Tuesday, 21 April 2015

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Kidzania Edu-Theme Park


Age:  Most suitable for kids 4-12 years old. However, there is a small playland for children below 3 years old.

Concept:

Kidzania is a new form of edutainment theme park for kids.

In this country called "Kidzania," kids earn money by working. Kids get to try out many different types of occupations in a very life-like and fun way. Parents are however, not allowed into the stations. But parents can look in outside through the class panels.

Its website best describes the concept:

"KidZania provides children and their parents a safe, unique, and very realistic educational environment that allows kids between the ages of four to twelve to do what comes naturally to them: role-playing by mimicking traditionally adult activities. As in the real world, children perform "jobs" and are either paid for their work (as a fireman, doctor, police officer, journalist, shopkeeper, etc.) or pay to shop or to be entertained. The indoor theme park is a city built to scale for children, complete with buildings, paved streets, vehicles, a functioning economy, and recognizable destinations in the form of "establishments" sponsored and branded by leading multi-national and local brands."

But how would I, a Singapore-bred Merlion Mom, describe Kidzania?

I think Kidzania is one of the most value-for-money all-in-one enrichment centres that any Singaporean mom and dad could dream of - and at the same time it is full of fun :-)

Think of it this way, your child is learning general knowledge and practical skills from one-to-one instructor giving personal attention at each station at a fraction of the cost you pay at the enrichment centres in Singapore :-) During peak time, it could be one-to-five.

Education Value:

1. Your child learns to role play different occupations.

2. Without you teaching explicitly, at the end of the day, on hindsight, your child will understand that in order to earn more kidzos, he has to be very strategic and selective with regards to his occupations. What is reflected in real life, your child will learn it here. And it will also teach him decision-making skills. It is better for him to experience this at 6 years old, than as an adult in the real world at 25 years old.

3. Your child learns about many different topics and areas, such as brushing teeth, fire-safety, theft prevention, human anatomy, vitamins. For example, each activity/job shows you how much you earn and summarize what you will learn:


In my opinion, it is more fun than disneyland, but since I have been accused of being a "Tiger Mom," I am probably biased towards such edu-theme parks. I shall leave you to judge for you :-)

Kidzania edu-theme park is located in several different countries. We brought our Little FECS to the one in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia in February this year.

The language of instruction is in English. And the Malaysian crew are superb! I have all the praise for them. They spoke well, genuinely love the kids, and are blessed with extroverted personalities that just make everything comes alive and energetic.


Opening Hours:

There are two sessions. Your entrance tickets allows you for one session, unless you buy entrance tickets for two sessions, as we did to have a full day from 1am-9pm. However, if you go for Saturday, the longer single session from 10-7pm is quite sufficient, provided there is no heavy queue.

First session 10am-3pm
Second session: 4-9pm

Some days you have single session 10am-5pm.
On Saturdays, you have a longer single session from 10am-7pm.

Since we flew into KL just for Kidzania, we wanted to maximize our time there. We bought tickets for 2 sessions for extended time. Our Little FECS has the stamina for the whole day from 10am - 9pm. But he was completely flat out after the theme park closed it doors.

Generally, the afternoon session is less crowded and your child gets more individual attention from the attendant at each vocation station.

See details here:

http://www.kidzania.com.my/admissions/opening-hours/

How to Get There?

It is located inside the Curve NX Shopping complex.



The address is:
Kidzania KL
Curve NX
18 Jalan PJU 715
Multiara Damansara
47810 Petaling Jaya
Selangor Darul Ehsan
Website: http://www.kidzania.com.my

It is 18km from KLCC and it takes approx. 20 minutes by cab with no heavy traffic. It cost 41 RM with meter.

The whole experience starts already on the way there...


You "enter" the Kidzania country through the "Kidzania airport":


Here is the main entrance to Kidzania:


Where to Buy Tickets?

When you enter, you will be at the Ground Floor main hall AirAsia "Check-in counters", where you can purchase your boarding passes (aka. tickets to the Kidzania theme park). See the long queue, even though we arrived when it just opened in the morning. To avoid queue, you could buy tickets on-line and save 10% off the ticket price as well. But you have to buy your tickets at least 24 hours before. We didn't, thus we had to queue on-site :-(


Finally, it was our turn. The Kidzania staff were dressed in AirAsia uniform printing out the "boarding passes" to us.

Cost:

Kid: 67.50 RM per session
Adult: 34.20 RM per session

You can save money and get discount by buying your tickets on-line...

For details, see here:

http://www.kidzania.com.my/admissions/entrance-fee/


Once you have purchased your tickets, proceed up the escalator to Level 5 Immigration Hall to get your "cheque"


 Our Little FECS getting his cheque :-)


Kidzania is a "country" for kids. It has its own currency called "kidzos." When your child enters the compound, he first has to get cash as a start up. Here is a picture of our Little FECS queuing up to cash out his cheque into 50 "kidzos" :-)


Give your child a wallet to bring along to keep his "kidzos." It helps with a sling bag.

