What to Expect at KIDZANIA Manila

Do you remember a time when you imagine or dream of what you want to be when you grow up and role-play with siblings or friends? Did you dress up the part and take out all the props and toys you can find to pretend with? Well, level-up na ang mga kids ngayon with global edu-tainment brand KidZania opening it's doors to the public tomorrow, August 7, in Bonifacio Global City. 

KidZania Manila Main Square

Kai! That's how they say hi in KidZania. The ultimate in kids' pretend play or role playing entertainment center is now in Manila. I had the privilege of bringing my boy to a preview tour of KidZania Manila yesterday as part of the homeschooling group. As soon as we entered the city, we were overwhelmed and blown away. It's like a high-tech tinda-tindahan of my childhood days, but in a grander scale.

KidZania (kid-zahn-ya) is a safe, interactive, educational, indoor entertainment play city that's built for kids 4-14 years old. It's a kiddie city talaga with city rules, and even having its own economy and currency, kidZo! KidZania provides a unique and realistic environment from various industries to help children discover and learn about the real world.

At KidZania Manila, there over 50 activity areas for the kids to choose from, and for me it's just impossible to try to them all in just one visit.

Here's what happened during our tour yesterday, and what you can expect at KidZania Manila (including what to do when you lose your kid inside -- more kwento below):

"KidZania Airport" / ticket counters -- no crowd vs. full house

1. Arrive early, at least 45 minutes before your time slot.

For this special preview with the Homeschoolers of the Philippines FB group, our time was 1pm - 8pm. We can arrive at any time but everyone has to leave at 8pm. That's a generous 7 hours of fun and learning.
Operating Hours:
Mondays to Thursdays:  9am to 4pm (1 shift)
Fridays to Sundays, and National Holidays (2 shifts):  9am to 2pm  /  3pm to 8pm 

We arrived at about 1:15. Entrance area was already full. You can imagine the crowd once they open to the public.

There was a long and winding queue and my boy was already getting antsy after 15mins. of waiting/standing with limited seating by the entrance.

The reception was designed just like a departure area of an airport. There's also a separate holding area after you get your tickets. It took about 40 minutes of standing in line before we reached the counter. Sayang yung time sa pila, it will eat up your allocated play time, so arrive early.

2. Ticket purchase - online or on site

We were pre-registered as part of the group and were instructed to pay at the venue. While standing in line, we were given our RFID (radio frequency identification) security bracelets to speed up the registration. The KidZania team were all so friendly, helpful, and accommodating.

Each child is matched to an adult who will also wear his own RFID security bracelet, so a child cannot leave the facility without the registered adult. That's peace of mind for parents like me.

Upon reaching the counter, we have the option to pay in cash or credit card.
You can also buy tickets online, check here: KidZania Manila Ticket Prices
For group pricing and celebrations, email: tourism@kidzania.com.ph

You get:
  • Boarding passes
  • KidZania city map
  • KidZania city codes
  • Check worth 50 kidZos per paid kid -- withdraw from the bank and use at the establishments

Now, let's go!

3. Get kidZos, plan and choose your tasks.

We entered the city at 2pm. The clinic is located by the entrance. Once inside, the Independence Fountain that will greet you and the exploration begins!

All audio, video, and printed instructions have English and Filipino translations. That's already language and communication lessons for the kids!

By the entrance, you have the option to get a KidZania Passport for P250 (additional pay on top of entrance fee) and become a "citizen".

Benefits to getting a passport include: Higher pay (earn more kidZos) at their jobs, paying less kidZoz (discount) for skills trainings, and perks from participating establishments. They simply have to present their passport after every task to get stamped. The more stamps, the faster to get higher status in citizenship (see chart below).

There was already a line when we got there so we decided to skip it and see the attractions first.

Update: We got the passport on our second visit and the kids enjoyed more earnings and discounts

We went to the bank and the boy encashed his cheque for 50 kidZos. That's his initial budget. He has to work to earn more, of course.

