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Kids Operate Construction Equipment At New Jersey Theme Park

A young visitor at Diggerland operates construction equipment. (Credit: Mike DeNardo)

A young visitor at Diggerland operates construction equipment. (Credit: Mike DeNardo)

Mike DeNardo Mike DeNardo
Mike DeNardo, a veteran of KYW Newsradio for more than 25 years,...
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By Mike DeNardo

BERLIN, NJ (CBS) – A new, construction-themed amusement park in South Jersey lets kids operate heavy equipment.

“Scoop it up. There you go!” Pamela Kromar of Rockland County, New York is helping her son Luke dig holes with an actual excavator, at Diggerland USA in Berlin Township.

“It was very cool. My boys are obsessed with construction trucks and all this stuff, and the dirtier the better for them!”

Joe Gamble of Northeast Philly watched his son Aidan at the wheel of an excavator, “This is the real thing. This is what he wants to do at construction sites when you’re not allowed,” but you’re allowed at Diggerland.

Trained attendants watch as kids operate the modified equipment, says co-president Ilya Girlya,     “We’ve got a lot of engineering that we’ve spent on sort of toning down the equipment to make sure that that was safe for people to operate.”

Ilya Girlya (left) and brother Yan Girlya, co-presidents of Diggerland USA. (Credit: Mike DeNardo)

Ilya Girlya (left) and brother Yan Girlya, co-presidents of Diggerland USA. (Credit: Mike DeNardo)

Girlya, who owns neighboring Sahara Sam’s, brought the concept to the U.S. from the U.K.

“Boys and girls get to operate real construction machinery in a safe, contained setting.”

Girlya says Diggerland isn’t just for boys. He’s surprised at how much moms and grandmoms enjoy operating heavy equipment.

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