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Friday, June 15, 2012

Kidzania

While we were waiting for Tia's ballet recital at the Mall of the Emirates in Dubai, Lucas asked to go to Kidzania in the Dubai Mall. Unfortunately, that didn't work out to be very practical, so I promised that I would take him there another time. As promised, I took the kids to Kidzania last weekend.

Here I am thinking about movie start times for The Avengers.
Unless you found this blog entry by doing a Google search for Kidzania in Dubai, you're asking yourself, "What the hell is Kidzania?" Well, it is perhaps one of the coolest places you could take your kids for the day and I'll tell you why. It is a miniature city in which the kids have all of the amenities and services that a reasonably sized city would have: a fire department, a beauty shop, a bank, mobile phone shop, McDonald's, Dunkin' Donuts, Pizza Express, game room, hospital, grocery store, theater, among others. The kids go around the city working various jobs and earning money. With the money, they can spend it riding around on go-carts, playing pool in the game room, getting their nails done. The staff are extremely helpful and friendly, happily training the kids in their respective jobs.

Kidzania has a thriving arts scene.

A gathering place for the local hoodlums.
The parent's lounge in the heart of Kidzania complete with free internet.

Kids love it and they learn about the idea of working for a living. I loved it because of the concept of the self-sustained city. There's even a coffee shop for parents with newspapers, magazines, and free internet. If you're still not sold on how awesome this place is, here is the final selling point: you can leave your kids there while you hang out at the world's largest shopping mall. Everyone wears bracelets which are electronically scanned any time an adult or child leaves. You can go shopping, go to the Sega Republic 100 feet away, or even go to the top of the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. My wife and I went to see the movie The Avengers.
Here is a dingy looking hotel in Kidzania.

Here the kids are in the middle of their training to become firefighters.

The kids had to put out a fire set by the owner of the hotel as an insurance scam.
Meanwhile, back at the fire station...

Lest you think that I just wanted to drop my kids off and go have fun on my own, I actually went in intending to play with my kids. The thing is, parents aren't allowed in the buildings. You can watch the kids, but after a while, that just gets overbearing with kids inside acting out adulthood and a line of parents with cameras taking pictures and videos of their little darlings. I was guilty of that to a point, but after a while that whole thing got tedious. Besides, the kids had no interest in me being there at all. I gave each of them 20 dirhams for lunch, and told them I was going to a movie. Neither of them seemed to care and probably wouldn't have noticed I wasn't there until the place closed.
Tia enjoyed cutting into the patient a little too much.

Tia put the ribcage back on the patient after the liver transplant.

My advice as a parent is to pay the 90 dirham fee (must be accompanied by a child,  scary to think that there might be people without children trying to get in there), check things out, get a few photos of your little darlings, then enjoy your day. Unlike the other Kidzania branches, the one in the Dubai Mall allows you to leave your kids all day. Most of the others have a morning session and an afternoon session with a intermission in which they clear everyone out and start over. Dubai Kidzania has no such break. We brought out kids there at 10:00 am and let them play until 5:00pm. Now that I've seen it, the next time I go, I'll just drop them off with some lunch money and head to Sega Republic. In fact, I've already told our kids that for my daughter's birthday in August, they have the choice between Kidzania and Sega Republic. Whatever they choose, I'll be at Sega Republic and they can enjoy the day in whatever fashion makes them happy. And that is what family time is about!
Lucas enjoying his job working in construction.

7 comments:

  1. See the website for hours. Kids cost 130 dirhams each and accompanying adults cost 90 dirhams each. You can leave the kids if they are 120 cm or taller or if you can convince the staff that your 115 cm daughter is really 120 cm tall. Parents are free to come and go, but the if you leave with the kids, they can't come back.

    If you want to leave your kids without going in with them, the staff told me that they will give you a temporary pass to go in and look for them when it's time for them to go. The kids have an electronic bracelet that identifies them as your kid for safety reasons and they cannot leave unless you are with them.

    I took my kids there at 10:00 am on a Saturday when they opened and it wasn't crowded. It started getting crowded at about 12:00.

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  2. And, GO GET LUNCH AT THE DAMNED TACO BELL!!!!

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  3. Sorry to break it to you, Bubba, but Taco Bell is gone. I went to where it was and asked. They said it closed down. Dubai now officially has nothing to offer you.

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  4. I've never been there, but the place looks cool :)

    xxx
    http://abudhabifood.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hello Aaron,
    My name is Imad Edroos and I wanted to approach you for a write up opportunity. Is there a personal email I can contact you with?

    Sincerely,
    Imad Edroos

    ReplyDelete

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