- Building can be hard work, but in Katy, Texas, it’s also fun. Dig the worlda theme park offering child and adult visitors the chance to operate authentic heavy machinery, opened last week with a few hiccups.
- Founder Jacob Robinson told Construction Dive that his young son’s love of dump trucks and other construction equipment inspired him to create Dig World. Spanning 3.5 acres, the park aims to provide a hands-on and safe experience of operating excavators, skid steer loaders, UTVs and more.
- In an effort to educate visitors about construction and inspire them to join the industry, Dig World has partnered with the Texas A&M Department of Construction Science to create informational signs throughout the park and a program for students on a field trip.
Overview of the dive:
Part of the park’s mission, Robinson said, is “education, education of the next generation, education of those who don’t know much about [the construction] space, about this space. In addition, this is obviously also the will of A&M: to teach individuals what are the different opportunities that exist under the construction umbrella.”
Dig World isn’t the country’s first construction adventure park: there’s also Diggerland United States in New Jersey, Dig it in Las Vegas and Extreme sandbox in Minnesota and northern Texas. Extreme Sandbox also has a career education component, with its Learning about heavy metals and the Heavy Metal Academy programs and partnership with local high schools.
Dig World opened its doors for the first time on Thursday, but had to close them quickly, The Houston Chronicle reported. Some of the modifications to the machines to make them safe for young operators had not yet been completed on opening day, Robinson said, and those in operation were not enough to handle the number of visitors. The park is usually open on weekends.
“I choose to believe the overwhelming response is great. Yes, we certainly made some people frustrated and angry this weekend because we messed up their plans, and rightly so, I understand that as a parent too.” , Robinson said, but he expects smooth sailing once the machines are in order. As for reopening, “We’re optimistic for this weekend.”
To ensure the safe operation of machinery, the company has a variety of guardrails.
“We worked with mechanics to modify the capabilities of each machine to keep everyone safe,” according to the Dig World website. “We require seat belts to be fastened before any machine operation can occur. Speeds on prime movers have been controlled, and other equipment uses hydraulic limitations to reduce total movement.”
In the future, Robinson hopes to build 10 other locations across the country and said there are several markets of interest, but he has yet to identify exactly where Dig World will expand next.