Update (25/5/2012): Seven new attractions have been added, with another two more coming to KidZania, check out our report here.
KidZania officially opens in Malaysia tomorrow, February 28! While I was previewing the place, the only thing that crossed my mind was that I wanted to be a kid again. KidZania is an excellent place for children, I visited with a mother and she couldn’t wait to bring her 3 sons over to KidZania. Secretly, I suspect the parents are also more than thrilled to bring the kids there so they can indulge in their inner child.
What IS KidZania? KidZania was founded in Mexico City in 1996 by Xavier Lopez, who dreamed of creating a place where kids could have fun while enjoying real-life experiences. The first park was opened in Mexico City in 1999 and there are currently 8 other KidZanias in 6 countries. KidZania offers an interactive learning and entertainment experience for kids in a kid-sized city. KidZania empowers and inspires kids to pursue their life’s dreams by exploring what it’s like to live and work in a real functioning city.
KidZania is targeted at kids aged between 4 to 14 years where they can choose among 90 activities from 60 establishments. To sum it up, KidZania allows kids to play grown-ups in their own mini city. For toddlers and infants aged 0 to 3 years, there is a dedicated section located on the Mezzanine floor called ‘Urbano’s House’.
KidZania Malaysia is located in Curve NX in Mutiara Damansara, and run by Themed Attractions, the same people that brings us Legoland Malaysia. KidZania fits 1,700 people at any one time across 80,000 sq ft of entertainment space. It spans across 2 stories of space and is a scaled-down version of a real life city. Managed by over 300 staff or Zupervisors, they speak a different language there, Kai (instead of Hi), Zee You (instead of See You or goodbye). It also has its own currency called the KidZos, and kids earn KidZos which can be used to pay for goods and services and also stored in an ATM card! KidZania partners with real-life brands in the adult world to provide authenticity to the experience; banking services and the ATM card are provided by CIMB Bank, AirAsia for its airline partner, KPJ Healthcare for its hospital, Dell for computers and etc.
The functioning city is designed to remind kids that life is about options and to reach as high as possible by making their own decisions. At KidZania, this role playing is both educational and fun, they can be a pilot, fireperson, police, lawyer, television producer and more. There are also costumes and uniforms for each profession, we were assured that KidZania practices a strict hygiene policy. By completing a prescribed task, kids earn KidZos which can be saved in the bank or spent on goods and services. By attending university, kids also earn additional KidZos for each task they perform. Activities can be done independently or as a team.
The scaled down city is impressive! It has its own functioning fire truck and ambulance which moves! While were were visiting, there were a few groups of children there. We witnessed the fire marshalls putting out a fire and the police personnel were making sure we didn’t cross the line over to the scene of the crime (building on fire), while the fire marshalls were doing their work. There was also a construction site where children had to put on hard hats and learn about safety procedures on-site. Useful learnings for the real-life world.
At KidZania, adults have to accompany their kids but are not allowed in the activity area except for the Theatre and TV Studio. KidZania is a well-secured facility with over 80 cctvs and security tags for both parent and child, where a child can only leave the facility with a matching parent tag. The tags are RFIDed to allow teachers and adults to locate their children’s last position, should the need arise.
KidZania has been well planned, with special areas such as the theatre, the club and Urbano’s House for private parties which can host groups of about 50-100 at a go. There are also 6 different food outlets for parents and children to eat from. Parents can dine at these outlets while waiting for their kids, or they can hang around the Independence Square which is at the entrance of the city.
KidZania opens from 10.00am – 5.00pm Mondays to Fridays and kids can play there the whole day. For weekends, school holidays and public holidays however, there are two sessions, 10.00am-3.00pm and 4.00pm-9.00pm.
Pricing are as follows:
Toddler (3 years and below) – RM35 (MyKad & Non-MyKad)
Child (4-14 years) – RM55 (MyKad) / RM75 (Non-MyKad)
Adult – RM35 (MyKad) / RM55 (Non-MyKad)
Senior Citizen – RM30 (MyKad & Non-MyKad)