Minnesota’s Extreme Sandbox Mini – Playground for grown-ups

Lisa in action operating the excavator at Roseville's Extreme Sandbox Mini.
Lisa in action operating the excavator at Roseville’s Extreme Sandbox Mini.

Note: This location has been closed. However, there are still other full size locations – Extreme Sandbox

As someone who had his own fleet of Tonka trucks and construction vehicles as a child, the chance to play with a larger version as a grown-up was too much to pass up. Extreme Sandbox Mini in Roseville, Minnesota, combines the thrill of handling large equipment and reliving your childhood.

A miniature version of the outdoor attraction based in Hastings, Minnesota, allows people eight and older to play on an excavator, scooping up mulch and moving it from one place to another. Following a brief training session, a guide helps ensure you have a fun experience, and lets you maneuver the excavator to your delight (while maintaing safety). Participants also take a skills test, picking up and setting down a bowling pin. I successfully completed my exam. Lisa, on the other hand…

Simulators, sandbox

The facility also offers visitors a chance to test their skills on simulators, putting you in charge of operating a 230-foot tall construction crane, as well as other equipment. A small sandbox area includes Tonka toys for children under eight to play in.

A real sandbox for children to play in while grown-ups play on the big equipment.
A real sandbox for children to play in while grown-ups play on the big equipment.

The facility opened in the Roseville Center in late 2017.  You can purchase time in increments of 15, 30 and 60 minutes. When Lisa and I visited, we split a 30-minute experience. Extreme Sandbox Mini is also available for group outings and birthday parties.

The original Extreme Sandbox site opened in Hastings in 2012. Located in a 10-acre sandbox, the Hastings location offers experiences using full-scale equipment, such as an excavator and bulldozer. The company also has an outdoor site in Pottsboro, Texas (about 75 minutes north of Dallas).

We enjoyed our visit to Extreme Sandbox Mini and recommend checking it out. We also want to plan a trip to the Hastings outdoor location.