Kids Love Kidzania- London!!!!
Kidzania sounds like a loud bounce house or arcade, full of kids running a muck. I pictured total chaos and a mayhem; your typical kids love it, parents hate it, money snatcher.....Surprisingly, Kidzania is almost the exact opposite. It really is! The most organized, educational, children's facility I ever had the pleasure of visiting. It's large and reminds me a tiny town for kids. And although your child is smiling, the place happens to be educational. I don't think I can be brief in summarizing our experience, but I'll take a stab at it.
Kidzania is a small town with schools, businesses, and entertainment for kids. At Kidzania, children explore several different career fields and activities to get an idea of what interest them the most. They receive bucks as they enter, by way of a mini British Airways flight, and can choose to spend or earn more. Kids can either use their bucks to attend school/ training, enjoy an activity, or make a purchase. Some activities include attending a soccer match, getting a tattoo, or catching a stage performance at the theatre. To earn more bucks, children can GO TO WORK! Each experience is labeled with either the cost to participate or the payment amount your child will receive for working. For example, your child must pay to attend pilot school, but can earn money working as a pilot later. Other jobs included a Firefighter, Graphic Artist, Cook (where they made real burgers 😋), Fashion Designer, Actor, Soccer Player, Doctor, Police Officer and more. This is not your regular "play dress up" experience. Each experience is setup to provide children with insight and understanding of how to perform each task and how it impacts their lives.
One of my favorite had to be the newspaper/ journalism job. My son used clues to discover an event, interviewed both a primary and secondary source at other activities, and actually typed an article for the newspaper. Pretty awesome!
There's a parent lounge with snacks, computers and magazines for those with kids who can roam about on their own. Kidzania supplies a security bracelet to track the your child's location at all times. But honestly, it was very rewarding and entertaining to watch our kid take part in the small town and learn.
Our interactions with the employees were memorable as well. Some were sooo attentive and passionate. A staff member working in the art studio had a chat with my son (I was not allowed inside of any activity areas, as noted on the website, so I did not hear the conversation). I later learned that they talked about his travels and his goals. She also promised to draw him a picture if he came back to get it before we left. She kept her promise and as we were leaving she thanked us for allowing her to spend time with our son. She also said that we should be proud to have such an amazing kid and asked that we please continue to nurture his talents. Her compliment had me leaving the place with a warm heart and tears in my eyes. Kidzania is a must for families visiting London and locals. It is definitely a great learning experience for children and parents alike.
Here are a few tips:
- Please read the website in its entirety before visiting to make sure you understand how the queues work and the age requirements for activities.
- Check the website to save on the cost of admission. We purchased our tickets over the phone to get the after school rate, so subscribe to get notifications about any additional savings.
- The traffic was lite. Great, but that also meant that my son could not complete the jobs that required a group of participants. The news station requires a news anchor, camera crew, and meteorologist. Some activities require a specific number of participants to get the full experience of the job, as well as an age requirement. So, with lite traffic, it can be difficult to meet the mark. Plan accordingly.
- Adversely, if it is too busy there may be long wait times for activities. I'll say we were in between. My son did a number a jobs, earned money and had a blast.
- The only bummer would be the fact that it is almost impossible to earn enough money to buy a cool toy at the department store after just one visit. And I get it! The whole idea is for your child to learn the value of dollar. However, it is a bit disappointing for a children visiting from another country. My son wanted to use his ATM card, to make a withdrawal and a purchase, but he could not afford the more attractive items. So he quickly learned a real life lesson...nothing in life comes easy! With that piece of information, be prepared to stop at the gift shop on the way out!