Having their own money will teach them to be independent, to decide (wisely) how they will use the money to earn and spend on goods and services, and learn the value of hard work and saving.

Choose from over 50 role-play activities, located on the second level and mezzanine to serve the wide range of interests of each child. Some tasks may be too easy or too difficult depending on their age. 

For hygiene purposes, some activities will require hair caps, which will be provided for kids. Each establishment has their own representatives that approach and invite kids to try and enter. Some can be quite convincing.

4. Get started. Line up. Role-play.

KidZania Manila is a self-sustaining kid city with it's own school, hospital, vet, grocery store, clothes shop, bank, fire station, beauty salon, bank, food outlets, TV station, theater, and many more! Sorry I was not able to take more photos of these establishments.

Little kids below 4 y.o. have separate play areas to enjoy on the mezzanine, like this kindergarten room.

Kids should start with the job they really want to do, or try the most popular first. The line will be longer later in the day.

At every establishment, kids need to line up for their turn. Ours was a pre-opening visit and my observation was waiting in line at popular activities can drag you down for about 40 mins. -- which eats up actual play time. If I may suggest, the queueing system can be improved by having number stubs given out to the kids. This will make lining up more orderly and avoid quarrels or tension during the long wait, especially when kids get restless and temporarily leave the line, or when adults try to line up for kids.

There is a standee guide for each attraction indicating suggested age (4-14 y.o), how many kids can be accommodated per turn, the duration (10-20 minutes), and if they will earn from it (+) or pay (-) for the service. Some establishments have height requirement, but the print was too small for me to read.

I'm guessing, the most popular establishment during our visit was the Fire Station.

The boy got attracted to the siren and seeing kids in uniform, riding the fire truck, then putting out the (simulated) fire at the hotel. It was so amazing how they built the burning hotel! =) 

He attempted to line up -- four times, but the line was always long since each round can only accommodate 8 kids at a time, for about 20 minutes per run.

He is turning 12 in a few months so he basically has a target already of what type of activities he wanted to do. Many times, I cannot convince him to try anymore. He was only able to participate in activities at 6 establishments over a period of 3 1/2 hours. Parang total of 4 1/2 hours lang kami sa loob. The other hour was spent eating, walking around, and getting "lost"!
Hay naku... more on that later.

Take a peek of what your kids can experience at KidZania Manila:

Climb buildings and install cable.

Store, pick-up and deliver parcels from the courier.

Work at the hospital O.R. and ambulatory service.

KZPD and CSI -- investigate a crime scene or be a police patrol for a day.

Learn how to care for babies at the hospital.

Design your own treat at the Creative Hub.

Try food assembly at the McDo burger shop.

Take (simulated) driving lessons and earn a license.

Be a pit crew member, or drive a car once you get your driver's license.

Remember I mentioned that I "lost" the boy inside? Well, I was talking to my friend from A1 Driving school when the boy finished his job at the gas station. We saw him come out of the fence and I told him to stay in the area and wait for me. After my conversation with my friend, I turned around to call the boy and he was nowhere to be found! He doesn't have a cellphone so we can't contact each other.

The location of A1 Driving was near a McDonald's food counter and there was a dining area where we were supposed to rest and have snacks. Instead of taking a break, I walked around looking for him... I didn't report yet coz I felt I can find him in one of the establishments. But I didn't. I don't know how long we searched for him. I was trying my best to stay calm and collected because I know he's safe inside. My friend helped me look for him and also notified KidZania staff that we can't find the boy.  

Here's what you should do in case you get separated from your kids and can't reach them:
  • Immediately notify any KidZania staff
  • You will be assisted to the Immigration Office, which is the exit area; or you can go straight there to report
  • Report missing child - show photo, if any, describe (age, what he's wearing, etc.)
  • Parent's RFID will be scanned to verify identities and parent and child
    • Office will now be alerted in case the child's RFID gets scanned anywhere in the city
    • We are assured that the child cannot leave the premisses without the registered adult with him/her
  • Leave contact number and a message from the parent
    • Message will be communicated to the child and KidZania staff will assist and bring the child to meeting place once found
Several minutes after reporting, my friend finally spotted the boy crossing the street and called out to him. Nahanap din, sa wakas! 