Besides having its own currency, it has its own language:

Kai = Hello
z-u = See you
Kal = Friend
Zaz = Wow
Kool = cool

We returned for the second session, and there wasn't much of a queue :-) Remember to greet the staff "kai" - Hello.


Once you have visited the bank, head straight to the Information Centre to get your map of Kidzania, which will orientate you and help you navigate and plan your route to maximise the activities offered in the theme park.


There are two floors. Here is the map of Ground Floor:


Here is the map of Upper Floor, where these popular activities are located: pilot station by AirAsia, the Cadbury Chocolate Factory, the Oreo Cookie Factory, the Ice-Cream making Factory, Mineral Water plant and the Surgical Department of the Hospital:


At Kidzania, your child gets to be a pilot. It is one of the most popular jobs...


and also the highest paid. Here you can see the different salaries of the different roles on board an airplane:

Here is the entrance to the flight station:


Our Little FECS putting on the pilot uniform inside the flight station:


Our Little FECS showing off the salary he earned after being a pilot :-)


At Kidzania, your child gets to be a dentist...


Here our Little FECS trying out to be a dentist on a dummy - it looks very real, isn't it :-):


Here are some videos:


He also gets to learn about good dental hygiene and how to brush his teeth...


He gets to try to brush the gigantic teeth... which was a fun way to learn how to brush teeth :-)


Their educational posters are well-designed and fun to read. Here are two examples:



Thereafter he gets his pay being a dentist for a day. Our Little FECS counting his salary :-)


Your child gets to be a fireman for a day. Any activity with water is always a hit. Thus, this is one of the most popular vocations at Kidzania. It is recommended that you head straight for this station, the moment you step into the park, as there risk to be a long queue.


Before your child gets to be a fireman, he gets "training" first :-) Here our Little FECS was treated to a video show on fire-safety with the big brother firemen giving them a presentation. I was very impressed how fun and educational it was.

 

After receiving training, our Little FECS was a qualified fire-fighter and got to jump into the fire-engine.


 Here is a shot of him :-)


The fire-engine then "sped" off one round the park to get to the fire-site:




As you can see, anything with water is fun, which explains why being a fireman is the most popular vocation :-)


At Kidzania, if your child loves Maths, he would love working as a Tax Collector. If he doesn't love Maths, who knows, he may be inspired to it after trying it out :-)

Even if he doesn't, he would get a good lesson on the tax system. The guy who meant the station did a fantastic job in explaining the concept of taxes and how taxes are collected. Plus your child gets to earn some substantial kidzos too :-)


It is near lunch time, feeling hungry? 

Now is a good time to work as a Sushi Chef. However, for this station, you have to pay with your "kidzos." Thus, make sure that you have taken on some paying vocations and save up enough "kidzos" for this sushi-making activity. For those who don't like sushi, you can also head over to the pizza-making station.


Our Little FECS learning to make sushi: 


Our Little FECS tucking heartily into the sushi he made himself:


If your child is still hungry, ask him to head over to the Marybrown Fast Food Joint and be a Fast Food Crew. Aaww.... this is a kid's paradise, but for young-at-heart adults too :-)


Your child can prepare a nice burger for you (but your child has to pay some kidzos):


After main course, if your child wishes for something sweet, then head to the Cadbury Chocolate Factory and learn how to make actual chocolates. They get to eat them too, but this station requires you to pay too - 10 kidzos. Be aware though that there is a minimum age of 8 years old for this station (don't ask me why, I still didn't figure it out even after asking). Our Little FECS unfortunately at 5 years old, did not qualify :-(


There is also the Oreo Cookie Factory, where your child "will be taken through the process of cookie manufacturing and packaging,"but there is a minimum age of 8 years old for this station too, and you need to pay 10 kidzos (so ask your kids to work hard first :-)


If your child is too young to make chocolate or cookie, despair not. Just hope over to the Vitagen Factory and learn how to make Vitagen yogurt drink. The best thing is that you not only get a bottle of vitagen to drink after completion, you are also paid "kidzos" at this station :-) Our Little FECS loved it so much (the vitagen), he did this activity twice. 


The set-up is impressive, complete with real production line that looks like a real mini factory:


Give me a high-five. Well done kids :-)


Our Little FECS and the children were having so much fun, and were so excited about manufacturing his own Vitagen... as you could see from these videos :-)





Here our Little FECS was enjoying the "fruit of his labor" of producing vitagen :-)


Want a sweet treat before leaving Kidzania? Now is the time for your child to reward himself and spend some kidzos, after working so hard. Head to the Ayam Cooking Class station and learn to bake muffins with the instructor. After your child has completed it, they will be placed in the oven, and before the edu-theme park closes, you can go and collect your fresh-out-of-the-oven muffins.


