Would you allow your kids to visit this theme park?
There’s no denying that kids love construction toys, from big yellow trucks to plastic hammers to pretend screwdrivers.
Uber-popular shows like “Bob the Builder” and “Handy Manny” let kids enjoy these activities from the safety of their own couch.
But now, construction-themed amusement parks are literally putting kids in the driver’s seat.
Diggerland, a New Jersey theme park that also has locations in the United Kingdom, allows children to operate heavy machinery all on their own.
And most of these machines are real, diesel-powered, full-sized pieces of construction equipment, including backhoes, excavators and much, much more.
If you’re thinking this sounds crazy, according to the theme park website, their machinery is safe for kids.
“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,” it says on the site.
You can buy an annual pass for $54.95 or a single-day ticket for $28.95 to $36.95.
“Diggerland USA is the only construction themed adventure park in North America where children and families can drive, ride and operate ACTUAL machinery,” according to the Diggerland website.
“The majority of which are real, diesel powered, full size, pieces of construction equipment.”
The park covers 14 acres and features 25 separate attractions.
However, not all parents are on board. While the construction equipment at Diggerland has been modified for children to use safely, some people fear it might make children think they can play with equipment on real construction sites.
In fact, in 2014, teenagers in the United Kingdom stole heavy machinery from a company that provides equipment to Diggerland.
The owner of the theme park had this to say, “The machines that were stolen are incredibly dangerous, and the perpetrator’s reckless behaviour has risked both their own and other people’s lives.”
Thankfully, the teens were apprehended before they or anyone else was harmed.
However, it raised some eyebrows among parents and those in the construction business who want kids to view heavy machinery as dangerous equipment that should be used by adults only, rather than as toys that can be used for a joy-ride.
No children have been harmed at Diggerland to date, and the theme park is committed to safety, the copy on the site reading that “Diggerland undertakes a full Health & Safety audit annually, in addition to regular audits carried out by Health & Safety consultants.”
What do you think?
Would you let your kids operate heavy machinery if it had been modified to be safe for their use?
Or do you think it teaches them to take risks on construction sites?