Freeman Cebu Entertainment

Why KidZania Manila should be on your must-visit list

Karla Rule - The Freeman
Why KidZania Manila should be on your must-visit list
Visitors of KidZania Manila gets to tour around the City Tour making rounds every 15 minutes.

CEBU, Philippines — Summer is just around the corner. In a blink of an eye, kids will have holed themselves up at home, trying to get cool in front of the refrigerator.

There are tons of places you can go to for vacation. It may be time to add KidZania Manila – an indoor play city where kids ages four to 17 years old can have fun exploring the adult world – to your list of summer vacation destinations.

Now, before you shake your head in disapproval, KidZania is one of the fastest growing educational entertainment brands in the world, with 20 facilities all over the globe from Mexico to Dubai to Tokyo, and is locally franchised by Play Innovations, Inc., whose majority stakeholder is ABS-CBN Corporation.

Having spent a day in the play city, I witnessed the paved streets, the transport system and saw how its functioning economy worked. With over 8,000 square meters of play space, children are free to explore their interests and learn life skills through over 70 immersive role playing activities.

Other than getting tired of the usual locations, the influx of tourists at the beach and the proverbial traffic situation, here are five reasons why visiting KidZania Manila is a great idea.




1.) Kids learn the value of organization

KidZania Manila is built like a city, basically a nation of its own. The moment you enter the establishment, you find yourself in what looks to be a check-in area like that of an airport, where visitors line up in front of check-in desks in order to get into the city that is KidZania, complete with a wall of clocks showing the different time zones across the KidZania facilities all over the world.

From the very beginning of the trip, kids see that there are rules and regulations to follow. They are granted tickets in order to be allowed passage into the establishment, and an immigration booth upon exit. So by then, they get a glimpse of how the real world works and at the same time realize that despite being here to play, there are certain guidelines that they have to respect: like how certain simulations are only open for kids between ages this and that, or how there are only a number of kids allowed to play at a time.

It’s a replica of a real city scaled down to kids’ size: with its own history, culture, language and even currency. Being told that you’re going to a place that helps you discover, explore and learn about the adult world  might sound boring or intimidating to kids. It can be a difficult invitation to process, sure. But show them a kid-sized city built just for them and you can watch them bloom and play in front of your very eyes.

2.) Kids learn the power of ambition

A unique, interactive and educational theme park for kids, KidZania Manila offers over 100 role-playing experiences in more than 63 replicas of real-life establishments complete with realistic working tools, uniforms and equipment. The play city injects real-world brands into its establishments, partnering with the country’s leading business leaders to bring to life an immersive experience that makes play and learning one and the same. With trained instructors and teachers, there is an Acting Academy by Star Magic, an Art and Design Academy, as well as a book shop by National Bookstore, an Aviation Academy with its own airplane and cockpit by Cebu Pacific, a bank by BPI, a burger shop by McDonald’s, a clean energy station by First Gen, and many others.

There are all sorts of career options in life—and it shows kids that the world is not limited to a little box of careers. KidZania has its own theater, where kids learn how to act, sing, dance and model. It has its own hospital, a courthouse, all sorts of factories, department store, gas station, city tour bus, employment office, driving school, a radio and television station, a sports stadium, fire station, a bank, a marine laboratory, an aircraft simulation, and restaurants that allow the children to cook the food themselves in real kitchens. There are salons, delivery services, bottling factories, hotels, and everything else.

All around the city, you see kids running around delivering mail for the courier service, or putting out a fire. You see them attaching cables, and delivering a news report on screen. You find them fixing electrical wirings, powering up appliances, creating jewelry, manufacturing medicine, painting walls, scaling walls, and even operating machines and paying taxes. You see your children discover their passions, watch them as they transform into broadcasters, crime scene investigators, chefs, engineers, policemen, doctors, veterinarians, pilots, performers, and everything else in between the career spectrum.

But more than that, you see that they are slowly becoming excited about a future they can build for themselves. And that between the white and the blue-collared — any sort of hard work and dedication deserve the same amount of respect.

3.) They learn the value of hard work.

Like the real world, your work must be compensated. After the kids complete a career session (training and execution), they are then paid their dues. Other countries use pesos, dollars, yens, wons, and all sorts of currency. In KidZania, they use kidZos.

Upon each visit, kids receive checks for 50 kidZos which they can save in the bank or spend on different products and services available at establishments in KidZania Manila. Visitors can earn more kidZos by working their way in various establishments throughout the play city.

Some establishments come free of charge, others need a bit of KidZania cash in order to role play.

