“[At] 6 years and older, they can operate by themselves,” founder and owner Ed Mumm said. “They’re supervised by an instructor. This is on real equipment.” Children as young as 3 can have a go, provided they are with an adult.
Billed as the World’s Heavy Equipment Playground, Dig This has been bringing out the inner child in adults for eight years, adding a dedicated Kids Digs area in mid-February.
Toddlers can sit on Mom or Dad’s lap as 1.5-ton side-by-side diggers spring into action, lifting gravel from a lot to dig holes in the earth or use giant, mechanical shovels to pluck plastic ducks out of a pond. The tracks on the kiddie machines have been rendered immobile so the vehicles never move.
Grownups, however, can operate bulldozers and 30,000-pound excavators that do move.
“A lot of us never really grew up out of our sandboxes. There’s always been that want and desire to continue to play on heavy equipment, but this time it’s for real,” Mumm said. “You’d be amazed at how many people want to enjoy the thrill of operating heavy equipment.”
Mumm said his adult guests are equally divided between men and women. Before being let loose to roam across five acres of desert, visitors learn how to operate various pieces of equipment.
“We get people up and running in five to 10 minutes,” he said.
And there’s something called an Aggression Session, the ultimate stress reliever. For $650, visitors spend a half hour using a 15-ton excavator to smash a perfectly good car to smithereens. “It’s quite therapeutic for a lot of people,” Mumm said.