With 6 full weeks of summer to fill there was one place the kids had been asking to revisit time and time again, having visited earlier this year, KidZania was top of their list. You can read about all the fun they had with their friends in our KidZania review here.
They were invited back this summer to take a look at the new ‘shops’ and attractions and were beyond excited.
This time we went alone so that there would be no queuing for enough space for friends to all join the activities at the same time and it did mean that Emmy and Harry were able to participate in a lot more this time around.
Going along with a group of friends is great however when the activities are geared for 4-6 children mainly (some 8) then if other children are queuing it can become a little tricky to all join in together, meaning some children have to either wait or do something different which defeats the object of going with friends.
What is KidZania?
If you’ve not been to KidZania before I will explain the concept but do read our review (linked above)for full details. It is a children’s play area with a difference. You enter the city via the airport, where the children are given £50 in KidZania money. Once inside the city they can ‘work’ various job roles – think dress-up on a HUGE scale, there are shops and stores where the children enter (without parents – don’t try to cramp their style, it’s all about the kids!) and learn their new ‘trade’ or ‘job role’ before trying it out themselves – they can be paramedics, firefighters, cabin crew, pilots, hotel staff, hairdressers and so much more. After ‘work’ they are paid their wages which they can save and open a bank account or spend in the store on things such as tattoos, face painting or even pay to learn to make chocolate in the Cadbury’s factory or Deli Wraps, they can even have music lessons – just like real life.
Our recent visit
This time around we decided to head to the upper floor and join activities the children hadn’t had time to do last time around – with 4 hour time slots you think you will have time to see and do everything but this isn’t the case at all, in fact after 2 visits the kids still haven’t tried everything there is to do yet and are asking to go back again.
There was the change this visit that upon entry the children were given hairnets which had to be worn for all food activities and those which required them to wear hats, if they lost those they would have to purchase a replacement from their own money.
It probably goes without saying that the Cadbury’s factory was first on the list – the kids pay to make chocolate learning how it is do in the factory and after making their own and putting it into the fridge receive a voucher to exchange on their exit for a mini chocolate bar.
Most of the activities on the top floor you have to pay for – well the children do with their own KidZania money. If they run out of money they can ‘get a job’ to earn some more money.
As Emmy and Harry had money left over from their last visit they were able to try lots of the activities which they had to pay for and LOVED them.
They turned their hands to making Deli wraps, making recycled paper, having guitar lessons, painting classes in the painting school and even had some down time climbing and abseiling buildings.
They loved getting hands on in the Deli – weighing out the ingredients themselves, mixing together and then pressing out their own wraps which are then put into the oven. They can see the whole process involved in making the foods they love and are even given a packet of wraps each before they leave.
They had tattoos done and worked as cabin crew (they did this on their last visit but loved it so much – as did I, that they had to do it again – if you go you HAVE to get your children to try this one), they worked in the hotel, and as dentists and even shopped in the supermarket.
There is something for everyone at KidZania and as it is suitable for children up to aged 14 it’s somewhere you can visit with all the family.
Emmy and Harry seemed to love this experience more than their last visit as they knew what to expect and what they would be doing, they thrived on actually making things and getting a little more hands on this time.
As a parent it really is lovely to watch your children enjoying things which we consider to be boring – we think of working as a chore, something which needs to be done, but to children it is a fantastic experience to be treated as a grown-up and to try things for themselves and of course it is a great way of teaching them the value of money – if they want to go clubbing (yes, there is even a club) they need to pay for it, and once their money has been spent they have to get a job to earn more.
While I still feel the adults entry price is too expensive considering they can only watch their children from the side-lines outside the shops/stores etc. the children love it so much that we will be back yet again but of course taking advantage of Groupon vouchers and special offers which can often be found on the KidZania facebook page, on twitter or on the website.
Top Tips for a fantastic day:
My top tips for enjoying this experience to the max are:
- Go in small numbers
- Don’t queue – if an activity has just started it will be around 20 minutes before it ends so move onto another and come back later
- Take a separate purse/wallet per child to keep hold of their money
- Stick together – if you are alone with more than 1 child make a rule of doing activities together – there’s nothing more stressful than trying to be in two places at once as a parent
- Don’t try to lunch at 12.30-1.30pm if purchasing food onsite – everyone will be doing the same and while there are seats available you’ll struggle for space at these times – try earlier or later or take your own food.
- Be prepared that upon exit you need to walk through the gift shop
- If you don’t show your child that their wristband is connected to their official professional photos upon exit they will never know!
- When your child is inside a store working or participating in an activity – this is a great time to have a loo break yourself undisturbed (if they are very young then maybe not or tell the staff you are nipping off to the loo just in case you are needed)
- The adult lounge is upstairs and is kids free
Disclaimer: We received tickets in exchange for this post, all thoughts and opinions are my own.