A couple of months ago now we made a pact as a family to value our time together more. We wanted to fully utilise our weekends and holidays taking time to make memories and not let moments be taken for granted. Last weekend we headed off on an adventure to London where we spent a few hours exploring KidZania.
Travel to London
You may remember that last year we moved from our home in Manchester out to the countryside of Cheshire. Although we are further out from the city where we live it has a fantastic train service where you can get pretty much anywhere! In the few months, we have lived here we have really been making full use of the rail service. We can get to London in just two hours, which is perfect when you have youngsters in tow!! It also means we can afford to stay that bit later and really make full use of the day.
We caught the 7.30am train down to London Euston and then took the tube to Westfield Shopping Centre where KidZania is located. There is the option to walk; however, it was a bit dreary outside, so we didn’t want to chance getting soaked. We arrived at KidZania about 20 minutes before our 10 am session started.
Westfield Shopping Centre
I’ve never seen a shopping centre quite like Westfield it has an abundance of shops and eateries all located under one roof. We adore visiting the Trafford Centre in Manchester, but that is a postage stamp in comparison.
Kidzania is located upstairs in one corner next to the M&S. It’s easy to identify as it has a British Airways Plane on the outside!
KidZania is essentially an indoor city run by children where adults take a back seat. Children aged between 4-14 can try their hand at a whole host of careers from firefighter to vet. When you arrive, it is as if you are preparing to board a plane. Your KidZania tickets are your boarding passes, and you queue up to be checked in. Everyone gets a security RFID wristband which scans you inside. Nobody gets in or out without their wristband being scanned meaning that if your child wants to go off and explore on their own, you know they are safe and cannot leave without you.
When we first arrived, Henry wanted to go straight over to be a firefighter. He got suited up in his fire uniform and then underwent his fire training which was lucky because a fire had broken out in KidZania! All of the children climbed aboard the fire truck and headed off to put the fire out. They were joined by the Police and Ambulance working together to put the fire out and keep everyone safe. I thought the way the three different activities synchronised together in the same way they would in the real world was really clever.
The staff fully emerged themselves into each activity and got all the children excited and involved. This really helped Henry come out of his shell. Of course, all children are different, and in new situations, Henry can be shy and timid. I was nervous when he first went into the fire activity because parents aren’t allowed and he just looked a bit lost. I was worried he wouldn’t have a good time, but by the time they got back to the fire station, he was beaming from ear to ear.
Next Henry turned his hand to the Police force, and this gave us adults the opportunity to have a sit-down. KidZania is predominantly for over fours, so Hugo was a bystander – although they do have an early years bit upstairs with some activities. In honesty, all the lights and buzz were exciting for Hugo to watch, so he wasn’t all that bothered about doing much else.
Upstairs the activities continue, and there is also an area for adults to chill out with some comfy seating, and there is even a room to work with Wi-Fi and power points. The only problem with the upstairs was the lifts weren’t working. Staff were more than accommodating and offered to carry our buggy upstairs for us whenever we needed to come up or down. It wasn’t a problem for us as we were using our lightweight stroller so we could pop up and down without assistance, but this could pose a problem for others.
When you book KidZania tickets, you book a session time which lasts for four hours. There is no way that you can possibly get all the activities done in this time, which leaves some excitement for future visits. Henry managed to get around quite a few, but his favourite has to be the firefighting!
Most of the KidZania careers provide a salary – just like in the real world – only the currency in KidZania is Kidzos. The aim is to make as much money as possible, and when you leave, you can spend your Kidzos in the shop or save them for future visits, which is what Henry chose to do.
There are a few careers that don’t provide a salary, and that need to be paid for using Kidzos. One of these was the firefighting, and another was the WWE. The cost was minimal; I think 5 KidZos and he came away with a WWE lanyard to take home, so he definitely thought it was worth it.
Is It Worth the Expense?
For Henry, it is absolutely worth the cost. He falls in the 4-14 age category, and therefore, there is an abundance of activities for him to do. I can see the appeal that KidZania has, and I wish there had been something similar when I was his age! Henry opened a KidZania Current Account at the KidZania bank before we left and deposited all his Kidzos so that they are there for when he returns! He is already planning his next trip!
For adults and children under 4, you still have to pay, although it is a reduced rate. When Henry reaches eight years old, it means we can drop him off for his session and pick him up when it ends. This would save the expense of two adult tickets and a child under four. Although Hugo enjoyed the day out and he was fascinated with everything that was going on he didn’t really do much so it wouldn’t be a place I’d take him without an older child.
Will We Go Again?
Absolutely! Henry had the most wonderful time, and it was a great confidence booster for him. He is already planning his next trip, and we would be regular visitors if it weren’t for the fact we live quite a distance away!!
Find out more about KidZania London here.
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Love as always!
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