“What do you want to be when you grow up?” was the question which we all pondered as little people and in some cases even as adults. Someone said to me the other day, that their father still doesn’t know what to do when he grows up and he is 67!
Maybe if this father had visited somewhere like KidZania when he was little he would have known by now which career path he wanted to follow.
For those of you who don’t already know KidZania KL: it’s basically a place dedicated to letting children explore a wide selection of jobs through role play and where they can pretend to be all grown up. They get paid for any work they complete in the local currency, kidzos. They can then choose to spend that money on treats like a visit to the beauty salon or deposit the money into their very own bank account and receive a debit card.
I think it’s fair to say that children in general don’t deal with disappointment or long queues exceptionally well. So if there’s a job that your child has their heart set on doing, particularly the popular ones like pilot or firefighter I would suggest that they try these first and that you prepare them to have to wait in a queue for quite some time. Also parents are not allowed to stand in queues on behalf of their children, so at least you won’t have to do that.
Some activities you can just do whenever you want, others you will have to turn up at a certain time for. The children seem to grasp the hang of this quickly. But be prepared to be their personal assistant for the day and to have to remind them where they need to be and when. However, if your kids are old enough to manage their own schedules, you can sit back and relax in the parents lounge.
Where to eat at KidZania KL?
When it is time for their lunch break there are places to eat scattered around the ground floor. You can choose from the burger joint, cafeteria or Asia food restaurant for lunch or the candy, ice cream or coffee shops for snacks. As with most of the fun focused places the emphasis is not on the quality or range of food on offer. However KidZania is slightly different in that they can try their hands at working at McDonalds and prepare their own lunch. As you can imagine, this is one of the more popular activities available, so be prepared to queue. Also be aware that you are not allowed to bring in your own food, so if you have picky eaters you may want to fill up before you go in.
What is the right age to visit KidZania?
It is suggested that the activities are suitable for children aged one to 14, but unless your kid is a child prodigy and can speak fluently at the age of twelve months I would recommend that you wait until they’re at least five or six years old and can be left to roam confidently and independently without too much interference from parents. Plus there are height and age restrictions on some of the activities, like the climbing wall that requires your child to be over 120cm tall.
Also, I can’t imagine a self conscious teenager willingly dressing up in a police or fire-fighter outfit. My son who is nearly nine enjoyed the five-hour-stretch he spent exploring the city, but in another year or so when kids start to find everything cripplingly embarrassing I might have to drag him into the place rather than dragging him out.
I would recommend going with a small group of friends: not only will they encourage each other to try new activities, but you will also have a grown up friend of your own to keep you entertained whilst the kids are working for a change. A perfect role reversal!
What did the kids think?
When I asked my seven-year-old daughter where she wanted to explore first she said ‘Not that hospital ward for new born babies, those babies look disgusting!’ And when I asked her at the end what job she would like to do when she grows up she said she would love to work in Kidzania! So the visit did help her at least choose a career.
When I asked my son which activity he had enjoyed most he said doing the grocery shopping at the mini supermarket. So now I know what to do with him next time he groans that he is bored and doesn’t know what to do: I will take him for a fun-filled jaunt to Jaya Grocer.
Practical info about visiting KidZania
If a family visit to a kid-sized city spread over two floors, with more than 60 places to explore sounds right up your street then head to KidZania, based next to IKEA in Mutiara Damansara. You really can’t miss it as it has the nose of a big Air Asia plane sticking out of the front.
As tickets bought at the door start at RM89 per child and RM47 per accompanying adult, it is worth visiting its website before you go to see if it is running any offers for cheaper tickets and also book a slot to avoid disappointment.
Until 15 March 2019 they are offering a 30% discount when you produce a McDonalds receipt showing a spend of RM20 or more. Tesco Clubcard holders can receive a 20% discount with no minimum spend. There is also a special after school promotion currently running with tickets priced at RM 50 per child.
It is highly recommended to visit outside the peak hours if only you can, though it is popular with school groups so rarely empty. I am told that if you are visiting at weekends that Sunday tends to be less busy than weekends. Another good tip is that before you book your tickets online you can ring ahead and find out how many tickets they have already sold for that day, they can also tell you how many school groups have booked in.
Due to its not so little price tag and because the novelty may wear off if you went too often, in my opinion it’s a great edutainment centre to visit once or twice a year. But if your kids really fall in love with the place, it does offer various birthday party packages and it also has centres all over the world including Bangkok and Singapore if you fancy a change of scene.
Kidzania opens most days at 10am apart from on Mondays when it’s closed, unless it happens to be a Malaysian school or public holiday. It closes at 5pm Sunday to Friday and at 7pm on Saturdays and Malaysian public and school holidays.
For more information about this haven for kids visit www.kidzania.com.my or email firstname.lastname@example.org