We recently went to London on a little mini break and I knew that there was one place I really wanted to re-visit with my two and that was the totally amazing KidZania. Set in the heart of the Westfield London shopping centre, Shepherds Bush, it really is an ideal place to take a five year old for some fun. Check out what we thought and some advice if you're thinking of going (and you really should).
Upon checking in at British Airways you fly to the land of KidZania. OK so you do check in but then you walk through customs and find yourself in a miniature city where there is everything you can imagine. From mini supermarkets to a pocket sized H&M. From Cadbury chocolate factories to a teeny tiny theatre. From then on? The kids are in charge.
kidZos is the main way of paying for things in KidZania. When arriving you are issued with some which you can exchange for face painting or take part in one of the 'experiences' for example flying a plane (on a simulator obvs). However if you're kidZos run out? You better get to work! Alas kidZos don't pay for coffees so make sure you have some sterling in your pocket too.
Work It Girl!
Around KidZania there are various jobs you can do to earn money. My girl was a H&M stylist, a midwife, a fire lady, an engineer and a ice lolly maker. Each job comes with a rate so children can walk around and decide which career will earn them more kidZos which they then can spend on other things.
How Does It Work?
You can either walk around and see what jobs are just about to start or look on the board in the KidZania job centre. Children then queue for their chosen job. Adults are not allowed to queue. I think this is to stop parents splitting up and saving places for their kids. Children then do these experiences alone. Yep. Alone. You can watch from afar but with each career taking around 15-20 minutes you can go and have a little breather in one of the allocated parent spots or sit and wait on a bench nearby.
Was It Busy?
We booked a slot first thing on a Saturday morning. Each slot takes four hours and there is only a limited amount of allocated spaces available. This ensures that KidZania does not get too busy and that each child gets to do what they want. My daughter is five and managed to do everything she wanted and was ready to leave after around two hours or so. Older children can explore the venue a bit easier on their own so I think four hours could easily be filled.
When you check in to go on your 'flight' everyone is allocated with a RFID security bracelet which means that every child can only be checked out with you present. These bracelets are checked in and out on every job so you can always keep tabs on where your kids are. It means that they get a little bit of freedom but with you still being in control.
Is It Good For Little Ones?
My son is three and whilst there were a few things he could such as going round on the bus or popping into one of the toddler areas he was fairly limited on what he could do. He became a bit frustrated that he couldn't get fully involved. When we next return I will make sure that is at least five so he can join in the fun and I can go and have me a nice hot cup of tea in peace.
KidZania really is a great experience and I would advise booking in a visit if you are going to London during the holidays. We filmed a little vlog the first time we went last year so if you are interested why not watch it or go and check out KidZania for yourself!