Two moms driving bulldozers together. Driving over dirt piles, pushing vans, flipping tires.
Sounds like a perfect Saturday afternoon, right?
Well, it is – my friend and I did this, and it was awesome!
Until this year I had no idea a place existed where a girls’ day out – or any other day out – could involve driving heavy construction equipment together, and having fun doing so!
Then I learned about Extreme Sandbox in Hastings which offers anyone age 14 and up to drive heavy construction equipment just for fun. (Thus the appropriate name “Extreme Sandbox” – it really is a giant sandbox for adults and big kids!)
And since March, when they had to temporarily suspend their regular business, they offered “Heavy Metal Drive-Thru” shows that you could watch safely from your car, for FREE!
I shared this cool offering this spring, and then attended a show with my family. We opted for the paid ticket option which guarantees you a front row parking spot, and it was super cool! It was about an hour and was a great option for families with limited opportunities to get out and about during this time.
They still have these shows – check out my review, and check out their website for times!
However, they are also now open for regular business, with social-distancing guidelines in place.
So I booked a visit with my friend Kelly to drive bulldozers together!
Our Bulldozing Adventure at Extreme Sandbox in Hastings
Extreme Sandbox has a neat history. It’s a small family business with locations in both Texas and Minnesota, and they have grown largely thanks to their appearance on Shark Tank! (Yes, they had two of the “sharks” invest in them! Yay!)
As anyone who has followed my blog for a while knows, I love experiencing unique, new things. That’s my frugal philosophy – experiencing a ton of things is worth so much more than having a ton of things, right?
And since Extreme Sandbox experiences are for everyone, I thought it would be fun to bring a girlfriend and try it out!
So Kelly and I headed out to Hastings on a Saturday afternoon, where we experienced “Dueling Adventures” – it’s their most popular package for 2 people, where we could choose to drive either 19 ton excavators, wheel loaders or bulldozers to compete head to head!
We arrived just as some people before us were finishing up their adventure before us.
After checking in and signing the waivers, we watched a 20-minute video about Extreme Sandbox and the basics about how to drive a bulldozer. It was a fun, entertaining video, though afterward I thought “Oh my goodness, how can we figure this all out in such a short time?”
But honestly, they walked us through it perfectly. We had our own private instructor who coached us step by step. We had a 30-minute training session, and then had some challenges to complete! We all wore headsets so we could talk to each other during the whole experience.
We each climbed into our bulldozers, got our seat belts on and were shown everything around us.
From the driver’s seat, I had controls on my left and right (one lifted the blade, the other turned it either way), a pedal on the right to brake, and a screen with information such as speed. We were instructed very well to try out each control we had, and when we were ready we drove our bulldozers and did some stunts!
First we drove our bulldozers with the blade down to dig up some dirt and create a pile. Back and forth we went as we each created our own pile.
I think we got the hang of it pretty quick!
Then we were told to drive up on top of our piles and stop – this was freaky as we felt like we were going to fall forward! But then we drove forward over the top – which just meant letting go of the brake, so we were able to take our cameras out as we moved forward. Our instructor also took pictures of us as I added on the photo package to our adventure.
Check out my video from inside the bulldozer!
Our next challenge was to drive through an obstacle course, left and right around these bins.
We were given a tire to move from one point to another. Kelly flipped hers! Go Kelly!
Then we each pushed our own van – I had a white one that I pushed from one point to another.
Here’s a video I took while pushing the van! (Don’t worry – my hands were free!)
It was all so cool! I think we were in the bulldozers for about 45 minutes between training and all the challenges.
Overall I think we did well, and did things faster as we became more confident. If I did it over again, I’d probably be more bold, but it was still a really cool experience.
Here’s the view of where we were. There’s an area in between off to the side with a tent where people can watch. Yes, you can have family members watch!
What did we think?
Oh my gosh we had a fabulous time. We both felt so good about ourselves afterward – that we did such a cool thing! Kelly said it was a big accomplishment for her – she was intimidated by driving a bulldozer, but she did it! I felt excited and a bit intimidated and also glad to overcome this. It felt so good for us to do this and to do this together! Now we’re ready for our next adventure!
Afterward we went to downtown Hastings and ate outdoors at a restaurant called The Busted Nut. We had salads and wine and it was delicious. There are various restaurants in Hastings and some beautiful places to sit and explore. It’s definitely worth making a half day or full day outing there!
Dress comfortably and wear good shoes, as you’ll need to climb in and out of the machines which can be awkward.
Plan to bring your smartphone/camera into the equipment as there will be moments you can take pictures or video!
Right now during COVID they require masks so be sure to bring yours!
Bring any family who want to watch!
Don’t be intimidated! They teach you VERY well, they recommend going slow, and you don’t have to do anything you’re not comfortable with!
How much was the dueling adventure we experienced?
The price is $395 which includes 2 people. However you can save $50 with my coupon code below!
There are also many other adventures you can do that start at $195! Check out their website.
NOTE: They offer a photo and video package add-on. I highly recommend doing this as we received a ton of wonderful, professional photos that turned out way better than my own! These were pictures that only our instructor could have gotten – no one else could have gotten such good shots.
I have an EXCLUSIVE Deal for you! Save $50 off any of their packages when you use my coupon code FrugalMom.
(Discount valid for Minnesota location only.)
Here’s a link with info about their packages.
(Disclosure: We received a complimentary visit in exchange for sharing our honest experience. All opinions are 100% mine.)