Saturday, 25 July 2015

Thinking of visiting KidZania London?

Well I never, there is something new being developed for kids all the time. KidsZania has recently opened in London after the success of its other 19 branches across the world. I was invited to the opening in June but sadly could not make it but now my kids have seen what KidZania is about I am being pestered for a summer visit!

So, what is it you might be wondering?
Well KidZania is a child-sized city for kids with buildings, streets, shops and transport where they can engage in more than 60 real life role-play activities. It features replicas of the most representative aspects of a real city (bank, hospital, police station, fire station, bakery, beauty salon, theatre and aviation academy to name a few of the 60 establishments) and it even has its own currency: kidZos. The idea is that the more your child works (in their role-play job) the more they will earn and these kidZos can be spent in the KidZania shop.

Just look at the airport, this is the sight that will greet your child when they arrive and you check them in for the experience of their life.

You'll need to book for your child to visit KidZania and the experience will last four hours. if you child is 4 - 6 years you will need to buy a ticket for yourself and accompany them around the experience or if your child is 7 - 14 years they can be signed in and left with a hi-tech identification bracelet and the KidZana staff will ensure they are safe and cared for as they enjoy their real world role-play.

Just take a look at this short video, it will demonstrate the KidZania concept better than I ever could ever explain it!

A learning Experience
I was very pleasantly surprised to read that education is at the heart of KidZania, this isn't just an experience for your children to enjoy but one that aims to teach them respect, teamwork and social skills too. At KidZania, children will acquire real-life skills, learn about working and having a career and are also introduced to the fundamentals of financial literacy.

Psychologists, educators and play experts were extensively consulted during the development of KidZania London to ensure the learning content matches the local areas of focus: creativity, critical thinking, communication, confidence, and collaboration. By blending learning and reality with entertainment, KidZania provides an authentic and powerful developmental experience, helping to prepare children to understand and manage their world. KidZania’s learning by its very nature aims to be self-initiated, self-directed and self-sustained: children cause the learning to begin, manage and govern their own learning, and finally maintain their interest in what is learnt and the learning itself.

Where is it?
KidZania is located in the Westfield Centre and is super easy to get to by public transport or there is plenty of on site parking. Of course it is always nice to make a weekend of it when you visit London and why not consider staying at the Holiday Inn Kensington Forum which is just a short drive or tube journey away and the Holiday Inn brand is one you can trust I find.

The Practicalities
KidZania has been designed to be fully inclusive and is accessible to all areas by those in a wheelchair. Children requiring a full-time carer can have their carer enter with them free of charge and service dogs are welcome too.

During the school holidays KidZania is open from 10am until 8pm. 10am - 6.30pm weekdays in school term time and until 7.30pm on term time weekends.

The cost for a child aged 4 - 14 years is £28 if you book online (slightly more if you just arrive to buy your ticket). You need to be aware that if your child is 4 - 6 years you are required to stay with them and this will cost you £16.50.

There are reduced prices for groups, so it might be good to team up with some friends or your child's class and I'm definitely going to mention this to my husband for his Cubs as it is just £19.50 per child for the uniformed organisations.

There are plenty of family rest rooms, baby change areas and a parents lounge that includes a coffee shop, quiet reading area, free WIFI and computers you can use.

So what do you say, do you think your child might enjoy KidZania? I know my three will!

All images from ZidZania
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