In the Dubai Mall there is this amazing Kids Edutainment Center we had promised the kids to go to one day, KidZania (be patient, this page takes a while to load!). That day happened to be our last day in Dubai, with the purpose of tiring them out thoroughly before the flight.
So we drove in there and dropped the four big kids off. They "check in" at Emirates counters, just like at a proper airport, and then get boarding cards and go through immigration and x-ray to get in! Very cool!
The queue was very long to enter, but it went fairly quickly. On the red text you can see some of the many professions the kids could try:
Checking in, getting their ID-bracelets and boarding cards and getting ready to go!
On arrival, the kids got a 50 KidZo (special KidZania currency) cheque which they had to take to the bank to exchange for cash, or an ATM card to use in KidZania. They could then choose to spend money or earn money or both (or neither). When they ran out of money, they had to find a job - no wonder I got a bit confused when the kids came out with more KidZania money than when they went in!
It seemed like the kids had been a bit confused as to what to do in there too, they called us already (well...) after 3 hours and wanted to go home?! We think it was because they had been disagreeing a bit about what to do next and had trouble sticking together. I guess if we get to go to another KidZania (there are several KidZania around the region), we'll go with them next time. They all said afterward though they'd had a great time, so that's all that matters!
Every KidZania is themed as a child-sized replica of a real city, including buildings, shops and theaters, as well as vehicles and pedestrians moving along its streets. In this city the kids get to work and earn KidZos currency while performing the tasks. The money is kept in the KidZania bank for children to spend at the gift shop and on non-free KidZania activities.
Facilities include an airport (Kidzania International Airport), ambulances, bank, cars, central town square, fashion catwalk, fire engines, fire station, hospital, offices, pizza restaurant, race track, radio station, service station, supermarket, theater, university etc.
Children are supposed to choose from up to 80 different roles to play, and get to dress up as their chosen occupation.
Jobs and professions include airline stewardess, artist, chef, construction worker, fashion model, firefighter, photographer, actor, jewelry designer, mechanic, nurse, hamburger chef, engineer, dentist, barber, pilot, police officer, race car driver, radio presenter, surgeon, TV cameraman and many many more.
There is the Dubai Customs - where children can learn how to catch tourists trying to smuggle in contraband; Emirates Driving School operates a training institute for children to obtain KidZania driving licences, after which they can rent a car in KidZania, and drive race cars on the KidZania track.
The big bank HSBC is providing simulated bank activities and jobs and the KidZania University is part of the concept where children can obtain a KidZania degree which enables them to earn more money.
What a cool idea, huh!