On Thursday 8th March I had the opportunity to visit Kidzania with my 7-year-old daughter. Kidzania is located inside of the Westfield shopping centre in London.
KidZania is a safe and secure space for your kids to independently explore and learn all about the real world and is designed for children aged between 4 – 14. Having watched other families visit and vlogging it on their YouTube channel it was a place that we were both excited to visit.
On arrival, we made our way to the top floor where the ‘check-in’ desk is located, this is where you deal with entry into the attraction. The ticket is designed to mimic a British Airways plane ticket and it really feels like you are inside an airport especially with the nose of a giant British Airways plane sticking out of the wall.
During the Check-In process we were both given an RFID security bracelet to wear which has multiple purposes, most importantly as a security measure so that your child cannot leave the venue without it raising a security alert. It will also be scanned at the beginning and end of every experience your child takes part in.
A photographer is also on the premises who will at times take photo’s of your child, they will then scan your child’s band so that you can view the photo’s at the end of your visit and purchase them if you wish to do so.
During check-in, your child will be given 50 KidZo’s which is the currency used inside of KidZania and a hair net to wear under any hats your child may have to wear.
At this point, the guy who checked us in happened to notice my daughters ‘7th birthday’ badge, he said he would make a note of it on the system, this meant that every time her bracelet was scanned they would know it was her birthday and was wish a Happy Birthday by so many members of staff. This made her feel special on the day so it’s worth letting the staff at the check-in desk know if you are visiting for a celebration.
With check-in complete, we headed to airport security and through the security barrier and into the attraction. My initial thoughts were very overwhelming, it was very lively and loud and very busy.
A map at this point would have been ideal but we couldn’t see any so we took a little walk around to see what was available. This sadly ate into a lot of our time and we should have really planned it better. I’ve since found out that there is a map available on the KidZania website, so I would highly suggest looking on there before your visit and planning as best as possible. It could also be possible to print it out and take it with you.
It quickly became apparent that there were lots and lots of older school children on trips. Understandably so as this is a great place for educational purposes but I do feel that there were too many schools there at this time. It was very overwhelming for my daughter as she was often surrounded by chaotic 10-14-year-olds.
The school children were unsupervised and unfortunately, a lot of them were pushing in front when lining up to take part in an activity and at times the queue could be quite lengthy. I found a lot of them to be disrespectful at the fact that there were other paying visitors.
From watching videos of other families visit to the attraction, we got an idea of what to expect. My understanding was that as soon as you walk in there is a ‘job centre’ with details of the jobs available, how long the duration is and how many KidZo’s your child would earn on such job, this was not working at this time, so we couldn’t see.
You are given a 4-hour slot when visiting. I personally don’t think this is long enough especially for a first-time visit, you cannot overstay the 4 hours because your bracelet will de-activate one the 4 hours is up.
My daughter chose the activities she wanted to take part in, this included working in the dentist, vet, supermarket, fire and an air conditioning engineer.
I don’t think she got chance to take part in the experiences she wanted to, just ones that had a small wait time which was a shame.
There are two floors of activities however the lift to the upper floor was not working during our visit, I didn’t see another one so if you have a disability or a pushchair where you may need to use a lift it’s worth keeping this in mind.
The upstairs café was closed, this was slightly inconvenient as my daughter was in the queue for an experience and wanted a drink. We were right next to the closed café but I wasn’t really comfortable with the idea of leaving her in the queue on her own to go all the way downstairs to get our drinks, especially with the amount of queue jumping happening.
Food and drink are quite expensive within the venue and you will need to use your own cash to purchase this.
During our visit, we were not aware that you could spend your Kidzo’s in the gift shop at the end. I was under the impression that you earn them in one particular experience to spend in the more appealing experiences such as the chocolate making. It is worth noting that not all experiences are earners, there are some that will cost KidZo’s to take part in.
I do have to admit though that the gift shop really isn’t worth saving your KidZo’s for as you really can’t buy anything in there with anything under about 50 or so kidZo’s. This was disappointing as we bypassed the photo shop to rush to spend ours as we thought it was closing. We ended up giving our Kidzo’s away as we just couldn’t spend them (I don’t even think the person we gave ours to was able to spend them either). At least, it would have been nice for us to have a little something to take home, a pencil, ruler, keyring etc.
Once I realised this, I was then disappointed that I rushed out of the photo area. I wasn’t able to go back in as we had already left.
I was confused as to the closing time as on Google it states that the closing time is 7pm which is why I thought that arriving at 2pm would give us ample time.(our ticket was for 1.15pm onwards anyway)
It wasn’t until I asked at the check-in desk what the closing time was, he told me 4.30pm. I then felt the need to rush. At 3.50pm there was a tannoy announcement that told us we have 10 minutes left before closing, I then asked the nearest member of staff to confirm the closing time and he advised 4pm. This scuppered our plans for the last half an hour.
To further confuse matters, If you look at the opening times the have NINE variations of opening and closing times so do be sure to check this out so you don’t make the same mistake as us…..and don’t rely on Google!
Overall, I don’t think I would visit again in a hurry, but I can’t say I’d never visit again. I would highly recommend finding out as much as you can about your visit before you set off and planning as much in advance as possible.
**Disclaimer – We were given complimentary tickets for the Kidzania attraction for the purpose of the review. My review is an honest reflection of my experience and all words and views are my own.