A Theme Park for Boys & Their Toys

Daily Mail: At first glance it looks like a sprawling building site. But this is actually the world's biggest digger playground - allowing grown-ups to take the controls of giant trucks in gambling capital Las Vegas.

Ed Mumm dreamed up the idea while he was using one of the enormous machines in 2004 to renovate his house in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The developer became so distracted by playing with the digger that after several days he realised that he had not done any work on the building.

But although the property took longer to finish than expected, last month Mr Mumm opened the world's largest and the U.S's first digger theme park called 'Dig This' in the glamorous city.

The attraction, around five miles west of Las Vegas Boulevard, includes among others a pair of Caterpillar D5 track-type bulldozers and three Caterpillar 315CL hydraulic excavators. Visitors can buy three-hour packages that consist of a 30-minute safety and operation orientation followed by two hours of maneuvering either a bulldozer or excavator.

Guests can either dig a trench up to 10ft deep or build an earthen mound; there are also skill tests like picking and moving 2,000-lb tires or scooping basketballs from atop safety cones.

Mr. Mumm said: 'I wasn't making much progress on the house, but I was having great time. I felt that it was something everyone could enjoy, and there was nothing like it out there.' Mr Mumm opened a pilot version of Dig This in 2007 near his home in northwest Colorado. It was built on 10 acres and ran for three years before he decided to move to Las Vegas.

The $1-million theme park is on more than five acres of land with 10 employees, a 2,850-sq-ft office, gift shop and training facility. It costs $400 to play in the dirt with the diggers. Guests must be at least 14 years old and can use headsets to communicate with each other and an instructor.

A small number of digger parks have opened in the UK in recent years but their equipment is not at large as that which is used in Las Vegas. 'The previous park was limited by weather and its remote location, but it gave us a chance to perfect our business model. From the start I always wanted to be in Vegas,' Mr Mumm told the Engineering News-Record.

'Las Vegas is one of the most visited destinations in the U.S., with up to 40-million visitors and 5,000 conventions a year.'

Company spokeswoman Cathy Wiedemer added: 'Half of our customers are females, including housewives and grandmothers. Throttling up a powerful engine and moving mounds of earth is very empowering.'

Ms Wiedemer said they were hoping to open digger parks in Atlanta and New York as well as Tokyo and Australia.'


Post a Comment