight being the opportunity for kids to drive big, medium, and mini diggers as well as skid-steers and dumper trucks (just to name a few). Diggerland is unique in the United States in that children ride and in some instances maneuver construction vehicles all on their own. The premise is perfect! Children’s dreams are coming true as they lift the bucket on a backhoe and drive a dumper truck.
Mommy University Presents
5 Benefits for Visiting Diggerland
Introduces STEM Concepts
Diggerland is an engaging and fun opportunity for children to be exposed to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Amusement parks are usually a field trip that Physics’ students take to see a real life and entertaining realization of the skills they have learned. Since Diggerland is a construction themed amusement park, it has an additional layer attached to the educational fun. For example, mathematics relate to speed the vehicles can travel. Since most construction vehicles do not move quickly it is interesting to see the JCB GT, which is the fastest backhoe, in action. Engineering is laced throughout the rides as you are spun around in the Spin Dizzy or lifted and driven around in the Ground Shuttle.
Enhances Motor Skills
Since there are height requirements for most of the rides, it can be challenging for a child that doesn’t reach 36” inches in height but Diggerland has a beautiful playground where children can climb, grab and slide to exhaustion. Adjacent to the playground for older and more agile is a Rock Wall. Strong muscles and coordination are required for this challenge as well as the Ropes Course which is another option for children. There are plenty of opportunities for kids to enhance their motor skills as well as coordination and balance.
Encourages Strong Hand-Eye Coordination
Have you ever maneuvered a digger? After trying to use a Big Digger with my daughter on my lap, I can say it is definitely challenging. There are several levers and it requires strong hand-eye coordination to select the right one at the right time for the effect that you are seeking. My son loved just swinging the bucket on the Mini Digger which he was able to do alone. Your brain is assimilating all this information into making decisions about when to use a specific lever. Children will enjoy the challenges of handling this machine or the Skid-Steers and even the Mini Land Rovers. It also reinforces concepts of cause and effect as they press the gas, brakes and throttle.
Enhances Language Development
We love language development on our lists due to the basic premise that we constantly want to use words to express ourselves as models for our children. Read the signs out loud while you wait to take a ride, but there is also some high-end vocabulary words to be consumed at Diggerland. Amphibious? My son knows it refers to the new acquisition at Diggerland, the Argos, which can ride on land and water. We discussed how frogs are amphibious, and now he is proud to know there are vehicles as well.
Throttle? Our driver on the Backhoe Adventure was asked by my four-year old son what the handle did, and he demonstrated by allowing us to press it. My son was able to see a word come to life as he stated, “it gives the engine more power.” It is one thing to read about concepts but to have them come alive transcends a whole new understanding.
Teaches Safety Concepts
Children learn from adults who model behavior and I am completely impressed with the time and care that the employees at Diggerland displayed. Patiently they would explain how to use the vehicles or answer questions from the guests. While on the Sky Shuttle, the man sitting next to me asked interesting questions and the employee did well answering all of them. In fact, I learned that the Sky Shuttle can reach up to 64’ high but they adjust how high it can go based on weather conditions. Each ride is labeled with the height requirements necessary to ride alone or with an adult or on the lap of an adult. Seatbelts were always checked on each ride which emphasized to myself and my children safety is paramount.
Diggerland is located in West Berlin, New Jersey next to Sahara Sam’s Oasis and Waterpark. Children under 36” are not charged an entrance fee however 36” is the minimum height to participate in Diggerland attractions. There are height requirements to ride alone, with an adult, maneuver the vehicles or go on the rides. With that said, Diggerland has a decent size playground in Kid Zone where kids that do not meet the height requirement can play. There is also the Barrel Train which the little ones can enjoy. I recommend checking the website before you go to know which rides may require an adult present to assist.
When we left Diggerland, my son offered his high stamp of approval as he insisted that we had to return. It is not surprising as he experienced what he reads about in his favorite books. Since we didn’t get to see any of the stunt shows that are sometimes offered at Diggerland, he is absolutely right, we have to visit again! For a four-year old to have a dream come true is amazing, and we are lucky that many children can experience this in New Jersey!