Saturday, July 4, 2015

Job-Hopping in KidZania Bangkok

[Sponsored Visit]

The highlight of our Bangkok trip for the kiddos would have to be taking the tuk tuk and our visit to KidZania Bangkok! We are once again laggards and it is our first time visiting the establishment since it opened two years ago back. It also happens to be the largest indoor playground for the chain which started originally in Mexico.

KidZania Bangkok is located on the 5th level of Siam Paragon and you will have no trouble locating it. It is along the famous shopping stretch, much like our Orchard Road and is also within walking distance from another famous tourist haunt, MBK Shopping Centre. So what's so nice about KidZania one may ask. Let us share our experience with you.

The airplane on the left of the ticketing counters that you simply cannot miss!
Your journey starts once you check into KidZania (buy tickets lah).
The passengers getting a briefing from the ground crew before they embark on their fun activities.
From the moment you get to the ticketing counters, one is immediately transported into a world of make belief! The counters are almost exact replicas of your check-in counters at the airport, and in this case, the "airline" we are taking would be AirAsia. After checking in and getting our boarding passes, we are then allowed onto the air-bridge to make out way into the town!

This is the first place one needs to go after getting into town. To withdraw money!
Happy kids with their withdrawals! Full of KidZos (the only currency to use) to spend now!
The town is reminiscent of various theme parks such as your famous Universal Studios or Disneylands but the very big difference would be that all the shops are fully operational! The first thing one needs to do is to withdraw money from the local bank and the entire mini-economy is based on their own currency, KidZos.

One should get a proper education before trying out the other activities Completion of the course would allow one to make more KidZos when working certain jobs or enjoy a discount at other activities.
And they graduated from their Geography degree course with a personalized card as certification as well!
There is a bank, beauty saloon, fire station, police station, flight school, bottling plants, driving school and even sushi restaurant just to name a few! One can either be a customer and spend money for the services or work and earn money! There will be a sign indicating the amount of KidZos required for the activity or the amount of KidZos that the kiddos get to earn in their job and of course the recommended age as well, which is often 4+ for most.

The kiddos trying out the free-play area for the younger kids and toddlers. 
Stacci loved the kitchen very much!
There is also a ball pit and resting area for tired parents too.
Some other ball games include basketball and bowling.
Each activity generally last around 20mins and if the maximum number of participants are reached, one will have to queue for the next batch to start. Do note that adults are NOT allowed into any of the shops and the kiddos will be required to be independent. This is a great opportunity for the kiddos to try out and understand the whole idea of a working economy and have great fun at the same time.

Steffi, Leroy and Stacci got to try out many different jobs, activities and classes. A tip for you is that one should try to get an education first, so that one can get additional KidZos when performing certain jobs or get a discount when trying out certain activities. There is also a driving activity that we didn't manage to try because the kiddos were too short to even get the mandatory driving license prior to driving the cars. Another 20cm more Steffi, another 20cm will do next time.

The beauty saloon and the kids' first job!
Steffi and Stacci enjoyed their make up session but could only do it on themselves as they did not have any customers. But Leroy wasn't so happy though.
They each earned 3 KidZos at the end of their session! If they have had customers, they would have earned an additional 5 Kidzos each.
Steffi and Leroy were thoroughly into their characters when they don their special attire for the different jobs. They would rush immediately to the next available job once they finish their current one and we spent out entire afternoon from 12pm - 5pm trying out different vocations! They definitely surpassed daddy in terms of job-hopping! On the other hand, Stacci at almost 4 years of age, is a little introverted and although she would follow her two idling siblings in performing the various tasks required of them, she needed more help than them. Given her shy character, I reckon that if she had been alone, she would probably not enjoy it as much.

