Rip-roaring trucks come alive at construction-themed Diggerland USA

WEST BERLIN, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Playing with toy trucks is more than just a pastime for two South Jersey brothers. Today, their amusement park, Diggerland USA, has turned their imaginations larger than life.

"We grew up in the construction and the amusement industry," said co-CEO Yan Girlya. "So now we bring that to real life."

The Girlya brothers immigrated to America from Russia. They remember how their parents prioritized a strong work ethic, which led to many hands-on experiences with construction vehicles. After spending time in the real construction industry, they allowed their imaginations to take the driver's seat.

Considered America's only construction-themed park, Diggerland USA took years of preparation in order to re-engineer dangerous machines into safe family attractions. Since opening in 2014, children have enjoyed everything from operating miniature diggers to spinning in the bucket of a giant excavator.

"It was the last week of summer, and I wanted to try something new, so we decided to come to Diggerland," said Albert Shammah from New York, "And I'm surprised by how good it is."

Other truck-lovers come from around the country just to experience the unique attractions.

"I work for Caterpillar and we love construction equipment," said Chris Worrick, who flew in from Illinois with his son just to visit Diggerland. "It's a passion of mine, and my son kind of picks up on it and he loves the equipment, too."

The Girlya brothers are hoping that their theme park might inspire future workers in the industry.

"Unfortunately, the construction field has more people leaving than coming in," said Yan. "If we can do a little bit of education, and, you know, somebody gets inspired to become a construction employer or worker, boy, that'd be great."

The brothers recently incorporated a water park into their programming to encourage even more visitors in the summer months. Creatively dubbed, "The Water Main," the two-acre park will be open until mid-late September depending on the weather.

The Monserrat family from Wilmington, Delaware, had fun performing underwater flips and splashing in the pool.

"We're enjoying our time with our dad before we go back to school," said Aylin Monserrat.

She and her sister enjoyed doing underwater flips and splashing in the pool.

"They grow up pretty quick, you know," said Rick Monserrat, father to the 11 and 10-year-old. "Every minute, I mean, I love this time."

But the fun doesn't stop for visitors once the temperature cools.

"They can look forward to the beginning of Diggerfest," said Ilya Girlya. "Families can come out and climb across all sorts of massive trucks that we set up and organize here for free in our parking lot event."

Other fall festivities include the parade of machines, s'mores pit, live music, farm animals, BMX stunt show, and circus events. Then, winter activities snowball into the famous drive-through holiday light show.

"So, our machines are never closed. They don't complain about the cold," said Ilya. "Come dressed appropriately and you'll have a great time."

To learn more about Diggerland USA and their hours of operation, visit their website.

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