Here our Little FECS was engrossed baking his muffins, but unfortunately, we forgot to collect our muffins at closing time! :-(


Thirsty? Opt for the healthy choice to quench your thirst - head for the SeaMaster mineral water making factory. Unfortunately, this station is up for maintenance, and we did not get the chance to try it :-(


Look at how amazingly real the equipment are:



Complete with an attendant in uniform :-)



At Kidzania, you can become a Surgeon too. The whole Kidzania hospital takes up two floors. It is built just like a real hospital - really impressive! 


Here is the entrance of the hospital - looks every bit the entrance of a hospital :-)


And the look of the operating theatre is equally impressive, complete with all the details you see in a real operating theatre:


Here Our Little FECS was trying to operate on a dummy patient. He learned how to cut open the chest and handle the knifes... Be warned that this is a very popular station, and could have long waiting time. (I will return to this post later to fill in the blanks). 


We were very fortunate that when we were there, there were no queue. This is one of the high paying occupations in Kidzania, along with being the dentist. 


Your child earns 12-14 kidzos for being a surgeon - one of the most highest paid vocation at Kidzania :-)


Not keen to be a surgeon? How about being a Nurse? Here your child learns how to handle a newborn baby at the maternity ward of Kidzania's hospital. Very educational if you are going to have a second baby, and have the need to prepare your child to receive a little brother or sister. Even if you don't, this station is very educational and hands-on in training your child how to be a good father/mother :-)


Here is a video of our Little FECS learning how to wrap and feed a newborn baby at the maternity ward of the hospital in Kidzania (You could not hear the conversations, because parents were not allowed in, and this video was taken from afar behind glass panels):



Here is our Little FECS learning how to bath a baby:


Don't want to work in the hospital? Your child can also choose to be a Patient undergoing a MRI. However, being a patient does not pay so well compared to being a surgeon. To be kind to the boy, our Little FECS decided to be a patient. The doctor was registering our Little FECS in the system, before giving him an MRI:



At the Supermarket station, your child can choose to be a customer or a cashier, both jobs earn you "kidzos." 


Our Little FECS chose to be a Cashier, and enjoyed very much scanning the items at check-out :-)


Fancy being a politician? No problem, go for it :-) At Kidzania, your child gets to fulfil his dream of being a Major for a day:


Here, our Little FECS was trying out a program on town-planning:


At Kidzania, your child gets to manufacture a Dell laptop. It is quite educational for our Little FECS to learn more about the different components of the computer.

And it comes with a one-to-one Dell instructor too - all for the price all inclusive in the theme park entrance. 

Kidzania is the most value for money all in one enrichment centre that any Singaporean mom and dad could dream of :-)



Here your child can learn how to design a car at the Honda Car station:


Here is the car that our Little FECS has designed:


Here your child can try to be a Health Researcher for a day, and explore all the funs with chemistry. According to Kidzania, he "will learn about the importance of personal hygiene in living a healthy life. He will conduct research on liquid soap ingredients and produce liquid soap mixture.":


Or your child can be a Vitamin Researcher, where she or he will be taken through the manufacturing process of vitamin supplements:



 There are cameramen all around taking pictures of your child:


Some interesting facts about vitamins:


At the TV Station, one was a News Presenter while our Little FECS was the Sound Crew






Here is what you earn:



Here you get to be a Chemist and learn something about chemistry too :-) 




Tired of working at the white-collar jobs? Time to flex his muscle? Your child can try out working as a Construction Worker laying bricks. Some good gross motor and coordination skills training here :-) This station is also suitable for younger children.


Your child can also try work as Petrol Pump Attendant at the petrol station and pump petrol for the cars that stop by at the petrol kiosk :-)


If your child needs to run around to dispense off the extra energy, being a Courier Service would be the perfect job for him. He gets to run around and at the same time earning a salary :-)


How about becoming a Policeman? Your child gets to don the police uniform and...


 sees a video on preventing theft...



before he proceeds to catch a thief:


If he is not interested to be a policeman, he can also be a CIA Special Secret Agent. We didn't have the time to try that.

Or your child can work as a Window-Cleaner too:


Or Painter:


Want a job that exercise your child's artistic ability instead? He or she can try out being an Artist at Kidzania's Art Studio. Our son is not so keen with Art, so he didn't try this:


Looking for some interesting and glamorous vocations for girls? Your child can try out running a salon for a day, or try being a Photo-model for a day at the super-model studio (I forgot to take a picture, thus photo not included here). Our Little FECS wasn't interested in them, but this is how the hair-salon looks like, isn't it cute? 


