With the Easter holidays in full swing it is only a matter of time before the kids start with the I’m bored chants, so when we were invited down to Kidzania
along with a party of friends to see what is on offer it was not only the children who were overjoyed.
Kidzania incase you’ve not yet heard of it is a huge kids play area with a difference, the children enter via passport control using their boarding passes (printed tickets) and pass through the airport into the city – the city is for children only, grown-ups pretty much become redundant for the 4 hours of your play time slot and the children take over.
Everyone is given a wrist band to wear, this band is electronic (a nice way of tagging your children), and contains your party details on it, the child’s age and your time slot information. This band is scanned whenever the children enter a new activity and when they leave.
On entry the children are given Â£50 in Kidzania money which they can choose what to do with themselves, they can spend it in the boutiques, use it to pay for face painting or a tattoo in the tattoo parlour. They can then build up their money by getting a job! When they have Â£75 they can go and open a bank account, deposit their money and get their own credit card, money can then be withdrawn in the cash machines just as us adults would do.
That’s right this playarea teaches the children the value of money by putting them to work in various different fields. Within the city, which is contained over two large floors of this huge building there are various shops, banks, theatres, supermarkets, hairdressers etc which the children go into in small groups to learn the job roles.
|Pit lane experience, A&E, Special care baby unit
Queueing within Kidzania is for children only, no parents allowed in the queues – this reduces the time greatly although we found nothing required more than 8-10 minutes standing around as there was so much to do once inside if one thing was busy you could come back later. Also on the doors of each room were signs which tell you how long each activity lasts once the children are inside – most of them around 20 minutes. It also tells you how much the children can earn – they are paid a salary for working within that establishment. Some activities are training activities which the children need to pay to partake in such as pilot training and fire fighter training.
Kidzania is for children aged 4-14 years of age, there are a few activities which under 3’s can partake in but only around 6 in total and I personally wouldn’t bother taking a child under the age of 4 as they may want to join in with the other activities but won’t be allowed (I know Harry isn’t quite 4 yet, you regular readers know that, but he is very tall and outgoing so very easily passed for 4 – shhhhh).
There is so much for the children to do here that deciding where to start can be tricky, I took 7 children with me and there were 4 adults including myself.
|Radio station, A&E, Couriers, Climbing Wall, Super Market, Police Patrol
One thing I found if going with a party of friends is that some of the activity rooms cater for a lower number of people than others, some can only take 6 children at a time while others 8, this meant that the children couldn’t partake in an activity all together at times and therefore split the party up from the start. Obviously not a problem as there were lots of other activities but it did mean that we didn’t actually manage to regroup and all get into the same activities at the same time as some of the party were still inside an activity when other party members had finished. Also because of the age differences of our party the older children didn’t want to do the same as the younger ones.
I took children of ages: 13, 9, 7, two 6 year olds, 5 and 4.
What I loved about this day out was the wide range of activities/job roles the children could try out – there are too many to list but a few are:
- Pit Lane experience
- Acting academy
- Hospital and A&E
- Radio station
- Beauty salon
- Police station
- Forensics lab
- Fire station Jewellery shop
- Aviation academy
- TV studio
- Science lab
- Dance club
There are so many more things for the children to do, so much so that we didn’t manage to cover half of it and are now desperate to go back for another play.
The staff are really good at putting the children at ease, Emmy being shy wouldn’t usually go somewhere on her own however from the off this grabbed her and she was keen to try new things out – she went straight into the hospital with her 2 cousins and put on her green coat, sat listening to the lad explain to they what they were doing, watched a brief first aid video before hopping into the awaiting ambulance with her team to go to the aid of their awaiting patient.
Harry happily went to work in the radio station, donning his head phones and doing the chart updates when it was his turn – obviously he had help but he was able to join in with the other children and he loved it.
Working in the supermarket was also great fun, the shoppers were given shopping lists and had to find those items before heading to the tills, and Emmy and Harry both had a great time working in the beauty salon – although I did get a little peeved that as a boy Harry was asked if he was sure he wanted to join in and then when all the others were given their purple hairdressers aprons he was given a black bib that you wear when having a haircut – he wasn’t happy as wanted the same as the others, it was at this point I opened the door and asked if he could wear the same.
Parents do not go into the activity rooms with the children, they watch from outside, all the shops are glass fronted or open so it is easy to see what is going on and also for your child to see you watching. There are seats outside most of the areas for the parents as well as lots of establishments to but food and drink.
We had an amazing time and our 4 hours flew by before we were ready to leave. The children were on the go constantly from the moment we arrived, stopping only for half an hour for lunch. There are quite a few places to eat inside and I found the prices to be very good – usually when contained in one place I find the food prices can be inflated but this wasn’t the case here.
It may seem expensive for a day out, I initially thought it was however for what is involved and the experience the children get it is certainly well worth it and it is around the same you would pay to head to a theme park for a family day out with a lot less queuing meaning the children can actually get onto and into more than they would in a theme park.
I also urge you to let your children be cabin crew on the aeroplane if you do go as once they have had their inflight training parents can head onto the plane and are then given the flight safety instructions by their child and then served an inflight meal – it is just the cutest thing I have ever seen!
|The cutest cabin crew I have ever seen
Prices start from Â£29.50 for children (term-time) – Weekend and school holiday prices are:
- Children 4-14 years Â£32.50
- Adults (15+) Â£16.50
- Early years 1-3 years Â£10
- Infants under 1 year FREE
Disclaimer: We were provided with complimentary tickets for our party in exchange for a full and honest review.
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