As we are halfway around the world with Ken’s family, The Josie Guy is helping me with some blog posts this week. Fair trade. Here he is:
As discussed in the Josie Girl’s Punta Fuego post, we have been rotating between stints in Manila and out. One of the highlights (outside of family) of being in Manila has been Kidzania. What is Kidzania? In short, it is a huge indoor pretend city that allows kids to role-play by conducting adult activities. There are currently more than 20 locations around the world and it is on its way to the States.
My cousins told us how big of a hit Kidzania was in Manila, and we (Cruz) definitely got into it (on two separate visits). There are a ton of activities and jobs (driving a car, pilot training, cooking, working at a hospital… everything). Some activities cost kidzos, the Kidzania currency, (kids get 50 when they get in), but other activities EARN them kidzos. They can pick and choose activities as they wish, depending on what they want to do, and how many kidzos they want to earn/spend. A totally genius way to get them to pretend like they’re adults.
Cruz’s first activity of choice: McDonald’s “training” where he got to learn how to put together a cheeseburger (this training station was right next to an actual McDonald’s.. bonus: participants get to eat the burgers they put together). As instructed, he dressed the burger with five ketchup and mustard dots, which he promptly wiped off (along with the onions and pickles) before chowing.
Cruz wanted to drive a car around a track (cost: 15 kidzos). To do so, he first had to earn his driver’s license (10 kidzos) and pass an actual test. He received a license, which is good for 2 years at Kidzania’s internationally. He used the license during his second visit a few days later (we made him keep track of it during the days in between). And yes, on his first day, he basically only wanted to spend money!
On Day 2, after another car trip first thing, I told Cruz he had to start earning kidzos instead of just spending them. We went over a bunch of different kidzo-earning activities (hospital, tax office, supermarket work, etc), and he decided he wanted to work at a Holiday Inn checking people in. (Yes- as you can tell, there are many commercial opportunities for brands to participate in Kidzania and expose kids at an early age).
Cruz learning how to check customers in (Holiday Inn uniform and all). As I sat outside, I watched the woman walk through all of the steps he had to conduct to perform his job.
Behind the desk. I served as his pretend guest, which was probably the highlight of my Kidzania visit. He read a script from the screen, typed my name into the system (Papa Natori), read me the different room types and costs, and entered my selection in. He had support from his coach, but for the most part, he did everything himself. It was really cool to watch.
First paycheck! (8 kidzos)
Next stop: another earning opportunity at the Jack and Jill snack factory where Cruz helped work in a production line to make a Jack N’ Jill snack called “Roller Coasters”. He learned about food safety, used some tools to cut the food, and put his creation inside a machine, where the chips were allegedly baked and packaged.
Fruits of his labor
Earning some more kidzos at a Coca-Cola bottling plant. Yes… there are parts of Kidzania that are a little commercial, but you can understand the need for it when you see how built out the place is. Cruz, predictably, wanted to drink the Coke he bottled when he was done. #NoSoda
One of the best reads on Kidznia is here. The concept is coming to the States soon, but the question is where and when. We will definitely go visit again if it ever comes to NYC!