There is a new town in town.
It’s called KidZania, it’s located in Shepherd’s Bush and it’s only for the use of children.
I took my boys there last week and they had a blast. In case you haven’t taken your offspring there yet, here’s what it’s all about:
The idea is that it’s a city for kids in which they can do many different jobs or take part in different activities.
They get some KidZania money, or KidZos, when they enter and they can either spend it on activities or increase it by doing those activities that are “jobs”. Outside every building / activity spot, there is a sign indicating whether there is a charge for the activity or a salary. Some activities are free too. I guess just because some fun things in life are free :)
Initially my kids spent more than they earned but after a few hours they found out that if you have 50 KidZos you can go to the Central Bank of KidZania (CBK) (in a very impressive bank building) to open an account and get a debit card instead of all the cash.
They quickly did a couple of jobs to get the required 50 KidZos, stood in the very long bank line (just like real life :), gave their details to the tellers (name, spelling of it, date of birth) and walked away with their very own, very realistic looking CBK debit card. Outside the bank there are ATM machines which kids can use to check their balance or to take ‘cash’ out if needed. For most things though they can pay with the card and also have their salaries put onto the card.
There are over 50 different activities, each one takes 10-15 minutes. Up to 6 kids are let in at a time to each activity so sometimes a little waiting in line is required.
The general entry tickets to KidZania are for 4 hours and my kids got to take part in about half of the activities. Some things they were not interested in, one had a height requirement (climbing up a building like at rock climbing) and some they just didn’t have time to do.
For kids under the age of 8 a supervisor is required, older kids can just be dropped off there and the parents could shop in Westfield for 4 hours :)
I asked the boys afterwards what were the positives and negatives about KidZania and here’s what they had to say:
- You get MONEY
- You get to spend your own MONEY
- You get to make more MONEY
- You get to open your own bank account
- You get your own bank card
- Lots of activities/jobs to choose from
- Lots of fun stuff to do, best one is learning to be a pilot
- The pasta bolognese we had for lunch was very tasty
- It’s dark in there, like it’s night time all the time
- It’s a big cold in there
- The money thing (earning / spending / bank account) is not explained to you when you enter
- Price of the toys you can by for the KidZos is “overrated” (my addition: insane)
- Price of the photos that they take at various activities is also “overrated” (my addition: £10 a pop, not worth buying)
- Lots of school groups, and kids in big groups run and scream a lot
- Height restriction for the rock climbing sucks because what if someone is little but a really good rock climber??? (this note was from my 6 year old who was extremely upset about not being able to climb)
We will definitely go back, it’s a fun place for kids and each of mine now has close to 50 KidZos in the Central Bank of KidZania which they want to use.
I think next time I’ll see if I can get a friend to go with each one. I found that my 10-year old wanted to do things by himself and sometimes different things than my 6-year old who was still too shy to do activities by himself.
All in all we had a fun day and it’s great that a place like that has come to London. In just two more years my little one will be 8 and then I don’t have to hover over him inside KidZania but can hover over some clothing and footwear in Westfield instead. Then it’ll be even funner for me! :D