If you haven’t realised it yet, KidZania Singapore opened yesterday. What’s that? It’s a place where your children can buckle down to work and earn their keep. Yes, just like we adults in the real world.
You may have seen pictures of kids dressed in career costumes. So cute right? But KidZania isn’t just a dress up playground. Here, kids get dressed to fulfill a job role, and earn kidZos (the KidZanian currency) for each task they complete. And what a lot of (role-play) jobs there are for them to do!
Signature KidZania career stations include an Aviation Academy where kids can ‘pilot’ planes using state-of-the-art simulators, or operate as cabin crew. You’ll also see the Fire Station, where kids get dressed in coat and helmet and go for a briefing on fire safety before boarding the City’s very own fire truck to put out an ‘inferno’.
At the Hospital, budding surgeons can operate on a patient while nurturers learn how to care for infants. There’re lots more – journalist, policeman, scientist, model, actor, radio deejay, dentist, courier… the list goes on. (see them all here)
KidZania Singaopore, the 23rd ‘city’ in this wildly successful franchise, is located by the sandy shores of Palawan Beach at Sentosa. Apart from being the only KidZania perched upon a resort island, KidZania Singapore is unique in several ways.
It has a full-wing fuselage of a Qatar Airways Boeing 737 within the city
You can recognise a KidZania city by the plane nose and cockpit extending out of the building. Every KidZania city in the world has one. At KidZania Singapore however, the body of the plane is included as well, and one of the city’s most popular activities is conducted within the cabin of the plane itself!
The plane’s wings spread above the city’s airport terminal. Take this opportunity to let your aviation-mad kids marvel at the expanse of the aircraft’s wingspan (28 m) as you take the escalator down towards the check-in counter area. This is your first step into the city and boy, what a marvellous one it is!
You can learn about Peranakan culture here
As the only city to have a Peranakan Museum on its premises, KidZania Singapore promises an education not just in hard skills, but human ones too. With the emphasis on culture and the arts increasing, this is a great opportunity for kids to learn about a culture beyond their own, as well as how a curator takes care of artefacts in a museum.
You can even be a Bak Kua specialist!
Kids get to pound, mince, shape, then barbeque that ubiquitous Chinese New Year snack at the Lim Chee Guan Traditional BBQ Meat Store, then package it for sale. Don’t worry, it’s not real, it just looks a lot like the real thing!
KidZania Singapore has two types of flight simulators
KidZania Singapore’s Aviation Academy is the first to boast two different types of flight simulators – one for the A380 superjumbo, and one for the B787 Dreamliner. Children can ‘pilot’ the aircraft to take off and land at Hamad International Airport in Doha, and Singapore Changi Airport. They can also roleplay as cabin crew. Earlier reports had stated that parents would be allowed to participate as passengers in the flight simulation area. This was not permitted at the launch yesterday, but we’ll let you know as soon as it is!
Ready to go now? Wait. Read on first for…
7 Ways to get the best KidZania Singapore experience ever!
1. Plan your itinerary before you go
Check out the activities available in the city. With each activity lasting an average of 20 minutes, excluding time in the queue, it is impossible to complete them all even if you are there from opening to closing time. That’s seven hours (10 am – 5 pm) from Sundays to Thursdays, and 10 hours (10 am – 8 pm) on Fridays and Saturdays, the eve of public holidays, public holidays, and school holidays.
So do your homework before you go. Read up on the activities, target the ones your child would love to do, study the floor plan, and map out your route. Some activities are more popular than others and have a perpetual queue. My kids love anything to do with vehicles so we hit the Aviation Academy first, then zoomed off to the Fire Station, then conquered the Hospital (because they get to sit in the ambulance for a ride around KidZania!) before going on to the others. They each managed to complete 12 jobs, then pooled their kidZo earnings to buy a military vehicles set at the KidZania shop.
2. Check whether your child qualifies for an activity
Some activities have height limit restrictions. At the Driving School and Driving Streets, children need to be at least 1.3 m tall to take part, so that their feet can reach the pedals of the cars. At the Climbing Building Bonanza, kids need to be at least 1.2 m tall.
Some activities also require your child to be ‘certified’ fit. For instance, your child will need a Personal Accident Insurance Plan (get it at the Insurance Office!) before climbing the High Ropes Challenge Course at the Mountaineering School, and pass an eye test at the optometrist before he/she can be issued a driving licence.
3. Book online for ticket savings and guaranteed admission
Tickets cost $58 per child (aged 4 – 17 years) at the counter, and $55.10 online. Discounts for all age groups apply online. Maybank card holders get 10% off ticket prices. Booking online also ensures that you will be guaranteed admission on the day you go. KidZania has a capacity of 1,500 (adults and children included) and once that limit has been reached, no new arrivals will be allowed entry. You don’t want to go all the way there just to find out that it’s full, do you? Book your tickets online here.
4. Up your kidZo earnings with every job done
Make The Learning Lab the very first stop. Here, kids get to have fun in a technology-enabled learning environment as they work towards a degree in Communication Studies, Business and Finance, or Biochemical Engineering, and graduate with qualifications that allow them to earn more kidZos with each activity they do after that, and discounts for ‘paid’ activities.
5. Do not make like Elvis and leave the building unless you are really, really ready to go
There is NO re-entry once you leave KidZania. So plan to stay for the entire day to make it worth your while. There are enough food outlets with seating areas, like Killinery Kopitiam, and Warung M. Nasir, for parents to hang out and have a meal while waiting for their little ones to complete an activity. Some outlets are dual-purpose (like The Soup Spoon above) so kids can do an activity which concludes with a food product that they (or parents) can consume.
There is a Parents’ Lounge (no kids allowed) where those of us with less energy can rest weary legs, grab a bite and a cuppa, and surf the Internet to our heart’s content — yes, there’s wi-fi here!
6. Save time by doing the food activities
As mentioned above, some food stations allow kids to prepare a food item as part of the activity. Kids will have to pay kidZos here instead of earning them. However, it is worth it as they’ll be preparing their own meal (hands-on learning – check!) and eating it. Stations with this include Pizza Hut, KFC, and The Soup Kitchen.
7. Very important: Remember to collect your pictures
At stations where parents are barred from entry (like the Hospital and the Aviation Academy) there are professional in-house photographers to capture your child’s achievements. The codes for these pictures will be scanned into your child’s identification tag.
Before leaving KidZania, go to the Canon Imaging Academy to browse and buy your pictures. Remember to do it! I did not bring my camera to KidZania the first time we went (to the one in Malaysia a couple of years ago) and totally forgot to buy the professionally-shot ones so we have zero-zilch-nil photos of our time there and I’m still beating myself up about it.
Need to Know
Tickets $58 (walk-in) for children aged 4 – 17 years; $35 (adult aged 18 – 59 years); $25 (toddlers aged 2 -3 years); $25 (seniors aged 60 and above); free for infants under 2 years old.
Tip Online tickets are slightly cheaper, and buying ahead of time ensures that you will be guaranteed admission. Get online tickets here.
Opening hours 10am – 5 pm (Sundays to Thursdays); 10am – 8pm (Fridays, Saturdays, eve of public holidays, public holidays, and school holidays)
Feature image: KidZania Singapore