One of the newest attractions off the ever-changing Las Vegas Strip isn’t another resort or another casino. It’s not another restaurant or deluxe shopping mall. No, the newest addition to the Strip is an adult playground of sorts. Dig This is a construction-based theme park conceived by New Zealand-born Ed Mumm, who realized that operating a rented excavator while building his home in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, was a lot of fun. If only more people could have access to these big construction tools. Well, now they do. “I wasn’t making much progress on the house, but I was having great time,” Mumm told ENR Construction. “I felt that it was something everyone could enjoy, and there was nothing like it out there.” Mumm first opened Dig This just outside of Steamboat Springs in 2007. The site operated successfully for three years, but Mumm decided it was time to bring this project to a larger audience.
“Steamboat Springs is limited by weather and its remote location, but it gave us a chance to perfect our business model,” said Mumm, who had envisioned a Dig This in Las Vegas from the beginning. “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.” It costs at least a couple of hundred dollars for one of the Dig This experiences—consider the insurance that the company must have—but, once inside, Las Vegas tourists can try their hand at some of the heaviest equipment around. The five-acre theme park, which cost about $1 million to build, has ten employees, a large office building, a gift shop, and more. Among the machinery that Dig This has on site are a pair of Caterpillar D5 track-type bulldozers and three Caterpillar 315CL hydraulic excavators. After going through a 30-minute training and orientation session, guests can spend hours digging trenches up to 10 feet deep or building large earthen mounds. There are also skill tests, like moving 2,000-pound tires or carefully plucking basketballs from their resting place on top of safety cones. Should the Las Vegas attraction succeed—Mumm plans on bringing in more than 5,000 customers and over $2 million in revenue during his first year—there are plans to expand the franchise to Tokyo, New York, Atlanta, and Australia.