So where was he all this time?  
"I worked in construction to earn to more kidZos..."
His RFID was already scanned at the construction site before I was able to report him, that's why I was not alerted.

When asked why he strayed and left without telling us, he said:
"KidZania is supposed to teach kids to be independent...so I left without you. I just wanted to look for work. Look, I earned 6 kidZos!
Muntik ko nang sakalin! Independence, yes. But I told him he should still tell me where he's going, always! Haaaayyy!  I should remember to let him bring a cellphone from now own every time we go to places like this.

Security-wise, we can all feel safe inside KidZania. There are CCTVs all over the place, staff and guards are always within reach and ready to help. Anyway, mahabang usapan but everything was ended well and we grabbed some pizza afterwards. Tuloy ang tour...

Be a radio host, play some music or report the news.

Free theater show for KidZanians.

Take a stroll around the city... he had a hotdog sandwich before we left.

Take the city tour bus at the Central Station.

View of the beautiful main square from the mezzanine, with more establishments for kids...

The Farm House teaches the importance of planting, harvesting and selling produce.

Talk about tree planting at the Urban Garden.

Time for pastry decorating at the bakeshop.

How about ice cream making?

Be a food tech in processed meats or work in a cookie factory...

...or be a pharma scientist and produce medicine and supplements.

It's showtime! Produce a variety show or news program.

Back at the bank to open an account with the kidZos he earned. 
He kept 10 kidZos to use for another activity.

His final stop was at the aviation academy, with simulated flying class for pilot training.
He needs to pay 15 kidZos for the training, so while he's in line, I used his ATM card and withdrew 5kidZos to add to his 10 for payment.

The Parent's Lounge is exclusive to parents, no kids allowed. I was not able to relax here at baka mawala ulit ang bata! Inside, you can order coffee and just rest on the comfy couches. 

Aside from the various kiddie establishments, there are serval food outlets and kiosks around the city where you can have snacks, lunch, or dinner. A souvenir shop is located at the ground floor.

KidZania is learner-centered and interest-based where so children are free to choose an occupation they want to try. Only kids are allowed to actually be inside each establishment. Parents and guardians can view outside through the glass walls.

Quick reminders:
  • Wear comfortable clothes and footwear --  no offensive print or revealing material.
  • Option to bring extra change of clothes, or light sweater
  • Eat heavy breakfast or lunch before leaving for KidZania.
  • Cannot bring in food and beverages (except for baby food and breastmilk)
    • I was able to bring my small water flask
  • If your kids have food allergies, watch out for some giveaway food products to avoid any health concerns.
  • Remind kids to be patient when lining up.
  • Read complete city rules here.

We left at 6:30 pm and the boy was able to bring home his license and ATM and wants to go back to try the other jobs he missed. 

KidZania Manila is amazing! I have not been to other KidZania centers abroad but ours is truly world-class in terms of the quality of the facility and well-trained staff. There were still a number of establishments that did not operate during our preview tour. It will be on soft opening starting tomorrow, so I know there will be more improvements at the city and there's more to look forward to once all the establishment are operating. We'll surely plan our next visit with the family.

More info and ticket booking, click here: KidZania Manila website.
For inquiries, send message via Facebook.com/KidZaniaManila or email info@kidzania.com.ph.

KidZania Manila
Park Triangle, North 11th Avenue
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City

I'd love to know your thoughts on this post.  If you enjoyed this, feel free to share it!
Get instant updates:
My Mom-Friday on Facebook
Follow @mymomfriday on Twitter and Instagram
Also on Google Friend Connect, or Subscribe Via Email.
I try my best to reply and answer any questions you may have on each entry so check back if you've left one. Thank you and do visit again!
(Comments with links will automatically be flagged by Disqus.)