Our day at Diggerland USA in Berlin, NJ and 7 tips to make your visit great!
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Diggerland hosted my family for our visit in exchange for my honest review and write up of the park. Everything I publish is my own view and opinion. Diggerland did not tell me what to say or how to say it. fun things to do in new jersey with kids fun things to do in south jersey with kids things to do with kids today
Living in South Jersey, we have many opportunities for quality family fun nearby. The beach is about an hour from where I live, Philadelphia is just 15 minutes over the bridge and we’ve got a number of concert halls and arenas for special events. You know what, though? Lots of places are close to a city. Lots of towns have concert halls and arenas nearby. South Jersey, however, is the ONLY place that has Diggerland USA! You read that right – the Diggerland location in Berlin, NJ is the ONLY Diggerland location in the entire country. You guys, people come from ALL OVER the place to visit the Diggerland that is literally in our own backyard. Pretty amazing, right? Diggerland has been a pretty awesome addition to the family friendly activities in South Jersey since 2014 and, since opening, they’ve added a number of rides and experiences making the park as exciting as possible. Our family recently had the opportunity to experience Diggerland for ourselves. We had such a great day! I’m going to tell you a little bit about our experiences and then share with you 7 tips to make your visit to Diggerland great!
We all went to Diggerland on a Saturday morning in the beginning of June. While the park opened at 11, we arrived around 11:30 (after sleeping a little late!) to find plenty of parking spots available. We were able to find a spot easily and walked right into the park. One of my friends had recently visited Diggerland and had posted a video of her husband on the Soarin Eagle Zipline. After watching that video, I KNEW that I needed to go on it! This ride required a separate admission fee, but, at $6/person for non-members, the pricing did not seem bad for the type of experience we’d have. Big Dude was not interested in going on the zipline (he tends to favor more calm rides), but Little Dude was TOTALLY game! I bought tickets for it right away since I wasn’t sure how long Little Dude would agree to go on the zipline with me. We waited in line about 15 minutes and then it was our turn. Now, I will tell you, the zipline does look intimidating. In my experience, it was the “scariest” when we were being lifted up to the sky backwards – we couldn’t see behind us, so we had no idea when we would stop going up! When we finally reached the top and then released to soar back down, though…that was pretty amazing and I felt like I was flying in the sky! If the zipline was included in the regular admission, I definitely would’ve gotten back in line for a few more rides!
After going on the zipline, we explored the rest of the park. There were so many rides that all of us could go on – I was amazed. Some of the construction equipment was more difficult to maneuver than I had imagined – the professionals make it look so easy, but there definitely were a few times that I almost drove into the concrete barrier on the side. From the looks of those barriers, though, I wouldn’t have been the only one. All of the operators at the park were super friendly (I was pleasantly surprised!) and did a great job at instructing riders how to use the equipment.
We all loved that we got the chance to use real excavators to dig in the sand and dirt. From what I could tell, the excavators are anchored into the ground, so, despite my (totally rational mom) fears of letting my 5 year old operate an excavator, as long as he followed the directions that were given, he was totally safe. The diggers (all on the one side of the park) are all set on timers so that every person gets the same amount of time to use the machines – this is great for siblings because it’s all EQUAL and there won’t be any arguing that “he got more time than I did.” #momwin
After a few rides, the boys started getting hungry (when are they NOT hungry?!), so we stopped by the Lunch Pail to get some lunch for all of us. After getting our food, we walked over to one of the two dining areas (one is indoor, one is outdoor) and ate our lunches before heading out for even more rides! You guys, this was a day full of construction fun. I need to mention, too, that even though that I totally appreciated that Diggerland had all of the queue areas covered for shade and there was a good amount of benches around the park in case you need to sit down for a break. The lines moved pretty quickly and everything was pretty well organized.
We ended up staying at Diggerland until about 5pm making our visit almost 6 hours long! It was really so much fun and the boys were begging to go back in the days following our visit. We can’t wait to go back again!
And now…7 tips to make your visit to Diggerland great!
Diggerland does NOT allow outside food or beverages to be brought inside the park (with the exception of food allergies; medical, dietary, or nutritional requirements; or baby food – see their FAQs). Diggerland DOES, however, allow “one clear, unopened bottle of water per guest.” I brought a typical size bottle of water for each member of our family, but we quickly drank all that water. I did not see any water fountains and had planned on refilling the bottles at a water fountain when empty. If I had thought of this before, I would’ve stopped by the store to purchase larger single-use water bottles for each of us.
Have EVERYONE wear comfortable sneakers
This is NOT the place to be wearing your cute sandals or heels. I’m not saying that Diggerland is messy (it was very well kept when we visited!), but there’s a lot of walking and, let’s face it, it’s an amusement park with construction vehicles – closed-toed shoes are more practical when you’ll be helping your child(ren) get up and down from rides and such.
Measure your child(ren)
As a mom, I TOTALLY get that you’re going to want to take your child to Diggerland as soon as humanly possible. I mean, it IS SO COOL to be able to interact with actual construction vehicles, right?! Hold your horses, though. Many of Diggerland’s Rides & Attractions require a minimum height of 36″ to participate. Be sure to double check your child(ren)s height before you plan a visit to Diggerland so that tears and frustration can be avoided and an amazing time can be had!
Plan ahead for dining
Diggerland does offer various dining options, but, if you’d like to pack a meal in a cooler, you are allowed to exit the park and return as long as you still have your wristband on. Their parking lot is super close to the entrance and, if you use a cooler with ice packs, you could eat a meal in the parking lot if you’d like to save a few bucks and avoid waiting in lines to order food.
Ride the Sky Shuttle or the Elevation Station FIRST
These two Diggerland rides both take you way up in the sky, giving you a birds-eye-view of the park. Unless you’re afraid of heights, they’re not exactly thrill rides (like the Soarin Eagle Zipline or the Spin Dizzy), but going on these rides first will help you get a good lay of the land. Take the kids (that meet the height requirements) and have them tell you which rides look like fun. All of the ride options can be a little overwhelming while on the ground, but seeing it all at once can help to make your experience even better.
Consider purchasing a membership
Currently, Diggerland is offering one-day tickets and memberships. Prices may vary from time to time, but, from what I’ve seen, their annual memberships cost less than 2 days worth of admission for 1 person. If you’re planning on visiting Diggerland more than once in the season, you might consider purchasing a membership to get the most bang for your buck. Memberships include a variety of special offers and admission to special events in addition to general admission.
Check ahead for hours and special events
Throughout the year, Diggerland has various hours of operation and special events. In the summer, they’re open every day, but, once school is back in session, they are closed during the week. In addition, Diggerland offers a variety of themed days and special events. If there is an event you’d like to attend (or avoid), check their schedule first!
For more information on Diggerland, here’s how to reach them!
What kind of rides do you enjoy at amusement parks? Calm rides or thrill rides?