Have you heard about Kidzania? It launched last year in London and we finally managed to take our four-year-old over the bank holiday weekend.
It was unplanned. At 8am after an early morning start, I shoved husband and child out the door early to miss the Bank Holiday ‘madness’ at the Westfield Mall.
Kidzania recreates adult workplaces such as operating theatres, plane cockpits, TV studios and banks — all at two-thirds of lifesize — where children will play at carrying out jobs. Kidzania decribes itself as “Designed to empower kids, KidZania gives them the confidence to challenge themselves and inspire them to explore the world of opportunities. KidZania is a real life role play experience for 4-14 year olds, blending learning and reality with entertainment. For younger siblings visiting KidZania, we have a dedicated Early Years area which includes three main activities in our: Science Lab, RightZKeepers Residence and the Kindergarten.”
When you arrive, parent and child are given a wrist monitor to follow their whereabouts in case they get lost, and presumably to track the most popular attractions and habits of families. Children older than seven don’t have to be accompanied by an adult so some parents may be free to shop and leave their children there for a few hours. It’s a bit pricey – on weekends and bank holidays the cost for a child’s ticket is £32.00 and the required parent for under-7s is £16.50. Under 3s cost £10.00 and children under one year are free. You and your child are given 50 ‘kidzania’ dollars, currency that is needed for each attraction.
Some of the opportunities, like practicing being a police constable or an artist, are ‘paid’ where your child earns eight Kidzania dollars. For others, like being a firefighter or face painting, you pay your Kidzania dollars for your child’s engagement in the activity.
For children under three, the options are a bit limited. A shopping market where they learn how far their Kidzania dollars will go and other safe activities are available.
For a four-year-old it was great fun, although he did take up more of the ‘instructors’ time than some of the other children. He learned to be a police constable, a firefighter, and a drummer – as well as getting his face painted – in the two hours we were there. He didn’t want to leave but the tiredness and sudden crowds prompted us to go ahead of the four hour limit.
I would suggest checking it out, with managed expectations if your child is under the age of four, and bring your stamina with you. For what it is worth, I wish they had something like this for grown-ups, its such a fun opportunity to explore what life has to offer.