New Jersey

One Tank Trip: Diggerland USA

One Tank Trip: Diggerland USA

WEST BERLIN, N.J. - We pass them on our daily travels, but you can't just walk onto a construction site and check out all the equipment.

You can, however, get behind the wheel of a backhoe at a unique site in New Jersey.

Diggerland USA is a construction theme park in West Berlin is a place where kids can operate real machinery. Modifications are made for safety's sake.

The idea came from parks in the United Kingdom. The only one in the U.S. has 15 acres, 23 attractions and more than 50 pieces of equipment that use a lot of diesel.

"Definitely construction colors. We say that we bleed yellow here now," said Ilya Girlya, president, Diggerland USA.

On the backhoe adventure, you can get behind the wheel of a JCB 3CX backhoe and drive it around a simulated job site.

"Where else can you drive a backhoe and kinda go up and down hills and experience what that's like in the real world," Girlya said.

What you won't see in the "real world" is a backhoe doing wheelies and donuts on a dirt track, but that is part of the construction stunt show.

Thrill seekers can hop on the Spin Dizzy, which is a 20-ton excavator that spins you around.

If you like heights, the Sky Shuttle booms you up 55 feet in the air.  

"When you're up there and you get a slight gust of wind, the immediate sensation is that you're going to tip over because you feel like you're over the front of a machine," said Girlya.

The shuttle keeps you up there for a while. It's a good place to survey the rest of the park and see what you want to do next.

"I think they appreciate maybe the skill set that it takes to operate this machinery. They may actually like the trade," Girlya said.


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