Got a kid who loves construction vehicles and all things big rig? You need to check out Diggerland and “Terrific Trucks,” premiering today on Sprout at 9am. Here’s the 411 on both.
Last week we were invited to Diggerland as Sprout’s guests, to learn about and celebrate the launch of their newest original series “Terrific Trucks.” After spending some time in the construction themed park, we got to watch a sneak preview of the show.
If you’re unfamiliar with Sprout, it’s NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment’s 24-hour preschool network, an absolute godsend for parents of children of a certain age. Not only are the shows age appropriate all day long, but they’re also gentle, educational, and time appropriate. What do I mean by that? I mean that when you’ve got a 6 year old and a 3 year old suddenly sick with the flu at 2am, and you need to get some sleep so you can function the next day, you can put on Sprout and not feel guilty about it: the shows will be safe viewing, the programming tends to be “sleepier” at that hour (when my kids were that age, it meant Little Bear as opposed to something that would have them singing and jumping around), and you won’t be prompted to change DVDs or Netflix shows in 45 minutes.
Anyway. Back to “Terrific Trucks.”
“Terrific Trucks” is a live action half-hour series that features five real trucks—Tork (dump truck), Dug (digger), Sparky (front end loader), Stotz (semi) and Blinker (scooper) in a real world setting, with cameo voices from cool people and celebrity parents Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard. It gets up close and personal with these real trucks doing real work, and each episode explores a real world problem that takes teamwork to solve. Kids will love seeing the construction vehicles in action.
The episode we watched also featured a scene where they all got washed off at the end of the day, which I found oddly enthralling. The show is filmed at a quarry outside Toronto and airs Saturdays at 9am.
For more terrific truck action, download the Sprout Playground app and play Terrific Trucks Get Truckin’—a new, free interactive game available exclusively within the app. Or, you can check out the HTML5 games on SproutOnline.
Now let’s talk Diggerland!
Diggerland is a construction themed amusement park located in West Berlin, NJ next to the Sahara Sam’s waterpark (you can read our Sahara Sam’s review here). It is, no joke, a truck-loving kid’s dream, but we figured out very quickly that knowing a few things and planning ahead makes for a much more enjoyable experience for all.
At Diggerland, you actually get to operate real construction vehicles. Sometimes this means doing things like digging, sometimes it means driving through a course. There are also rides that take you way, wayyyyy up high or around in a circle, and a couple where many people can pile on at once and a Diggerland employee drives around the park.
The ones that you operate yourself mean that only one or two people are on each one at a time, which means the lines can grow long (to be fair, your time on the “ride” is pretty satisfactorily long as well). Arrive early and go on these rides first before the park gets busy.
Also, make good use of your map. Diggerland is bigger than you think at first glance; there are rides tucked away at the edges. Have your kids take a look at the attractions and make a plan before you go.
Diggerland is hot.
I joked that this was to make the park a more authentic experience: with no cover to speak of, lots of metal and asphalt, and big vehicles at work, construction sites are hot. Diggerland replicates those conditions and it’s not shocking that the place is hot; even more so when you’re in a vehicle.
There are fans throughout the park that mist water, as well as umbrellas to provide a bit of shade, and those do help, but be aware you’re going to spending considerable time in lines. SUNSCREEN AND LOTS OF IT. Arrive when the park opens. Hydrate: you’re permitted to bring one unopened bottle of water into the park and there are water fountains for refilling. Wear loose clothing.
But don’t wear sandals
In addition to the construction vehicle rides, there is a rock climbing wall and an up-high obstacle course that involves clipping into a harness. You need to wear closed-toe shoes to go on these. If your kid isn’t tall enough to go by themselves, you will also need to be wearing closed toe shoes, or you will be a very disappointed child on your hands. They will probably remind you of this throughout the day.
Bring an equal number of adults and kids
The rides at Diggerland go by height. For most you need to be 36 inches to ride, for some you need to be taller. That’s to ride on an adult’s lap. To operate solo, we’re talking 48 inches or even taller, so if you have more than one kid that’s less than four feet tall you want to have multiple adults to ride with them.
There’s plenty for kids shorter than 36 inches to do, by the way, but if they’re the type of kid who’s going to get upset about being left out maybe they would be better off doing an alternate activity that day.
You can feed goats. Feeding goats never gets old.
(I can’t believe I didn’t get a picture of the goats.)
Don’t miss the stunt show!
The nice thing about Diggerland, really, is that it’s every bit as fun for adults as it is for the kids. I saw plenty of dads driving construction vehicles solo. My favorite bit, though, was watching diggers doing wheelies and other tricks (while thinking, man, that does not look safe).
Save when you go before July 31st
Use my discount code DELTODO to save $6 off the price of admission at Diggerland OR Sahara Sam’s before July 31st. Parking is free, which is awesome, and you can come and go to the park (you’re given a wristband). So pack a lunch and save even more that way.
Diggerland is probably about 30 minutes from Philly, or a solid hour from the Delaware Memorial Bridge. They do birthday parties. They have events just for adults. They have annual memberships that are very fairly priced (right now, $49.95 and $59.95). You can read about all of that on the Diggerland USA website.