Kidzania: A New Kind of Theme Park
With winter break coming up for many kids in school, it can be hard coming up with ways to get them up off the couch, away from their screens, and doing something enjoyable, entertaining and educational.
There are other options besides the go-to ideas of taking them to the movies, the mall or the local park. An amusement park is a great option for a whole day trip that the entire family can enjoy. However, most can be quite costly and it can be difficult to justify the price when you consider how much your kids get out of them.
A New Kind of Theme Park
Luckily, there is a new type of amusement park popping up in North America called KidZania — and it has turned the idea of a traditional park on its head. There are no rides, no midway games, and there isn’t a 2 p.m. stage show. KidZania is a theme park based on the adult world.
With everything from a police station, hospital, post office, salon and road construction, they can choose a career and take it for a test drive. With over 100 careers to choose from, they will be able to select something they are passionate about.
Choosing a place like this over the typical theme park allows your children to enjoy themselves without the astronomical prices of other types of parks, but also offers them a truly unique experience.
You won’t be spending money on tickets or tokens for rides, or waste money on practically impossible midway games (to walk away with a stuffed animal you could have bought for a quarter of the price it cost to win). KidZania actually pays your children to play. They earn currency called kidZos while they work in their chosen career, and can use those kidZos to purchase food or goods from the gift shop.
The park also offers a parent-free experience; there is an option to have your child fitted with an electronic security bracelet to make sure they are kept safely inside and not released without the adult with the matching bracelet. You can allow them to roam and explore the park independently while you relax in the parents lounge, watch a sports game played by the children, or watch a news broadcast or theatre production by the kids if that is their chosen career. There aren’t many other places you can do that.
Exploring the park and trying out different careers gives the children a sense of responsibility and independence. Learning through role play is a very effective form of education.
All KidZania programs are based around the local curriculum and planned extensively by educators and professionals who are experienced with children.
The center gives children the freedom to experience what it’s like when their parents go off to work every day. Teaching the meaning of a dollar and an honest work ethic is something that cannot be taught in the class room or experienced at any other theme park. Role playing gives them hands-on experience in many fields — from a surgeon to a chef and everything in between.
A Taste of Adulthood
Letting them fly in a flight simulator or teach a class of their own will give them a thrill like no other. Kids typically can’t wait to grow up, so this gives them a genuine taste of what the adult world looks like.
Taking them to a traditional theme park gives them the adrenaline rush they might be after, but by the end of a hot day waiting in line and filling up on soda and hot dogs, what do they have to take away from the experience other than a sore stomach and sunburn? Not to mention a lot of parks close for the winter months due to cold weather and snow, but KidZania is open year-round so you will be able to make it work for your schedule.
Museums are a place to take your kids to expose them to culture and educate them, but they offer little hands-on time and the children aren’t completely immersed in their environment. Learning through doing is by far the best way for children to understand the world around them.
All KidZania parks are filled with “Zupervisors,” trained adult guides who lead them through activities and encourage teamwork, productivity, and the skills needed to perform their career successfully. They even provide driving lessons so the children can drive mini cars through the city, refueling at the gas stations and having them repaired by peer mechanics at the garage. Where else can your 10-year-old learn to drive a car and repair it all in the same place, as a child?
Taking your children to KidZania is a totally unique experience they’ll remember forever. It is a place where they can dream big and be whatever they want to be. After just one visit they will be begging to return — and you can feel good about taking them back time and time again knowing that they are learning while having fun.