“Wow. Look at this place. Imagine if we had this growing up,” Grace said thoughtfully as we went up the second level of Kidzania at the Fort.
“Yup. When I was a kid, the only toy store in Manila was Unimart’s toy section,” I said.
And there was Fiesta Carnival which I vaguely remember.
So what we did, we mostly role played, like “doctor, doctor”, “teacher, teacher”, and my personal favorite—”poor, poor”—where my sister played the mother and me and my cousin Enet were her kids. We were beggars 🙂 Our food was butong pakwan (salted watermelon seeds) which my sister cracked with her teeth till her lips turned white.
Now our kids are so lucky. I consider it a sign of progress when a society considers the well-being of its children.
At the Fort alone, we have the Mind Museum, Active Fun, Bonifacio High Street, and Kizville at SM Aura. Dreamplay by Dreamworks recently opened at City of Dreams.
And now the latest one is KidZania Manila—with 8,000 square meters of fun and activities.
From the looks of it, it’s going to be packed when it opens to the public on August 7, 2015.
As a mom of three boys, I feel lucky to have been invited to the press preview, since adults won’t be allowed inside the activity areas.
First, you line up for tickets.
Entrance fee is Php 750 per child (ages 4 to 14) and Php 420 each for adults and toddlers.
Upon entry, each child will be given special KidZania currency worth 50 kidzos to get them started.
Gentle warning: Be prepared to be greeted in KidZania dialect. For example, all the staff will say “kai” to you instead of “hi”—with matching Star Trek-like hand gesture. They will also “zenk you” when you buy at the gift shop.
Personally I wanted to kill all of them, but after one hour I kind of got used to it.
Tip: If you want a higher salary, best to take a course first at CEU
Each job or activity takes about 20 minutes. They can choose from many jobs within a span of five hours—that’s the maximum time any child can stay inside the venue.
They can work at LBC
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The gas station
Be a construction worker
Play in a band
Be a Star Magic actor
Learn about fire safety
Work at a radio station
or a beauty salon
They can climb a building
Read and listen to stories at National Bookstore
Take care of babies at St. Luke’s
Or be a surgeon
The can assemble burgers at McDonald’s
Be a pilot at Cebu Pacific
Or a flight attendant
Or they could be me—the terrified passenger
On the second level there are activities for smaller children (three years and below) who just want to play
It’s perfectly safe to leave them there since there are hundreds of trained staff to take care of kids.
If you’re concerned about your child’s safety, all visitors are required to wear an RFID (radio frequency identification) security bracelet. Each child will be matched with a corresponding adult who will also wear an RFID security bracelet. No child is allowed to leave the facility without being accompanied or fetched by the registered adult. Other security measures include CCTV monitoring cameras and a paging system.
Parents, guardians and nannies are only allowed in certain areas but most establishments have glass windows so you could still see the children and what they are doing.
Are you hungry now? Aside from McDonald’s, there’s a Via Mare inside. Glenda Barretto said she will teach cooking classes.
There’s a Purefoods stand
Can’t wait to take my kids!
KidZania (pronounced kid-zahn-ya) is built to scale with paved streets, a transport system and a functioning economy.
“We have our own economy, our own currency,” said KidZania chief executive Xavier López, who founded the company in 1997. Now there are 20 locations in 17 countries, including Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Portugal, United Arab Emirates and Turkey.
KidZania is franchised in the Philippines by Play Innovations Inc., a subsidiary of ABS-CBN Corp. It will open to the public on August 7, 2015 with operating hours from 9 AM to 4 PM Mondays through Thursdays. There will be two shifts (9 AM to 2 PM and 3 PM to 8 PM) on weekends and holidays.
Online ticketing goes live beginning August 3, 2015.
To know more, go to http://manila.kidzania.com/en-ph/.