With that in mind, kids work hard to be deserving of that compensation, and try their best to do their job well. You see their brows furrowed in concentration, their ears trained on their instructor’s discussion, their eyes taking in the demonstration carefully. You don’t see them badgering their parents for kidZos—instead they work for what they want. If a session costs some KidZania cash, they then go find a cheaper career session to work for and then pool their money in order to play more careers. And that sort of ingenuity is another story altogether!

But spending KidZania cash isn’t the only thing encouraged here. With its own bank, the children have the choice of either spending it or saving it in their accounts. As they work for their kidZo salaries, they learn first-hand that money does not grow on trees at all. By their experience in handling KidZania’s own currency, the children appreciate its value and realize that mom and dad must have worked their backs off to provide for their wants and needs (including their trip to KidZania!)

4.) The kids become socially adjusted.

Unless you’re Suri Cruise, you can’t always have an entire theme park to yourself. That means you have to share. The kids have already learned some ground rules as they come in, and as they start exploring the play city, they realize that they are now part of a bustling, working community.

When you sign up for a certain establishment, the signs at the door tell the kids how long this simulation is going to take, who gets to take part in it, how many people are allowed at a time, how much kidZos it costs to play, and how much they’re going to earn. This incites a certain concept of friendly competition, productivity, and involves waiting for their turns.

At that, the children learn how to be patient, and how to channel their confidence in a healthy and friendly way. While waiting for their turn or for a session to finish, they realize that they don’t have the whole day, and see that there are other careers to try and so almost every single establishment in the play city has people inside of it, trying their hand at the craft. After all, a city is not a city without people at the car dealership, or without a publishing company. Have you seen a place where everyone works the same jobs? As they watch everyone around them busy themselves, they refuse to sit idle. It shows that despite knowing what careers they planned on playing, the kids also discover that there are surprise fields along the way in which they can learn a lot from.

Through work, they build friendships, become more confident, and equip themselves with skills they can use every day and onwards into the future.

5.) Kids learn the concept of independence

For many, independence comes as simple as being able to tie your own shoelaces, or no longer needing to be taken to or fetched from school. KidZania, being its own nation—has its own story as well.

The creation of KidZania had sprung from the “collective imagination of kids” and began with an “idealistic passion and an unwavering spirit that was stimulated by a communal desire to create something better.”

Unfettered by race, religion or culture, the kids’ vision was what a well-functioning, ideal world could be – a world full of opportunities where kids could assert themselves and be responsible.

In KidZania, children learn independence in a much more profound way. And it is evident in KidZania’s very own declaration of independence (written by kids themselves), as they demanded the existence of their nation be acknowledged.

As they enter, visitors are taught about the kids who created KidZania into the nation that it is today, and not long after are introduced to the six fundamental rights (known as RightZ) defined and exercised in the city namely: To Be, To Know, To Create, To Share, To Care, and To Play.

To the common adult—this sounds all very charming. But as a kid, being introduced to a concept of being free to become whatever they want to be, to learn skills and information that could better them, to create what they wish to outlive them, to share their skills and talents, to care about what matters to them and for their community, and to have the freedom to simply play and have as they wish — knowing that is what the world promises them is exciting and empowering. And so long as they are nurtured with this kind of positivity, in the long run, these kids will grow into fearless and confident adults with dreams, wisdom, capability, generosity, sensitivity and joy, with a a lot to offer the community.

Aside from career choices and honing their communication skills, physical education, spatial development, and financial literacy, KidZania Manila offers many special events throughout the year, adding new attractions one after the other.

In 2016, 20 kids ages 7 to 14 were inaugurated to be part of CongreZZ, where they took on leadership roles and was led by Senator Edgardo Angara. During the Christmas season in 2017, KidZania Manila ended the year with a special theme for the Filipino community through “Spark Kindness,” where it invites visitors of the play city to give love in ways big and small while enjoying the month’s festivities. This they did by encouraging random acts of kindness through a “Spark Card” where tasks are listed down for both kids and adults to complete in order to get special treats.

This summer, KidZania Manila is set to reopen the Magnolia Ice Cream Factory for a cooler summer. Families can come together, while schools also conduct trips in groups, and kids are encouraged to become a KidZania citizen through membership. For those too young to play, there are toddler areas so younger kids can have fun too, as well as a lounge for parents to use.

Located at Park Triangle in Bonifacio Global City, KidZania has more than 16 years of experience in running safe and secure kid-sized cities for children all around the world. All visitors who enter KidZania Manila will be required to wear an RFID (radio frequency identification) security bracelet. Each child will be matched with a corresponding guardian who will also wear an RFID security bracelet. No child is allowed to leave the facility without being accompanied or picked up by the registered guardian.

Tickets to KidZania Manila are available through KTX, SM Tickets, or TicketWorld, as well as upon entrance.

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