See our Advertiser Disclosure here.
Last month, KidZania opened its first US location in a suburb of Dallas, Texas. Even if you don’t live in the Dallas area or plan to visit Texas, there are 28 KidZania locations world-wide that you may come across in your international travels. KidZania also has plans to expand to Chicago and New York.
What is KidZania?
KidZania is an interactive city geared for kids ages 6-14. Kids perform job training and tasks, earn money and spend money. Each job session takes 20-30 minutes to complete and includes education about each industry and career.
Kids can do a job over again, or rotate to new jobs. Examples of job options include pilot, EMT, firefighter, veterinarian, actor, banker, news reporter, construction worker, surgeon, dentist, hair stylist, window washer and many more. Kids can even work in the food industry when ordering their lunch by making their own pizza or learning how to make fries.
I purchased tickets for my 9-year-old and 12-year-old online the day before for $39.95 each. We arrived shortly before opening at 10:00 a.m., and there were only a few families in line ahead of us.
The entrance looks like an airport, complete with a ticket counter, waiting area and security. It looks very realistic.
Kids 8 and older can enter without a parent, and my kids wanted to have their own independent experiences without me hovering over them. Plus, it costs an additional $14.95 each for parents to stay for the entire experience. Parents are not allowed in the job buildings but can watch through glass windows or go upstairs to the parent lounge.
My kids each received 50 Kidzos (KidZania money), and off they went!
What My Kids Did in KidZania
My kids got to try many different occupations in their 5+ hours at KidZania. My daughter worked in the NICU with robot preemie babies. She became a police officer complete with uniform and sunglasses and responded to a car crash. She checked on some animals as a veterinarian.
One of her favorite jobs was a delivery person. She received a map and had to pick up and drop off packages at different locations throughout the city.
My son’s favorite jobs were in the hospital, where he learned about MRIs and surgery.
Both kids went to college at SMU (Southern Methodist University) and received diplomas during a graduation ceremony with caps and gowns. They discovered that if they showed their college degree, they earned more at each subsequent job.
At the end of their time, my kids went to the department store to spend their Kidzos money. They also had the option of depositing their money in a savings account at the bank that would earn interest and be available for their next visit.
Areas of Improvement and Technical Difficulties
My biggest disappointment with KidZania is that even though the tickets say “all day city pass”, kids cannot exit and re-enter later. Once they exit, that’s it. Since my husband and I dropped our kids off, we had planned to pick them up for lunch and let them return for the afternoon. That was not possible.
So that lead to another problem: lunch. If my kids were going to stay through lunch, there was no way for me to pre-pay for lunch through their security bracelets. I had to give them cash. This made me uncomfortable because I wasn’t sure that they could keep up with the real money without losing it. I also wasn’t sure that my son wouldn’t keep all the money for himself. The staff let me deliver money to them around lunchtime. A manager told me that they are working on the ability to pre-purchase lunch vouchers, but it’s not ready yet.
Another big issue I had was that my parent pick-up bracelet was not working. To pick up, security is supposed to scan my bracelet. Then, when my kids scan in or out of a job, the system alerts them that I am ready to pick them up and they should proceed to the exit. With my bracelet not working, I had to walk throughout the entire city with a staff member to find my kids. It took a long time.
My kids had a blast at KidZania. They learned a lot in their time there, and I could tell they enjoyed their independence. I liked that I could drop them off and not pay to enter, giving my husband and I some free time.
While the experience says it’s geared for ages 6-14, at age 12 my son seemed to be one of the oldest there. I can’t see him going through age 14, although I think that without the younger kids there, middle school kids would thoroughly enjoy the experience.
At $40 each, the experience isn’t cheap. I couldn’t find any discounts except for 1/2 price after 5 p.m. on select nights. That only gives kids about 2 hours for jobs, which I don’t think is enough time. However, my kids did stay in there a long time and they did learn a lot about careers. So I don’t think it was a waste of money, but it’s something that we can’t do every month.
I really wish KidZania would reconsider the no re-entry policy. And, I hope that the ability to pre-buy lunch is online soon and the other technical glitches are fixed. For parents that drop off, it should be easier to feed the kids and pick them up.
- Go at opening time for shorter lines.
- Have your kids wear clothes with pockets to keep their money.
- Get the college degree first.
Overall, my kids had a great time, and they want to return. We will likely take them back again in a few months. If you are visiting Dallas with kids ages 6-12, I recommend a visit to KidZania.
Have you been to a KidZania location here or in an international location?
Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.