Kidzania is a new and different day out in the Westfield’s shopping centre London, and one the boy has been pestering me to take him too since it opened earlier in the year. This weekend we decided that Kidzania was going to be our Christmas day out and treat (instead of a Santa visit). I have seen so many pictures from other bloggers and friends who have visited and was hoping that we wouldn’t be disappointed.
Kidzania is found in the top levels of the Westfield shopping center in Shepherds Bush. We found it easy to drive, with only a small amount of London traffic to negotiate. The car park was easy to find, and I thought quite reasonably priced at £9.50 for the whole days parking. Kidzania is a town where the kids are in charge, and with around 60 different occupations for kids to take part in there is defiantly something for everyone. The first thing that struck all of us was the theming, from the entrance where you are greeted and instructed to take the escalators to the airport where you book in, and start your Kidzania experience. The whole entrance has an airport feel, and something that certainly made me smile.
Once you and your children have been checked in and been tagged, you are given your map of Kidzania, money (KidZos) and you enter the town. This is where it is up to the kids to make their own story. The boy was a little daunted as he entered the indoor town, which started off feeling a little dark, but was beautiful lit for Christmas. We stopped off at the Job center to have a chat and get our bearings. The boy then wanted to head straight for the police station (the only job he wanted to do) I did think at age 10 this might all be themed a bit too young for him, but actually he really enjoyed it after the first experience.
Each job in Kidzania has a board outside, telling you what age recommendation, what type of job, age, salary and what sort of skills might be needed as well as a rough length of time. The boy looked worried as he was dressed in his uniform, and then sat to watch a fun instruction video. Parents can see their kids through large clear windows but are told not to enter each of the buildings/rooms. There are a few experiences adults can join in like the theatre, but are encouraged to let their kids work on their own for most of the jobs. The boy on completion of his instructions was lead off to help out at a fire situation at the local hotel, and was in his element with crowd control. This was a great start to our four hours in Kidzania, and while on his Police job, he spotted a delivery courier, and a security guard job. Both of these roles are great ones to start with as they involve visiting other shops and buildings to deliver and collect packages. This is great for finding your feet and spot other places you might like to try.
The boy quickly decided on the music academy, as well as taking a university degree so that he could earn more money. Once you have collected 75 KidZos you can open a bank account and get a credit card, there was a long queue, but the boy was keen to bank his earnings. Next the boy was happy to just go off and find experiences of his own, and we could have reclined in the adult lounge but chose to watch from the mini benches around the town. The boy tried shop work, bell ringing, air conditioning, animation and even recycled paper making. he managed to fit lots into his time.
Kidzania has two levels, places to get a spot of lunch or a snack, and there are food related experiences for the kids. KidZos can be earnt with various occupations or spent in the shops, banked or saved for fun treats. The boy was keen to save as much as possible and was keen to see how much he could earn in the four hours. He wanted to have 100 KidZos in his bank account, saving them for a future visit. I think its safe to say that the boy had a great time in Kidzania and later on the way home said his favorite part was being a police man. I think the biggest smiles were when he had his one to one drum session, which would normally have a class of about 8. Kidzania was not overly busy on our visit, so very little waiting or queuing. The other stand out experience was the pit crew, where the boy had to work as a team and change a tyre on a racing car. He was super speedy and he and his partner managed a super quick time of 21 seconds.
Kidzania is suitable for kids aged 4-14 and once they are over 8 they can be left to explore the city for themselves. Safe that your kids cant leave and are safe with plenty of staff members about if they have any problems. This is perfect for those parents who want to get their shopping done at the Westfield shopping center which has a great selection of high street and specialist stores. Ticket prices start at £29.50 for kids 4+ with adults starting at £16.50. there are online discounts, and other deals. To find out more about Kidzania visit the website, twitter and Facebook pages, where you will find the latest deals. If you fancy finding out how much fun the kids are having at Kidzania then join them on Thursday 17th December 7pm to 11pm for their Adult only experience, something I think Dad Dragon and I would love to do!
Disclaimer we were give admission to Kidzania in return for an honest review, the words remain ours and have not been altered.