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Five reasons why Kidzania is every kid's dream come true.

What if kids rule the world? Would it be a better place?

That's what kids are about to find out when they visit KidZania Manila next week as it opens the city to kids this August 7. For those who have not visited any of its 19 branches all over the world, KidZania is a play facility that mimics a real, functioning town, complete with its own government, transportation, social, and economic systems. It even has its own currency, which you can earn when you work for any of the government and commercial establishments in the city. There, kids get to be the mayors, the doctors, the firefighters, the news anchors. Kids will run the city along with other children while adults watch from the sidelines. They will get to fly a plane, drive a car, earn a degree, work for a living, direct a TV newscast, send a kid to jail, among other stuff. In short, you get to play an adult and, in the process, learn a thing or two about being one. Cool huh? You ain't seen nothing yet! Here are six reasons why KidZania is better than chocolate, videogame, and your favorite toy.


To every kid who has been refused entry to a movie theater or a theme park ride or been forbade to watch a show, here's your revenge! Adults are banned inside KidZania establishments. They can only watch from outside while you flip burgers at McDonald's or churn out a snack at the cookie factory. And get this, adults cannot enter the city without a kid to accompany them! Ha! How the tides have turned!


When we say "kid-size," it does not mean "toy-size." We mean a real city, with life-size establishments that kids, even the big ones, can go into and play in. KidZania has a real theater where kids can watch movies and shows; its own McDonald's where they can make their own burgers or work at the cashier; a Cebu Pacific plane (a real plane, mind you!), where kids can train as flight attendants or pilots; an A1 driving institute, where they can learn to drive, Centro Escolar University, where kids can get their degrees; factories, where they can make the most amazing things; commercial establishments Healthy Options and Mercury Drug, where they can grocery shop or dine with friends after a hard day's work. There is even a hotel "on fire" which they can put out with water from a fire truck hose. The city comes complete with hospitals, trial courts, fire stations, banks, even a jail cell. Anything and everything that a city needs to function are in there.


KidZania is not like those playhouses where you are given plastic, make-believe equipment. There, you work with real, working equipment and facilities, although reduced to a kid's small frame. For instance, when you go to the ABS-CBN media studio, you will work with cameras and sound equipment that the TV people use to come up with TV shows. In fact, at the end of your visit, you will be given a video recording of the show you hosted or directed, depending on which role you played. There are also ATMs in the city that you can withdraw money from and machines that you are allowed to operate on your own with, of course, a "zupervisor" to guide you. At the airport terminal, kids can learn to pilot a plane through the flight simulator. Although the controls are not exactly the real thing, it is similar, giving kids the feel of how it is to fly a real plane. It's better than any videogame because everything is experiential, not virtual.


At KidZania, the letter "s" is substituted with "z" in some words like pazzport, zupervisors, congrezz, and z-u (which means goodbye or see you). "Hi" in KidZanian is "kai," "wow" is "zaz," and "friend" is "kal." The city also has its own currency called "kidzos," which the kids can earn by working in the city and spend at stores and commercial establishments. It even has its own Bank of the Philippine Islands branch and ATM machines.


At KidZania, kids are the adults. You run the city. You drive. You work. You get to relax with friends, way past bedtime (in theory). You interact with other "adults" and learn to live and work with kids you don't personally know. Those who have always wanted to become doctors, or pilots, or firefighters will finally have a chance to be one. It's all role play, of course, but it's more real than the usual games that you often play with friends. Just like an adult, you get to feel how it is to work for money and to budget what you earned so you can buy what you want. And it's your own choice, your decision because there, you're the boss of you.

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Title Annotation:Funpage
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:Jul 31, 2015
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