KidZania London is a unique 4-hour experience where kids can try out more than 60 real life role-play activities. The concept through each role-play experience is to teach kids essential life skills including financial literacy, team work and independence. Most of all their aim is for the children to achieve happiness.
This real life role play experience is designed for 4-14 year olds. If you do have younger children there is a dedicated Early Years area which includes three main activities: Science Lab, RightZKeepers Residence and the Kindergarten.
Unfortunately the experience is for children only; adults are only there for supervision. If you check the Kidzania website there are also adult only evenings, which I believe are really popular.
The entrance to KidZania sets the tone for the rest of the experience. There is a huge model of a British Airways plane suspended overhead. It’s very convincingly, laid out like an airport check in.
We arrived around 10:30 and the ‘check-in’ area was quiet so we were able to go straight up to the ticket desk.
On check in parents are required to complete some paperwork with contact details and both adults and children are provided with RFID security bracelets. This is to ensure children’s movement s can be tracked and so my children couldn’t leave with anyone but me.
You can also notify staff of any allergies your child may have and this can be recorded on the bracelet. The bracelets are scanned at the beginning of every role play activity. Children from the age of 7 years can be left on their own at KidZania.
For parents who have older children, who have been left unattended, there is a machine where you can scan your wrist band to see where in the city your children are, and find out what they have been doing during their visit.
Staff will let you know when you are on your last activity or when your four hour time slot at Kidzania is due to expire.
KidZania has its own currency called KidZos which forms a central part of the make-believe world. At check in, every child 4 and above is given 50 KidZos (the currency of KidZania) before they enter the especially built Kids’ city.
KidZania offers children the chance to make independent decisions about how they will spend their time and money while they are there.
There are many activities to choose from and each activity lasts between 10 to 30 minutes. My children managed to get through around 9 activities each. The website advises between 4 to 6 activities depending on crowd levels. We didn’t do this but you can take the city bus tour first, the tour guide will point out the activities that are suitable for the age ranges of your children.
At each activity there is an information board advising you of the time duration, what the activity is and if you will earn KidZos or pay KidZos to take part in. The activities are over two floors, with most of the making activities being situated upstairs, along with the Aviation Academy.
The make believe city is set around the very busy main square. Here you will find the bank, snacks and coffee shops. Keep your eyes open for a fire engine, Ambulance and City Tours; they passed by in front of us. A map is given at check in so you may need to refer to this when planning your next activity.
My children loved the British Airways Aviation Academy. You can choose to be either a Pilot which earns KidZos or Cabin Crew which is a paying activity.
You can view the children’s progress through the glass window and they dress in the appropriate costume either a Pilot or Cabin Crew attire. This is a popular activity and would recommend going here first to avoid long queues. This activity lasted 15 minutes.
Another popular activity which we waited a long time queuing was the Beauty Salon. My youngest daughter loved this. Children get to dress in an overall and each have their own dolls head to create styles on, brushing hair, wetting with a spray, plating, and use of hair accessories. You also earn KidZos for this activity. This activity lasted 10 minutes.
Other good activities which our girls took part in and really enjoyed were:
Burger Shop Apprentice at Burger Kitchen: My eldest daughter took part as a Burger Shop Apprentice at Gourmet Burger Kitchen. She paid some of her KidZos to take part in this activity but enjoyed the experience where kids can make their own burger which can then be sent to the kitchen to be cooked. You get to take the burger away to eat at the end of the activity.
Cadbury Chocolate Factory: get to dress up as a factory worker and learn some interesting facts about chocolate, how it is made and what ingredients are used. You even have the chance to make your own chocolate bar. Kids will pay in KidZos to complete this activity.
Fire Fighter at the Fire and Rescue Unit: My daughter took part as a firefighter, exciting experience for kids, start off in fire academy then every half an hour the Flamingo Hotel building “burst into flames” and the firemen ride onto the scene in a mini fire truck complete with a team of mini firefighters sitting in the back wearing hard hats.
While the firefighters shoot water at the flames the interaction of other role play comes into force with the police standing with their arms out for ten minutes, the doctors and medical staff use an ambulance and check the audience for burns and a tour bus goes around showing people the make believe city.
Bar Maker at Eat Natural fruit and nut bar makery: My daughter liked creating fruit and nut bars in the Eat Natural kitchen. We got to taste apricots, sultanas, dates, dried bananas, chocolate and dried rice before weighing them out, mixing them with honey and putting them in moulds to bake. We were given bars at the end of the session, and they were delicious!
