A Kidzania survival guide for parents
What excites kids more than play? Playing grown-up, of course.
You’d be inclined to agree if you’ve seen the always crowded weekends at Kidzania. Queues snake long enough for you to consider hiring a human place holder just to keep sane.
If you’ve been holding off from Kidzania in spite of the hounding from your 8-year-old, we can understand why. But how long can you really dodge the question?
If you’ve decided that this will be the week you face the inevitable, our Kidzania survival guide is going to come in handy.
Buy your Kidzania tickets online
Children under eight for example, must be accompanied by an adult. Remember, all adults who enter the theme park have to buy a ticket too –RM35 for Malaysians under 60 and RM50 for non-Malaysians.
Buying tickets online saves time and disappointment. With tickets in hand, you need only queue at the ‘boarding pass’ counter to get your wrist tags.
Organise a group if you can
Sometimes company is good for a less-than-enthusiastic parent. So why not organise an outing with other parents?
Sue Shiew, a mother of three, has this to share: “Go with a small group of mummies and daddies. You can keep each other company so you keep sane! Kids need to be divided into pairs, otherwise a big group will take too long to agree on what activities to do. For kids who are old enough to enter by themselves, agree on a meeting point and time so that you don’t have to go looking for them.”
Whichever session you choose to take part in, there is no real ‘good time’ to go as Kidzania is always crowded during weekends, school and public holidays. Some schools also organise trips to Kidzania so there may be another big crowd to contend with if you bump into them.
Arrive early if you have chosen the morning session so that you have enough time, as you are required to leave an hour before the afternoon session begins.
Fuel up with high energy food
Feed your kids a good breakfast or lunch. This is going to be four to five hours of possibly intense play, and movement so high energy foods are essential. Pack a water bottle. Outside food is not allowed. There are food outlets inside Kidzania but you probably won’t spend too much time there.
Wear comfortable clothes like t-shirts and trousers. Wear socks and walking shoes. Trainers, and Crocs are ideal. Flip flops are OK too in general but certain activities like ‘secret agent training’ involve more physical movement like climbing obstacles.
Entering the Kidzania universe
Limit parental guidance
Think of Kidzania as an alternate world with its own economy, and social structure. The agents in this world are of course, kids. Once you step into this world, kids should be taking charge of their lives while parents take a back-seat. A hands-off approach is best because letting your child make her own choices is the whole point of going to Kidzania. To encourage this, parents aren’t allowed inside the activity area nor are they permitted to queue for activities on their child’s behalf. The plus side is this offers respite. Waiting parents can chill out in the Parents’ Lounge or the Toddlers’ Activity Room.
Use a map
Maps are available for navigating the two levels of Kidzania. There are about 90 activities for kids to participate in. Each activity is housed in an establishment which places a limit on the number of participants for any given session. There will be information outside each establishment that states the time limit, number of participants, minimum height and so forth.
Becoming a Kidzania citizen
Be smart about choosing the activities. Here’s where your child’s time management and judgment skills come into play. Will they spend time queueing for a hugely popular activity or be adventurous and try another less popular activity? Kidzania operates on its own currency called KidZos so some budgeting skills get exercised as well. Once they enter Kidzania, participants are given a cheque for a certain amount of Kidzos which they can cash at a bank. Some activities earn you KidZos while others you pay for in KidZos.
Commercial photography is forbidden but you can take personal shots. Kidzania staff will also take pictures of the children. These photographs are available for purchase at RM15 upon exit. You will be given an internet link to download soft copies of the photograph you bought.
If the children enjoyed themselves the first time, expect requests for future visits. Take note of the activities they have done so that they can try new ones next time.