I was going to post about something entirely different today when I came across the news that a Kidzania is opening in Westfield London in late 2014 / early 2015. This is hardly the usual fodder for this blog, dealing with a rather older age range, but was such an interesting yet bizarre concept that I felt I had to share…
Kidzania originated in Mexico City and is an alternative to the roller-coasters of traditional theme parks, instead taking roleplay to the max. Children aged 4-14 are given a passport and some KidZos currency and “flown” to Kidzania where they can run riot watching shows or buying a meal until they run out of cash, at which point they have to get a job. Large companies from the outside world (in other countries these have included companies like Domino’s Pizza, HSBC, American Airlines, Nestlé, Johnson & Johnson, Walmart, DHL and Sony) are brand partners who run workplaces where an adult trains the kids in how to do something and then they produce it for the world (well the Kidzania world anyway). Kids can try out a load of professions from TV presenter to car manufacturer to checkout assistant to archaeologist to fire fighter to doctor etc.
It all sounds pretty bizarre!
Parents leave their children to roam the world independently, reassured that they cannot leave Kidzania without their knowledge as all kids are electronically tagged (presumably giving them the experience of prison offenders released into the community). Parents are then free to shop in the mall or they can attend the Kidzania shows their kids are in it seems.
I am not sure if this is a super cool idea or a Truman Showesque nightmare. When I was a kid, I spent many an hour pretending to be a secretary (there was no limit to my ambition back then) so maybe this would have been fun.
Will have to try it on Elphie in 2017 I guess!