I’m in the Parents Lounge at Kidzania - ‘no kids allowed’ which is the opposite of most of the activities here where parents are banned so kids can learn to stand on their own two feet and feel the pride that independence brings.
It’s our second time visiting this outstanding activity centre. If you haven't heard of KidZania yet (you may not have if you live in Australia as for some reason we don't have them yet - it can only be a matter of time) it’s an ultra professional, super fun ‘nation’ where kids take on adult roles and experience and role-play jobs and careers.
KidZania is an indoor city built to scale for kids - it has shops, paved roads, working vehicles and its own government, language, currency and greetings - Kai, with two fingers held over the heart - and a KidZania dance that plays every so often where all the staff emerge from their jobs and dance in the street. It never fails to put a smile on my face!
There’s also a farewell dance to signal the end of the day where all the staff line the streets and wave goodbye to the children as they leave. A lovely way to end the day. Kids can even apply for and gain their own KidZania passport - that looks just like the real thing.
Activities are either jobs where they earn money - the KidZania currency is KidZos - for working, or where they pay money to take part, with discounts for kids with KidZania passports. Some jobs are inside shops, offices or industry buildings that are so realistic, and other activities take place outside - with kids riding in a scale fire engine to put out a fire using real hoses and water, and making courier deliveries - where they are treated as proper couriers by the staff and have to get them to sign for the goods and give a receipt.
You will see police on patrol, repairmen, journalists gathering stories and the CSI team conducting forensic investigations! Actors and dance groups will perform at internals throughout the day and the dancers and models will to their stuff in the theatre. It’s so amazingly well run and professional.
On arrival you check in at the Air Asia counters and receive an electronic bracelet which you must wear at all times, and a cheque for 50 KidZos from CIB Bank. After passing through immigration your child can cash their cheque at CIB (no adults allowed) and head off to start their jobs.
Today Emmie has been a secret agent, a scientist, a check out chick, climbed a building in a harness (take or wear closed toe shoes for this one), a DJ and made jewellery. She is currently either a surgeon or patient in the KidZania hospital and after she is released we will head over to McDonalds where she will make her own hamburger for lunch. We then still have another five hours of fun ahead.
Last time we were here she also tried out being a pilot, a model, a courier, newspaper delivery person and fireman. She made milk and jewellery and had a manicure! And yet we still have so much more for her to try.
The best part about KidZania is that the children are encouraged and supported to be independent. They must communicate directly with staff and are given responsibility to perform tasks - often surprising themselves with their success - and earning money for their effort.
And Emmie's favourite things about KidZania?
“My favourite thing is having choices to try all the jobs that adults do and learning how to make milk and vitamins. Also learning that water has to be purified before you can drink it, and being a on the radio with mummy.”
Ah yes, we discovered today, Sunday, is Family Day at KidZania and parents can try out selected jobs with their children. Extra fun for everyone!
We visited Kidzania in Kuala Lumpur but you can also find them in Asia, the Middle East, Mexico and Europe.
Where: KidZania Kuala Lumpur
Ages: 4 - 14 years old - under 8 must have an adult with them
Cost: At six, Emmie cost around $30 AUD and my entry fee was around $12 AUD. Kids under four and adults 60+ cost around $10.