Fruitologist at Innocent Smoothie Kitchen: paid 12 KidZos to create the smoothies, and we were the only two people in the group. The activity started off with learning where pineapples, mangos and oranges are from, and tasting some of the fruit.
We were shown how the smoothies are created, and got to see the machines that packaged the drinks. At the end, our smoothies fell out of the machine, ready for us to take away and drink.
Good activities where you earn KidZos were:
Hand Bell Ringing at City Clock: this was actually a nice quick activity. Children are given a brief history of hand bell ringing and work together as a team using different coloured bells to create a tune. They we were shown how to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star using the bells. They practised the tune inside the clock tower before walking onto the balcony. Then it was a lovely moment for the parents to watch the children have the confidence to perform their piece of music to the whole square. It was really fun for the girls and they really enjoyed.
Maternity Nurse at Alder Hey’s Children’s hospital: where my girls got to pretend being a nurse attending to the new-borns. They had great fun learning the role and the tasks they undertook were to feed, wash, dry, dress and change a babies nappy.
Dental Assistant at the Dentist: was fun for the girls, they earned KidZos practising using dental instruments on a dummy patient. They learned about the importance of brushing teeth. It was very life like and realistic for the children. They enjoyed dressing up in dental clothing and wearing a mask.
Housekeeper at the Dorsett Hotel: The hotel was brilliant as the children played the role of the housekeeper. Other children played the roles of the receptionist and guests. The guests were told to trash the bedrooms, then the housekeepers had to come in and tidy the room, make the bed etc. The children loved this as we stayed in Dorsett hotel during our visit to Kidzania and was a real life replica of the room we had stayed in. It was the same theme using birds in the décor as the Dorsett Shepherds Bush.
Cashier or Employee of the Supermarket: This was a great activity, last about 15 minutes and there was a long queue. If you wanted to be a customer there was no queue. The children were briefed by the store manager and given a shopping list to help their customers, given items to put back on the shelf or were cashiers putting the goods through the till. Cashiers and employees earn money for this task.
The activity was free to customers and under 3’s could also be customers. Only over 4’s could work at the checkout.
Some people don’t notice it but there is a climbing wall next to the supermarket, the queue can be a bit muddled here due to the volume of children wanting to take part.
One thing we were not aware of at the start of our visit was the KidZania bank where kids can open their own account and will receive a personalised debit card. This can be done at any point during their visit, once they’ve earned 75 KidZos.
There was many great activities which we didn’t have time to experience during our visit such as the pit stop experience where children get to change a tyre on a race car, air conditioning experience was a tunnel system that the kids could climb through and working for the police exploring the city looking for criminals and rule breakers.
For older children I loved the idea of the courier company, children delivering boxes to all the different shops and getting them signed for. There was also an Estate Agent, Acting Academy, Dance Floor, Drumming Lessons, working for the Newspaper, working as a DJ at Capital FM and learning about recycling. Not all the careers were meant to be fun, some were educational.
A tip for next time is by taking a course at the University allows you to get double the amount of KidZos you would normally get when doing a job. So if you take the medical course you get double the pay when being a dentist, doctor or nurse. It would have been a nice touch if this was explained to you as you enter Kidzania on check-in.
At the end of the day children can visit The Department Store where your kids can spend their hard-earned kidZos. This was a little disappointing as you can not by much with the KidZos you have earned.
We entered the department store with 135 Kidzos and the children were disappointed as they did not have enough KidZos to purchase most items in the shop. These were inexpensive toys and could have been lowered in value so that the children could have purchased something with their KidZos.
After the four hours are up, head to Immigration where the airport team will help to check you out.
There really isn’t anything else like KidZania, the great attention to detail and well thought out conception is what makes it a special experience. The time goes by so fast, it was an excellent day out for children and we loved watching the girls having so much fun. It was a brilliant and very unique day out I would definitely go again.
We had purchased a hotel and ticket package stay at the Dorsett Hotel which is a sponsor at KidZania (You can view our review of the Dorsett Hotel here). But if you are planning to go I would recommend booking tickets in advance through the Kidzania website. The cost for a child ticket is £30. Parents are required to pay £16.50 to accompany their child around the attraction. Children age 1 to 3 are £10 and under 12 months are free. We stayed with our children as they were 5 and 7 at the time of visit.
I would recommend that you visit the Kidzania website before your visit so you can read up about each activity before your visit to help you plan your day. KidZania is located on the first floor of Westfield Mall, Shepherds Bush, London.