After Part 1, here’s the second segment on our fantastic time at Kidzania. When you get your tickets, you will also be armed with an amazing map of the place. It is like a secret manual, which also indicates next to each activity (in the legend) whether it is suitable for under 4s, whether it is an ‘earning’ or ‘spending’ activity, and whether parents can sit in as football stadium spectators, etc.
The girls love Meiji milk, so working at the Milk Factory was a must on their list. The Coke bottling plant was a huge favourite among the crowd, and there were always a couple of kids hovering outside for the next session. Our girls are not allowed to drink Coke (given its caffeine content), so they obediently handed over their loot to us parents after they were done. It was cute how there was a mini assembly line, from jetting water into the empty bottle to make sure it was clean, to adding concentrate, then carbonated water, then covering it manually with a cap which was then stamped with a logo, and then putting it through the large labelling machine finally.
There was also a Koh-Kae peanut factory, where the kids learnt how peanuts are packaged in a very hygienic environment. This is such a familiar brand whenever we are in Thailand! The fact that all the occupations are sponsored by actual companies also makes the experience all the more realistic and easy to relate to. They probably feel so adult and important to have scored a mini-internship!
Almost 4 year old B wanted to be a fireman but her sis was not interested, so she gamely queued up herself to join the force. Love the guts of this pint-sized pixie. She then happily chatted with the uncles who helped her into her fireman jacket and rolled up the sleeves for her, since they were too long though it must have been the smallest size!
What I loved about Kidzania city was that it had real vehicles, driven by adults who slowly and very carefully manoevere through the streets. It brings these occupations to life, firemen travelling in a fire-engine, or paramedics in an ambulance (see photos further down) complete with siren, and bank vault employees in a secure bank van!
Big sister didn’t want to be a policewoman, so B went alone again! This time, she was not just the littlest participant in that session, but also the only girl. The police officers marched through the streets to the beat of a whistle, and asked various ‘shops’ – “Is everything ok?”.
The chief police constable must be commended as the most enthusiastic staff I met – throughout the day he tirelessly led his charges (numerous groups!) and seemed very upbeat the whole time! Watching him dash here and there made me appreciate the patience of the staff – it must be quite tedious to make the fire-engine put out fires continuously for 7 hours! But at least there were 4 staff manning the firestation activity…
K was more interested in working for the bank (hmmm… the lure of the financial sector starts early…), and got an in-depth lesson on how the bank functions in disseminating and collecting cash from various establishments, as well as keeping proper records and collecting the necessary signatures. She got to try out the cash counting machine, and sit in the bank van too.
If all those activities are making you feel breathless, take heart. Parents can veg out at this huge lounge, which is nice and quiet. I had brought a book along, and thought I’d be able to read a lot of it, but the occupations were so fun to watch that I couldn’t tear myself away! I only spent about half an hour in the lounge when the girls were at the “acting academy” since we couldn’t watch them rehearse for a good 50 minutes.
For older kids, they are probably independent enough to spend the whole day there themselves, without parents being around at all. Say hello to freedom!
I thought the hospital building was built beautifully. K wasn’t interested, but B went to work at the hospital – they have four professions within the hospital alone, ranging from paramedics (you get to ride in the ambulance and ‘treat’ another citizen in need – hilarious play-acting there by the fun-loving staff), to surgeons (you get to open up a plastic body and see where all the plastic organs go), to pediatricians in the baby nursery, to nurses helping with broken bones…
One of the last occupations they undertook that day was that of a vet’s! There was a lovely spacious Veterinary Clinic with a real fishtank full of goldfish. There were pretend pets such as dogs, cats and rabbits, and I think the girls learnt quite a lot cos the briefing was quite long.
The main activity that the girls were too young and too short to participate in was the driving of little cars that looked very posh. One has to be 130cm to qualify because their feet have to be long enough to reach the simulator at the driving school (see photo at bottom right of collage). They have to pass that driving test, and get their eyes checked at the optometrist’s first. Nicely aligned to how one would get a licence in real life! B was a little sad because she loved driving at Legoland, but rules are rules! She got to play a bit at topping up gas as a petrol kiosk attendant, and both sisters were auto-mechanics and learnt how to unscrew bolts and actually changed a tyre with some help. What a life skill.
All too soon, it was closing time, and the last thing the girls did was to shop at the mini Siam Paragon shopping centre. K had earned more money, and I asked if she wanted to buy something with her own money, or pool it with B’s and get them both similar stuff. Was so proud when she immediately opted to pool her money – such a sweet big sister.
However, since they only had 192 Kidzos combined, they could only buy a pencilcase and a sheet of stickers. Still, they were happy and the fact that they can ‘earn money’ from having such great experiences is a plus in itself! In fact, the Kidzos can be ‘banked in’ at the CIMB Bank, and it’ll earn interest! Since we weren’t sure when we’d be back, we decided to spend as much as possible.
Even though we spent almost 7 hours inside, and only had a short break for lunch at the Macdonald’s outlet within, we couldn’t complete some activities that looked so interesting! That includes making burgers in the kiddy kitchen right next to the actual Macdonald’s outlet, learning about the care of teeth and being a dentist, being an optometrist, and learning a disco dance to perform in the main square!
Did you know that a Kidzania will be opening in Singapore (Sentosa) next year? I can’t wait! It will be the latest addition to some 16 Kidzanias worldwide.
I think what sets it apart from other theme parks is the copious amount of learning that takes place in such a short space of time. Not to mention the many uber cute photo ops from the uniforms and equipment they get to handle. The hubs and I were very impressed at the attention to detail throughout Kidzania city. From the cement mixer at the construction site, to the elaborate dressers at the Acting Academy… what a wonderful day well-spent!
Note: We received a discount on entry to Kidzania as part of this review.