This past weekend I was invited to Diggerland USA to celebrate the partnership between them and Activation React. Our day started with a press conference before the park opened and then we were able to stay and enjoy the park with our families courtesy of Diggerland.
About Activation ReACT
I am so proud of my friend Elizabeth. She has always had a dream of launching a non-profit that will help others in need. This is something she has thought on for quite some time and she has made her dream come true in Activation ReACT. Whenever there is a disaster of any sort, Elizabeth is always the first one to say “what can we do?” Her philosophy is a pretty simple one; We, as one, may not be able to change the world on our own, but we can each do something. It doesn’t matter how young or old you are, find your talents and put them to use. In other words, ACT! Involve the kids whenever possible and teach them about what it means to help others, and most importantly, don’t wait for a disaster to strike to teach this lesson.
About Diggerland USA
Diggerland USA is the first amusement park of its kind here in the United States. We are super excited that it is here right in New Jersey! I wish that this place existed when my oldest was a toddler, he would have been in his fantasy land with all the construction vehicles! You see, Diggerland isn’t your typical amusement park full of traditional rides. Rather, it looks more like a construction site, complete with working construction vehicles. Visitors get the opportunity to operate these vehicles or take a spin on others that have been converted into rides! I mean, how awesome is that?!
We started our day driving a skid steer. What is a skid steer? I have no idea, but I got to drive one. I sent my daughter on first as the guinea pig. When she didn’t crash I figured the rest of us were good to go. Yes, I have good parenting skills like that 😉 In all seriousness though, she was the first one to run on. She couldn’t wait. For me, watching my daughter take control of construction machinery was one of the best parts of the day.
My boys decided to take on the tallest ropes course in the world which is located right here at Diggerland. This is a regular attraction and there is no additional fee like at many other places. I held my breath a few times as I saw my boys climb 4 stories on ropes, beams, and moving steps. Then I had a crazy idea. Maybe I should give it a try. I conned Elizabeth into doing it with me. Here is where I have to admit that I’m not so brave after all. Elizabeth scaled to the top. I walked across two obstacles on the first level and came back down.
All three of my kids loved the rock wall. I decided to stay on the ground and just take pictures.
Take a look at two of my kids’ favorite attractions: operating the giant diggers and riding the spin dizzy.
We had a really fun day checking out all the attractions and trying our hand at operating heavy equipment. I loved a few things about Diggerland other than the rides. There are plenty of places to sit if you choose not to get on the rides with the kiddos. Many of these spots are shaded too! All of the staff I encountered was very friendly, and pretty attentive to manning their attraction. They tried to encourage participation rather than passive watching too, inviting me on when I chose to take pictures instead of riding. For the little ones who don’t meet the 36″ height requirement to ride, they not only get in free but they have an awesome playground that they can play on!
I have to be honest and say that not everything was perfect. On the rides that allow you to actually drive the equipment, lines get backed up easily. When adults are driving, the line goes pretty fast. When kids are driving and encounter “crashes” or other operational issues, it slows down the ride and the lines. Another issue is that the black seats get hot in the sun. Being that we were visiting in summer and were wearing shorts, it didn’t feel so great sitting down on a burning hot seat. A big fail of the park is the concessions. Not only were the prices among the most outrageously priced that I’ve ever seen at an amusement park, they just could not get the food out in a timely manner. We waited 30 minutes for an order of pretzels, nachos, and a grilled cheese sandwich. 30 minutes! I could have gone to the store and grilled my own sandwich in that time. The folks around me were losing their patience quickly. When the manager took a minute to speak to one of the cranky (and hungry) patrons, he had no excuse for it. Watching through the window, it just appeared that they had an extremely inefficient system going on. The employees just didn’t seem to know how to put an order together and nothing was coming off the grill fast enough. I’ll forgive them for this since they have not been open long and hope that they can work out the kinks but I assure you that if I ever return, I’ll be packing my own lunch to eat in the car or run down the road to one of the many area restaurants.
Thank you to Activation ReACT and Diggerland for a fun day where we could celebrate new beginnings for both organizations and a wonderful partnership. I was honored to be a part of such a special day.