We visited Kidzania London last weekend for a Birthday treat for C. He was 5 on the Wednesday and seeing as it was his first week at school we decided to make it a nice weekend.
Kidzania London is situated in Westfield shopping centre in Shepherd Bush. We’ve never been but I have heard lots about it.
Kidaznia is basically an indoor city, just for kids. They have the opportunity to experience various different jobs and careers to earn money, have the chance to spend their earnings on fun activities or to open a bank account to save their cash.
Kidzania is pretty easy to find. Westfield is a huge shopping centre and Kidznia is situated on the first floor by Marks & Spencers. When you arrive there is a desk opposite where you hand in your confirmation. I also assume you can buy tickets there as well, as long as they had spaces for the timeslot you wanted that day. We had pre-booked our day and time slot.
You are given tickets that are like pretend plane boarding tickets. It has your name, date and time slot and various other details to mimic an actual boarding ticket. You then take your boarding tickets over to the main entrance and you are directed to the elevators and told to go to level three to the departure area.
I honestly didn’t know what to expect despite watching the official kidzania video on their website but I was really very impressed when we arrived at the ‘airport’
When it was our turn to ‘check in’ we handed over our boarding passes and just like real life they tore the stub off and handed us back the main ticket. We were then also given our security RFID bracelet which are really detailed. The bands were all scanned to link us all together as a family. They would alarm if either of the children walked out of the city and only one parent could leave at any time, one had to stay on site – again it would have alarmed if both parents tried to leave. This allows your children to have the freedom if they are a little older to explore the city and the activities themselves whilst Mum, Dad/Carer sat in the various cafe areas inside. They had to also be removed once our session was over a little like a shop removes a clothing label with a magnet. So kids can’t remove them themselves.
We were also given a brief seeing as we have never visited before explaining how Kidzania works. Both children were handed a health and safety hair net which they had to use on activities that required them to wear headgear and they were also issued with their Kidzo’s. Kidzo is Kidzania’s currency. They were each issued with 50 kidzo’s.
These can be used to pay for certain activities, you can earn more Kidzo’s from doing various jobs in the workplace or they can choose to open a Kidzania bank account and save their money (if they have a minimum of 75 Kidzo’s) and they can leave their savings in the bank to earn interest between visits. There is also a shop where they can buy small items using their Kidzo’s on the way out I believe – we didn’t do this though.
Each activity or job has an allocated amount of children allowed into each session. It’s clearly posted outside each door with the capacity of children allowed in, the amount of Kidzo’s it’ll cost or how much you’ll earn and how long each session takes. We did visit on a Saturday and sometimes we found we had to queue for more than 20 minutes for certain activities. A few times C left the queue he was in purely because he didn’t want to stand around. We all found it pretty exhausting by the end of the 4 hours with all the standing around we did.
C first opted to be a firefighter. Once it was his turn after queuing his group were all taken into the fire station for a briefing before they got called out on a ‘job’ To get to their call out they went in an actual moving fire engine. Parents were able to follow behind so we could be with them or if your children are older you can let them go off on their own.
He was taken to a place over the other side of the city where a hotel was on fire. There were also two other activity groups attending the scene too (paramedics and police) and the area was cordoned off. C and his team had to put the fire out while the paramedics paid attention to any causalities and the police made sure no-one crossed the barrier until it was safe to do so.
There were special effects to make it as real as possible with mini explosion noises and fire crackles. They also had really water hoses to put the ‘fire’ out with. C had a great time.
Next up he chose to be a paramedic. It was a similar activity to being a firefighter – he was in a set up a bit like an A&E department – they sat and had a briefing after putting on the uniform and then had a call out – this time they went in an ambulance to the same area he went to as a firefighter only this time he was treating any causalities. At the end of his session, he was paid a wage for his work.
He then queued up to be a shop assistant in the supermarket but he got bored of queuing because it was quite a long queue, so instead he had a go on the climbing wall. This being a fun activity obviously cost him some kidzo’s.
The next activity he chose was to be a dentist. He earned kidzo’s from doing this and the room looked really authentic!
Next up he tried his hand at being a surgeon. He was the only one in the queue so he had the whole activity to himself! His patient needed a liver transplant, he had to put them to sleep and then using the theatre tools he had to perform a transplant.
Lastly, he was a vet with the PDSA. Here he had to help operate on a poorly dog.
Kidzania is aimed at children aged 4-14 years and although L was within that bracket she actually didn’t want to do anything once she was in there. She felt too self-conscious being that much older so next time I will just put her down as an adult (if we return before she’s 15 that is) Having said that C doubled his money by having L’s.
We had a great time, even just as an adult watching your little ones enjoy the different experiences. We will definitely like to return again one day and perhaps it’ll give C a chance to explore different jobs next time.