When I learned I’d be taking our family to Kidzania I was super excited. I’d only heard good things about the Westfield location and the concept of giving your kids access to real-life experiences, like becoming a pilot or a dentist, within a secure learning environment is fantastic. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, so each part of the journey for our family was a surprise.
When you arrive at Kidzania, it’s like you’re arriving at Heathrow. The entrances, signage, and all the airport-like escalators take you to a ticketing booth as if you’re ready to board a plane to Spain. I admit, you also sort of get the same anticipatory, holiday feeling, too.
The British Airways-esque welcome offers all paid visitors a security bracelet, a map, and of course, kidZos, the local currency. Each child starts with 50 kidZos with which they can use to purchase something in the department store or to be better put to use with one of the 60 activities on offer. Some you earn a salary, some you pay to experience. There’s even a bank and a debit card on offer for those that earn enough kidZos.
So, once you’re checked-in you’re ‘transported’ to a fabricated city for kids. As one who’s been to Las Vegas, the setting is similar in style to the indoor shopping cities of one of the big hotels. Shop fronts, offices, and cafes line the road, the ceiling a painted sky. The faces of my starry-eyed children were of something you’d see in Disneyland.
That was, however, until the zombies arrived. Yes, it was a Halloween-themed session. Zombies were on the run and the only way to get away from them was to play along and wave your hands at them. This was a fun little addition to the day for the older children, but many of the younger children did get a bit scared. To be honest it was the only negative in our experience. It took 30 minutes to settle one of our children because a zombie spooked her.
However, once the realization set that these so-called zombies weren’t real, my four year old had a great time. She absolutely loved learning about and making ice cream, chocolate, becoming a dentist, and plaiting hair at the hairdressers. Despite her always being one of the younger children in the groups of eight or ten, she fit right in. Listening to the leaders, participating, and surprisingly well behaved! We spent the ride home discussing how chocolate is made and how you read an x-ray.
All in all I’d thoroughly recommend experiencing Kidzania for kids of all ages. Your four year old will have an entirely different experience than your eight year old, but again, there is positive benefit for inspiring and exploring for both. There’s even a soft play and colouring on offer for the under-threes; and a parents’ area to sit, have a coffee, and wait while your kiddos run safely-a-riot. I’m sure we’ll return again when our kids are older and may try one of the many other international locations, as well.