There is a sign outside all the shops that tell you the number of kids for each session, how long it takes and for which age group. It also states whether you earn or spend KidZos. For this sushi making class, if the kiddos had a Degree in Chemistry, they would get a discount of 2 Kidzos and need only pay 13 Kidzos.
Stacci all smiles donning her sushi-making attire!
Getting a helping hand putting on her hat.
The kiddos listening to the instructions given. From the smallest to the biggest, there will only be 6 kids per session.
Getting their hands dirty spreading the roe on their sushi rice.
And here's one of the three boxes of sushi the kiddos made! Accomplishment unlocked!
They simply can't wait to sink their teeth into their finished product! Me too, and it tasted yummy!
Steffi enjoyed trying out being a makeup artist and putting on lipsticks and powder on herself while Leroy had a short stint as a policeman and combed the town to try to catch a crime suspect. Playing firemen was also an awesome experience for the three kiddos as they underwent a crash course on firefighting, got onto a fire engine which transported them to another part of the town to put out a raging fire that was raging in a hotel! It was play belief but yet so realistic as well and they were all so into their characters! I can't help but smile as they played on in their cute attires as I snapped their photos.

This is their happiest ever visit to the dentist! 
And they got to learn how to take care of their teeth and perform some minor dental procedures on a mannequin too!
I have a very big complain about KidZania actually, and that is their short operating hours from 10am - 5pm on weekdays and 10am - 8.30pm on weekends only. My kids had so much fun trying out the activities and they did not wish to leave the town even after they closed for the day. We spent 5 full hours there and did not manage to try out many jobs and activities! This definitely calls for a second visit, and a third and fourth!

Daddy longed to be a vet, and the kids got to try that out for themselves as well.
Little Stacci, is really so little. 
This was despite the fact that the place wasn't your usual amusement park with its fun rides. Our visit to KidZania was very educational for the kiddos as they experienced for themselves how milk is produced and bottled. They also got to try their hands on making their own sushi rolls! All these fulfilled one of their innate needs, and that is to be an adult and do adult stuff! And that is precisely the reason why my kiddos enjoyed their day at KidZania so much.

Leroy attending the crash course on firefighting.
On their way to the scene of disaster!
Getting off the fire engine in double quick time.
Putting out the fire is a group effort no less!
Stacci is playing her part well too!
You know as a kid, one would probably had wanted to grow up as fast as possible and be an adult. Now that I am one, I would look back and wish to be a kid again sometimes and enjoy kids play too. I guess beside wanting the kids to experience the activities themselves, the adult restriction into the shops also prevent overzealous parents trying everything for their kids and also prevent people like me who never really grew up from hogging stuff meant for the kids!

Next up to Meiji to spend some KidZos to learn how milk is being processed and bottled.
The staff explaining to the kiddos on how to differentiate good milk from bad.
Kiddos doing the welcome pose at KidZania.
And they actually got to choose one flavor, bottle and keep it!
So what how do you deal with the kiddos' hard-earned KidZos that they never got to spend at the end of their session? You can try to spend them all at their in-house Paragon department store or choose to donate them into a box at the immigration counters upon exit. And because KidZos can be used in ALL KidZania establishments around the world, you can even keep them for future visits anywhere! That's a really smart move on their part! *wink*

The last game station Leroy went to, was the local police station!
This is where he learnt about the police investigation process and how to identify and find crime suspects. 
There is even a lockup cell!
The investigator bringing the new recruits on a field trip around town.
KidZania Bangkok had kindly sponsored the "air" tickets for our flight of fantasy. It may be sponsored, but I would personally vouch and recommend this to all parents with primary school-going kids. We had a such a wonderful experience at the place, that we were already thinking of a return trip to finish the rest of the jobs waiting for the kids. It is Edu-tainment at its best for our kiddos. We also found out that it is cheaper to pre-purchase the tickets online, rather than buying them over the counters. So if you happen to be bringing your kiddos over to Bangkok, you may wish to buy the tickets here before flying over!

The most recent media event announcing new corporate partners (Photo credits: KidZania Singapore)
Meanwhile KidZania Singapore is also set to open in Sentosa at the later part of 2015 and is already currently working with 32 confirmed corporate partners. There are some big names like 7-Eleven, Abbott, Canon, Pizza Hut, as well as local brands like Lim Chee Guan and Mount Elizabeth Hospital. With over 80 role-playing activities lined up, we definitely wouldn't want to miss that for sure!

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