I’ve heard good things about Kidzania in KL and Bangkok, but this was our very first personal experience of it, and it was simply WONDERFUL.
The hubs and I love Bangkok, but it can be difficult finding something for the kids amidst all the tailoring, shopping and spa treatments we want to do there. No longer, now that Kidzania Bangkok has been open for 2 years.
Located within Siam Paragon, it’s smack in the centre of Bangkok, in a district that all tourists are familiar with.
It can be a bit tricky to find it within the huge mall, so here’s the best way to get to it. Take a lift (from the side of Siam Paragon with the vertical plant decor) up to the fourth floor, then get an escalator to the fifth floor.
We wanted to get the full experience, so we planned our trip such that it was before Singapore (and Thai) school holidays started, and went on a weekday to avoid the weekend crowds. On weekdays, you can stay from 10am to 5pm (which we did), whereas on weekends you have to choose between one of the shorter sessions of 10am – 3pm or 4pm – 9pm.
Thankfully for us, we found out on that day itself that no school groups were scheduled that day either. Yay! It made a huge difference since there were hardly any queues for all of the activities, and the longest we had to wait was around 10 mins, and that was because they were gathering more children to start the activity. The usual wait from Tripadvisor reviews was 30-40 mins per activity!
Check out the actual Boeing 737 airplane installed! It provided the most realistic environment possible for the kids to learn how to be pilots and air stewardesses.
I really liked the ethos of Kidzania, and the fact that children have to do everything alone, without the interference of us helicopter parents. It’s nice that parents could still witness their kids at play (through large clear glass windows), whilst not being able to intervene too much, or influencing their decisions. There are trained staff there to teach and guide the children, and it was great that at every station there were staff that could speak English too.
Children between 0-4 years old have fewer activities that they can participate in, but they have a special area on one side of the second floor dedicated to them, including a few rooms and a sandpit. Admission charges are accordingly lower for them.
Since B is only 3 months shy to her fourth birthday, the counter staff assessed that she could join in most the big kid activities, so we got her a big kid ticket, and boy did she have fun, gamely participating in many activities alone, when her sister wasn’t keen to join in! 🙂
The interior is realistic and beautifully designed, and really resembles a kid-sized city. At more than 10,000 square metres large, it is the third-largest Kidzania in the world, behind those in Mexico (its founding city) and Seoul. The streets are large enough for actual vehicles, driven by adults to move slowly through, carrying mini-paramedics, firemen and bank vault staff.
Simply put, children get a chance to experience various occupations, and learn what these professions do on a day-to-day basis. There is no better way to learn than through ‘doing’, and Kidzania is unparalleled in providing great fun in the process. It also inculcates the value of work, since they are paid for working, and will have to ‘work’ more to ‘spend’, should they run out of money.
First up, the kids can go to the bank to get their ‘starter money’ of 50 Kidzos.
We were then spoilt for choice (there are more than 70 career activities!), and the girls chose sushi making because they LOVE sushi. Because they would be able to keep and eat the sushi roll they made, this activity ‘cost’ 15 Kidzos to participate in. It was totally super fun.
It was great that hygiene was emphasised too, and they had to wash their hands before and after the sushi-making. Us parents tried their final product, and it was truly delicious.
After making (and eating) sushi, we wandered upstairs and came across this TV studio. There were 4 kids who were given their choice of job, ranging from cameraman to newscaster. K was the youngest, but she chose to be the newscaster, I was thrilled because it’s actually one of my dream jobs! In fact, I would have gladly paid to be able to experience being ‘on screen’ myself. We took a video of her going ‘live’ and it was so cute.
There was an “acting academy” too, and kids would be trained for 50 minutes, before putting up a 15 minute ‘play’ that all can view, in a posh little theatre!
K went for it, and was the Little Mermaid’s sister. I thought the costumes and acting were great. Since there were only a few kids who signed up to participate in that session, the staff took on most of the roles. Little Mermaid herself was a Thai kid, so the play was bilingual!
I was glad that there were less ‘glamorous’ jobs to experience too, such as working on a construction site, and being a delivery man. The kids unexpectedly really enjoyed being construction workers (“building bricks is like playing with Lego!”) and throughout the day, I saw so many children happily pushing the delivery cart around to collect and deliver parcels.
The flight simulator housed two activities – as explained in the sign that every ‘occupation’ has, up to 8 kids could participate at a time, and be either the Pilot of the First officer. The activity would take 15 minutes, kids had to be above 4 years old, and they’d earn 10 Kidzos for this job.
Earn credit whilst having fun and learning how to fly a plane? Wow, what’s not to love?
The girls chose to learn how to be flight attendants. Although it has longer working hours, it commands less pay (8 Kidzos), which I thought was a fair and realistic reflection of the real world, haha.
They had a fantastic time. Even though parents were not allowed up the plane, we could observe what they were up to from a screen on the ground floor. It was so cute to see them donning life jackets and giving instructions on how to use them.
The girls later related that this was one of their favourite activities, since they really enjoyed the role play. The staff tested them, asking for green tea and chocolate, when all they had to offer was coffee or tea. Fun training on how to react to difficult customers! They had a chance to ‘serve’ these drinks too.
All in all, the girls were absorbed at every moment, and thoroughly enjoyed all that was on offer. The staff was enthusiastic and well-trained, and most of those we encountered certainly showed a joy in working with children.
This is just Part 1 of our experience because we have so much to share. In the next installment, we will be showing how much fun they had being firemen, police women, and bottling drinks and snacks that they got to keep! Stay tuned…
Note: We received a discount on entry to Kidzania as part of this review.