KidZania was founded by Xavier Lopez Ancona in 1996. Mr. Ancona desired to provide an experience for children that would help them to learn something new, while having fun as they participate in real life experiences. The first KidZania opened in Mexico City in 1999 and the concept took off! The idea of a central and safe location where parents could take their children to play for hours in a plethora of different role playing experiences that would encourage the children to do some critical and creative thinking in their role playing job; be it a doctor, fireman, mechanic, flight attendant and so on, was revolutionary.
KidZania has created a kid sized city with buildings, fire trucks, ambulances, shops, hospitals, a veterinarian office, restaurants and the bank
KidZania is so popular it continues to grow and is now open in thirteen countries with sixteen different locations with another five locations to open in 2014. From its inception in 1999, KidZania has entertained over 20 million children! That’s 20 million kids that might have found their future career, learned how to work as a team with other children, and learned how to problem solve on their own without any adult interference. The best part about KidZania in Siam Paragon is that is the largest out of them all, which is evident by the real life airplane sitting in the lobby!
When I arrived to Paragon to take my three year old to visit KidZania, we were both a little overwhelmed at the amount of children present that day to partake in the activities. Once I spoke with KidZania’s Marketing Manager Khun Poupée, she assured me that this was not the norm when someone comes to KidZania. Turns out we had arrived on a day when some schools were closed so many parents had brought their children to play and then there were other schools who had scheduled their class field trips. One thing was clear; excitement was in the air!
As you walk up to KidZania from the Paragon elevators, you can’t help but notice the huge airplane in the lobby and the ticket counter which is set up like an airport ticket check in desk, which happens to be sponsored by Air Asia. Once you have purchased your tickets, the ticket counter representative will hand you a map, a check which your child will have to take to the bank once inside, and a wrist band. As a parent, the wristband was a very reassuring feature. Both the child and the parent have a wristband that work together, this way one can’t exit the premises without the other and if anyone happens to get lost the staff can track the location of the individual wearing the bracelet- safety first!
Kidzania - Bank
Once you have everything you need from the ticket counter, you will go through “airport security” before you enter the city. Every little detail is taken into consideration to make it as life like as possible and everything is made to fit children; this is the most important part. Khun Poupée explained to me KidZania is made so that the children feel as if they are the grown-ups making the decisions on their own and even the minutest of details play a huge role in this. My expat son is no stranger to airports and airplanes which made it hard to even enter through airport security; he was mesmerized by everything he saw and didn’t realize how much better it was about to get!
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Upon walking through security into the city, my jaw dropped. KidZania has created a kid sized city with buildings, fire trucks, ambulances, shops, hospitals, a veterinarian office, restaurants and the bank; really anything you can imagine they probably have it. As soon as you enter the city, your child has to go to the bank to cash their check. This money they are given allows them to participate in the activities they are most interested in. Some activities cost money while other activities your children can make money to save up to use later for more activities. For example, your little one can deliver packages around town and make a little money to use later when they want to spend their funds to learn how to become a sushi chef, where they actually learn to make real sushi rolls!
Kidzania - How to make Sushi
The role playing activities are designed for ages four to fourteen and with my three year old boy being too small to partake in the role play; Khun Poupée showed us to the toddler area which he greatly enjoyed. While my son played his heart out, I was given the grand tour. KidZania works with local sponsors to create the life like role play scenarios. Children can work with Air Asia to learn how to become a flight attendant or a pilot in the flight simulator. They can work at the True Vision TV Studio to learn the ins and outs of producing a news broadcast. With well over twenty sponsors, your children will be busy for hours testing out different career paths such as a police officer, doctor, chef, a newspaper journalist, or a fireman. The list goes on and on.
Your children will be busy for hours testing out different career paths such as a police officer, doctor, chef...
Another great feature in helping children to work together is that every couple of months the staff at KidZania come up with different scenarios that will play out that and involve the different departments. For example, while I was exploring the area where children can learn to be an auto mechanic the local KidZania police force came storming up looking for a suspect, which happened to be the staff member teaching the mechanics class. Both sets of kids enjoyed the questioning of the suspect and everyone was involved as they were deciding what to do next with this man; should we read him his rights or let him go for now?
In addition to all of the different career possibilities, KidZania also has a university where the children can learn about different subjects to further their career opportunities such as chemistry. KidZania encourages children to continue learning so that they can have the knowledge to perform the different skills around town. Decision making on their own is also vital to the KidZania experience. All of the activities are made to scale for children; this prohibits parents from following the kids into the activities and helping their children. Parents are welcome to sit on the benches located outside each activity and watch their little one enjoying their day through the glass doors and windows made specifically for this purpose.
Kidzania - University
There are so many activities your children can participate in that you will have to come back several times to explore every detail. Not to worry though, at the end of your day the funds your child has accumulated by performing tasks can be deposited in their savings account at the bank for your next visit.
KidZania is a family destination that has something for everyone. This family event will be one your children will always remember and is sure to please everyone; with your older children participating in the role playing activities, your younger children enjoying the huge sand pit and toddler room, and the parents relaxing in the upstairs parents lounge enjoying a coffee and free Wi-Fi! This is one kid activity you do not want your children to miss out on during your stay in Bangkok.
KidZania is open Sunday through Friday from 10am until 5pm. On Saturdays and public holidays there are two sessions with the first starting at 10am until 3pm and the second from 4pm until 9pm.
For more information on your visit, booking a birthday party, private event or to make a school reservation please check out their website http://bangkok.kidzania.com/en-us/
Kidzania - Hospital
Kidzania - Kitchen
Kidzania - Postcard