Kids drive construction career dream at Aussie first excavator fun park

Paul Eyers
By Paul Eyers
5 Min Read
Annika Leiper and son Archer, 4, are amoung the first to try Dig It at Thunerbird Park, Mount Tambourine. Picture by Luke Marsden.

One of the biggest downsides of being a tradie parent is that it’s not so easy to bring your kids to work and show them what mum or dad gets up to every day.

Aside from being rather dangerous for any child – it’s also against the law to have a child accompany you to the construction site or for a day on the job.

But thanks to Australia’s first mini excavator park, “Dig IT”, the kids can now get a taste for some of the biggest and best construction industry tools – as they get behind the wheels of diggers, bulldozers and crawlers.

Since its opening in May, Dig IT has seen thousands of kids sit in the driver’s seat to operate their own mini-excavator, just like a real construction worker.

The park allows parents to bring their kids down for some excavation experience free from those health and safety risks or partner disapproval.

Dig IT owner Kate Keegan told Build-it that Dig IT is the perfect opportunity for time-poor mums and dads to do hands-on activities with active kids.

“We have so many people working FIFO or who work those long hours who simply couldn’t bring their kids to work even without all the safety reasons,” Ms Keegan said.

“They are getting to show their kids what they do and share that with them while having a bonding experience.”

Fun, educational, and engaging, the park teaches kids about the construction industry, earthworks, engineering, building, the importance of safety, and teamwork.

Ms Keegan says the park is the perfect summer activity for kids of any age, whether they aspire to be Bob the Builder or are old enough to be seriously considering a trade.

“Most kids go through a building phase. – it’s how we grow up and learn how things work,” she said.

“This makes Dig IT the perfect activity – and we have families coming back weekend after weekend.”

“We will always need builders, engineers, construction workers, project managers and teams. Dig IT gives kids a taste of these trades and learnings. For most kids, this may just be a fun day out on the weekend, but for others, this could be the start of a future career.”

Ms Keegan told Built-it she spent two years working alongside her brother to set up the park, developing safety measures and activity development which would guarantee the safety of visitors.

“The machines are as safe as houses, and we’ve also partnered with a safety company, so the machines only do what we want them to do.”

However, since its launch earlier this year, the Gold Coast-based fun park has proved popular with more than just families, consistently booked out by all walks of life, including couples on dates or colleagues on team-building excursions.

“We have amazed ourselves with the demographic that walks through every day,” Ms Keegan told Build-it.

“We’ve had bucks parties, adults going on dates and even toddlers.”

“We are seven months in, and we’ve never had a spare spot.”

“It is an activity that unifies everybody. As soon as they are on the machines, everyone starts working together and supporting each other.”

The fully instructed allows visitors to don the high vis and hard hats before they take on a range of actual excavator machinery and construction-inspired activities – with the kids, mum, dad or gran all able to get in the driver’s seat.

Games include excavator digging, a wrecking ball demolition zone, material moving challenges and a state-of-the-art remote control area filled with dozers, dump trucks and rear loaders.

Dig IT is currently open on the weekends and is open every day throughout the school holidays with sessions taking two hours and spots limited. Bookings are essential.

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Paul Eyers has worked as a journalist for a range of media publishers including News Corp and Network Ten. He has also worked outside of Australia, including time spent with ABS-CBN in the Philippines. Stepping away from the media, Paul spent five years sharpening his tools in construction - building his skill set and expertise within the trade industry. His diverse experiences and unique journey have equipped him with an insider view of Australia’s construction game to dig deep into the big stories.