KidZania is finally open! Part theme park, part indoor play centre, this is the city of big dreams for little people. We went on opening day with some tough little judges. Here's what you need to know:
We’re spoiled for choice with indoor play centres in Singapore, but everyone’s been talking about something BIG coming that would blow us all away. The excruciatingly loooong wait is finally over, and KidZania Singapore is now open! We headed there on opening day with our eager junior reporter to see if it lives up to the hype. From the moment you spy the nose of the Qatar Airways Boeing 737 poking out from glass frontage, you know it’s going to be an awesome and impressive fit-out. And indeed it is! But the question remains, is it worth your time and money? The venue scores a resounding kids’ tick of approval (the smiles and pleads to go again give a good indication…) Ask the parents and you get a slightly less happy, shiny response. In the interests of complete disclosure, we’ve drawn up a nifty list of pros and cons. Take a look at what we loved and what we didn’t about KidZania, and we’ll let you be the judge!
So here’s the low-down: little ones from four to 14 years old can pick from over 80 role-playing scenarios within this educational facility. Have a chatty child with the gift of the gab? Head to the newsroom and let them get the scoop like a true reporter. Do they want to be a pilot? No kidding: there’s real life 747 there for them to explore. Unfortunately, they can even opt to be a candy specialist. But we think they’re already qualified in that department.
Just like in the real world, children will receive a pay cheque whenever they knock off from work. Coming in the form of KidZos – the official currency of KidZania – kids get to manage their expenses and earnings just like Mum and Dad. This could be very interesting…
What we loved about KidZania
- The whole concept of kids role-playing in jobs of their dreams in a purpose built mini-city is edutainment at its best. Little ones learn not only great life-skills, but also realise that money doesn’t grow on trees, AND that you have to budget to buy what you want.
- KidZania is being pitched as a theme park rather than a play centre. To that end, it’s got to be the only theme park in Singapore with air-conditioning. Thumbs up!
- Strictly no adults are allowed inside each activity. This was both good and problematic at times (see below). We got a real kick out of watching our kids asserting independence and gaining confidence. And every child was happily absorbed in their tasks.
- There are some awesome jobs on offer – like professional soccer player, photo journalist, fire-fighter and surgeon. Cuteness is a kid in a white lab coat.
- The baby care room is well decked out with change tables, sink and a couch for feeding.
- There’s a parents only restaurant serving decent coffee and café fare at reasonable prices. Power points too if you need to plug in a laptop.
- On entry you and your kids are armed with wrist bands. Technology will find a lost child by tracking timing and location of their last activity.
What we didn’t love about KidZania:
- It’s expensive for a family, with adults’ tickets at $35 and kids’ tix at $58. Definitely not a weekly drop in play place.
- With corporate sponsorship as far as the eye can see (Maybank, Pizza Hut, 7-Eleven, KFC to name a few), it feels more like a branding exercise and less like a kids’ play-zone.
- With a capacity of 1500, the queues are long (sometimes more than 30 minute waiting times). We couldn’t get near some of the popular activities (no fire-fighting for us!)
- The ‘parent free’ concept is problematic for activities without viewing windows (like the plane simulation) as you have to stand outside with nowhere to sit in case of an early finish (we saw one crying child with no mum in sight). Even when you can see your youngster, you can’t hear what they are being lectured on. Hmmmm…
- To do the venue justice you need to spend a whole day. Three hours only saw our kiddo role-play on two activities.
- There’s a make-over salon and tattoo parlour. Our kids were desperate to have full mascara applied, and we could do little but look on and cringe inside.
- The experience culminates in the kids spending their hard earned KidZos at the shop. Unfortunately the minimum spend is 50 KidZos, so our little worker went home empty handed. We witnessed one nice mum giving away useless currency to another family so they could afford a little piece of KidZania merchandise. Our little disappointed kiddo was luckily distracted by the entire staff breaking out into the all-singing, all-dancing closing number, so tears were averted. Phew!
- Having said that, kids were smiles all ‘round as we headed out the door…
Sundays to Thursdays: 10am to 5pm
Fridays, Saturdays, School holidays, eve of and Public Holidays: 10am to 8pm
Ticket Prices: (For walk-in admission)
* Online purchases are entitled to 5% discount off walk-in ticket prices
Infants (under 2 years old): Free Admission
Toddlers aged 2 to 3: S$25
Kids aged 4 to 17: S$58
Adults aged 18 to 59: S$35
Senior Citizens (aged 60 & above): S$25
KidZania is located at Palawan Kidz City, linked to the Beach Station on Sentosa Island; www.kidzania.com.sg