Diggerland USA lets kids get their hands on a JCB excavator and more
The first construction-themed adventure park in the United States is set to open next week. Based on the four UK parks of the same name, Diggerland USA offers visitors the opportunity to operate heavy machinery such as excavators and backhoes in a safe, family-friendly environment.
Opening on June 14, Diggerland covers close to 6 hectares of land in Camden County, New Jersey, and features 23 on-site attractions — most of which are made from modified JCB heavy construction equipment.
Unlike a more intense heavy equipment playground in Las Vegas called Dig This, Diggerland caters to both kids and adults. If you’re over 1.2m (4ft) tall you can drive a backhoe around a course with the help of a staff member, dig in sand piles with a 7-tonne excavator, spin at high speed strapped to the bucket of a specially designed earthmover, or take things a bit easier in the digger-themed carousel.
Just as the UK Diggerland Adventure Parks were the brainchild of Hugh Edeleanu, Chairman of HE Services, the largest supplier of digging construction machinery for hire in Europe, the US park has been built by the Girlya family, which owns and operates construction contractor SAMBE General Contracting.
Family member Ilya Girlya also happens to be CEO of Sahara Sam’s Oasis, a next-door indoor and outdoor water park, so the project was built with experience in all aspects of the venture.
"The opportunity to take the concept of a construction theme park and make it our own was very exciting for us," Girlya says. "My family has a very personal connection to the project, just as we did with Sahara Sam’s five years ago. Construction has been in my family for many years so it was a natural fit for us to build a construction theme park."
Amazingly, the park was only given the go-ahead late last year.
"Six months ago we returned from the United Kingdom and concurred that this was a project that would be a huge success," Director of PR and Marketing Chris Peters says. "The pace at which this park has come together is unheard of. It’s been a remarkable experience working with this team, our partners in the UK, and a five-star global equipment manufacturer like JCB."
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