Here is another activity working as a Technician at the Air conditioning system, where your child gets through a maze of secret tunnels, slides, tunnels, etc. to "repair" the aircon. It looked really fun, but unfortunately, due to lack of time, our Little FECS didn't get to explore it :-(



The streets of Kidzania are very intricate, interesting, fun and cute to look at. It looks like you are at the town in Disneyland:




The streets are so life-like and full of details - they come fully equipped with a drainage cover...


And traffic crossing junctions too :-)


At the end of the day, if your child still have a lot of kidzos left, he can spend it at the Kidzania Departmental Store. But to be honest, it is not worth a visit.


Be warned, everything costs a fortune there! Most likely, your child would not have enough kidzos left to buy anything, leave disappointed. So you may want to skip this departmental store altogether! This is my only complaint about Kidzania - they set the price too ridiculously high!


Close-up:


Our Little FECS bought a bummerang from the Kidzania store, and he paid a hefty kidzo fortune for it:


Some More Practical Information...

Playhouse for Toddlers:

If you have toddlers or younger kids below 3, despair not, there is a Playhouse for them all done up complete with different rooms - living-room, bathroom, bedroom and kitchen for them to explore:








Free Wi-Fi:

While waiting for your child, there is free Wi-Fi available for you to keep yourself occupied. I didn't use it much, as I was having so much fun, seeing our Little FECS trying out all the fun activities from behind the glass panels and busy snapping pictures (as you could imagine :-):


VIP Lounge for Parents:

For parents who are tired with walking, there is a VIP lounge just for parents. Kids are not allowed.



Where to Eat?

The food there was mediocre. After the first session end at 3pm, we walked over eCurve Shopping Mall and have our dinner at Din Tai Fung, a Chinese restaurant known for its quality of food, before we went back again for the second session.

Occupation List:

There are approx. 90 jobs to choose from, more than the time available. We didn't get to try all of them. Here is a list of them:

- Dentist (the highest paying job - earns you 12 kidzos)
- Fire-fighters
- Pilot
- Flight attendants
- Secret Agent
- CIA
- DJs
- Model
- News presenter
- Journalist
- Lawyer
- Judge
- Doctor
- Surgeon
- Midwife
- Medics
- Courier
- Painter
- Window cleaner
- Construction worker
- Car Mechanic
- Petrol Station Attendant
- Postman
- Tax collector
- Supermarket check out
- Newspaper delivery boy
- Major
- Policeman
- Hair-dresser
- Chemist

Food related
- Sushi chef
- Oreo Cookie Factory
- Cadbury Chocolate Factory
- Vitagen yogurt drink
- Marybrown Burger
- Ayam Cooking School
- Seamaster Mineral Water Bottling Plant
- Ice-cream maker

Summary of Tips:

In order to try as many occupations as possible, you need to plan ahead as efficiently as possible by:

1. Buy your tickets in advance on-line a few days before (you would not be able to buy your tickets on-line a day before. In this case, you can only queue and buy off the counter there)

2. Short-list the jobs your child likes to try in advance before arrival.

3. Give your child a wallet to bring along to keep his "kidzos." It helps with a sling bag.

4. Get boarding passes (aka. entrance tickets) by heading straight for the Check-in counter at Ground Level.

5. Get your cheque at Level 5 Immigration.

6. Remember to greet the staff "kai" - Hello.

7. Head to CIMB Bank to cash out your cheque - you get 50 kidszos.

8. Go to the Info Counter to get facility map to orientate yourself to the different stations of your interests.

9. Queue for popular jobs (Ground Floor)

- Dentist - highest paying (12 kidzos)
- Fire-fighters - longest queue
- Pilot - longest queue

10. Kidzania KL consists of two floors. The upper level has less queue or jobs that pay more - you may like to encourage your child to do those first.

11. Near Lunch time, go and queue to make sushi, pizza, burger, ice-cream and vitagen yogurt drink.

12. Before leaving, visit the department store to spend your kidzos.

13. View the photos of your child taken by Kidzania's photographers.

14. Last but not least, remember to wear shoes, no sandals or open toed footwear, especially if you want to be a painter:


Is Kidzania Coming to Singapore?

No time to travel to Malaysia? Fear not, the good news is Kidzania is coming to Singapore. Hurray!!! Watch this space to find out more in due course :-)

And here is a picture of the two of us of our trip to Kidzania Kuala Lumpur for sweet memory:


Here is a salute to you. Thank you for a fun day, Kidzania :-)


References:

Videos:
http://www.youtube.com/user/kidzania

References:
http://archive.metropolis.co.jp/tokyo/659/feature.asp
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KidZania
http://sgkidstravel.blogspot.com/2012/06/kidzania-kuala-lumpur.html
http://sengkangbabies.com/holiday/kidzania-malaysia-review/
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/01/19/grow
http://www.justonecookbook.com/japan-trip-2012-vol-2-kobe-osaka/

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