KidZania, a place where kids have taken over the world, role-playing and doing adult things for a day. Apparently spending a day working in a supermarket or fast food outlet, fixing power poles or working in a science lab is a lot of fun. Our day spent at KidZania during a stopover in Kuala Lumpur has been one of our kids’ favourite travel experiences.
There are 60 real-life role-play adventures, and some do actually sound like fun, like being a policeman or fireman. Kids get to experience these real-life occupations hands-on in a fun learning environment, though pity we can’t keep the money they earn!
KidZania is designed for 4 to 14-year-olds, which was perfect for our three kids who were 6, 8 and 10 years old at the time. Kids six and under require a parent to follow them around, but that worked out OK as our youngest needed a little encouragement for the first few activities, but after that, we struggled to keep up with him as he raced around the complex. We spent some of the time wandering around enjoying watching the kids have their fun, but when they were occupied for a while we made our way to the parent’s lounge to relax.
KidZania is located in Petaling Jaya, about 20 minutes drive from the Petronas twin towers in Kuala Lumpur. There is no easy way to get there using public transport, so the relatively cheap taxis are the best way to go. Taxi drivers in Kuala Lumpur notoriously refuse to use the meter, so we walked to the other side of the shopping centre near our hotel to a taxi counter, where you can pay two Ringgit to guarantee a metered taxi to your destination, without the haggle and hassle of negotiating a fare. We realised later that we were taken by a larger more luxurious blue cab that cost a bit more anyway, though it was a very pleasant and comfortable journey that was worth the extra expense.
Check-in is the correct term for this, as they have set up the entrance ticketing like an airline check-in desk, complete with AirAsia branding. We arrived just after 9.30am (which was well before the listed 10am opening time), though we were still welcomed in. We had bought our tickets online before we left home, saving 10% on the listed price. There are also occasional specials you should look out for. They gave each kid a wad of money and we all got an ID wristband.
The idea is to freely wander around and choose which activities you would like to do. The kids get paid for the jobs they do in KidsZania’s own currency, KidZos, which you can also use to pay to do some activities. Any KidZos they accumulate can be spent at a toy shop at the end of the day, or it can be deposited at the bank to use at your next visit.
The KidZania mini-city area is spread across more than 60 establishments over two floors. It was not as large an area as expected, though everything is so well packed in it doesn’t seem too cluttered. You are free to wander and do whatever activity you please, but some are only conducted at certain times and some popular ones you will need to line up or put your name down for a later time slot. It is worthwhile doing a little bit of planning to get to all the activities you would like.
The most popular activity was being a policeman and fireman, isn’t every kid’s dream to become one of these? Go early to these places and put your name down for later. The staff are very helpful and the activities are often coordinated events involving many kids. The police will cordon off the area while the firefighters put out the fire, reporters may record the events and photographers take images for the newspaper that will be delivered later.
The job as a photographer starts with instruction on how to use the camera, then you roam around the complex taking photos to be used in the KidZania newspaper (you can work in the newspaper design room too).
One of the favourite activities that our kids took part in was cooking at a fast-food restaurant, mainly because you can eat the food you make! This one may actually be useful work experience.
At the supermarket, you can be either the shopper or the worker scanning the items. Surprisingly the kids find this lots of fun, even though they never like going shopping with mum back home.
You can have a turn being a fashion model – try on some clothes, get some tips for the catwalk, and put on a show! You can also put on a magic show. Spend some time learning a few tricks, then put on an act as part of a magic show performance for the parents!
It was loads of fun for the kids, a great way to fill a day in Kuala Lumpur. They would go back in an instant, there is not enough time in the day to do everything, and our kids like to do everything! We visited the KidZania in Kuala Lumpur, but they can be found in 29 locations worldwide, so there may be one near you. We will have to look out for it at our next holiday destination.
KidZania KL: Curve NX, 18, Jalan PJU 7/5, Mutiara Damansara, 47810 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia