Kidzania - A world where kids get to be the grown-ups

KidZania is a city built for kids with 75,000sq ft of mini streets and buildings, and over 60 role-play adventures.


There's fire and rescue and police training, and learning to be a dentist or a surgeon. Here the children (age 4-14) are firmly in charge and get to be hands-on in this mini world of educational sessions.

My husband, Mark, and I along with our two children, Amber, 12, and Jacob, five, headed to KidZania in Westfield, Shepherd's Bush, London.

Upon entering, there's a full-size front of a BA plane sticking out of the wall. The main entrance is also just like an airport so we went to check-in. Everyone, including parents, is given a security bracelet, and no child is allowed out without their parent or guardian. Allergy details are also recorded.

Amber and Jacob were given 50 KidZos each, the currency used. Children are encouraged to work so they can earn money, then they can spend it on goods or open a bank account.

As we walked through security, Jacob couldn't believe what he was seeing. Sessions are four hours. You may think that's a long time, but it flies by. We booked 2pm - good because there was no way we would get the kids to sit down for lunch with so much to see and do.

Jacob spotted the fire and rescue, so that was our first stop, and he waited patiently in the queue (no adults allowed). Each activity lasts about 20-30 minutes. At the door of each is a plaque that tells you how much you have to pay, how much you can earn, the minimum age and how long the activity is.

It was time for him to put on his fire jacket and helmet. Seven children sat and watched an educational safety video, then the fire alarm rang. Time to go put the fire out.

They got into a mini fire engine and with blue flashing lights, and set off around the streets until they came to a hotel that was on fire. Out they jumped and grabbed hold of one of the seven hose pipes and started squirting water on the fire.

Jacob absolutely loved getting to put out a (pretend) fire with real water.

He learned to fly a plane at the pilot academy, climbed the outside of a hotel, delivered money at the bank vault and took part in a pit stop with Renault Formula E.

I liked that there were only about seven children allowed in at any one time, so it's not crowded. There are also plenty of places to grab a coffee or food and there is an adults-only lounge, too.

Amber loved being a radio DJ with Capital FM. She also really enjoyed being a newsreader in an actual studio with green screen, microphones and an autocue.

Our children came away with new skills and they talked about it all the way home.

AMBER SAYS: I really enjoyed our visit to KidZania. My favourite bit was being a radio DJ with Capital FM. I sat in a studio and read a script with six other people who were a similar age to me.

Amber tries a DJ, both KidZania I also got to be a newsreader in a studio that had a green screen for the weather. I read a news report about a fire, and footage was shown of children putting the fire out. I would like to visit again.

JACOB SAYS: KidZania was great! It looked like it was outside, with different streets. My favourite bit was doing the pit stop with Renault. I got to be a fire fighter and put a fire out which was a bit scary.

I learned how to fly a plane and I didn't crash which was awesome. I climbed on the outside of a hotel and I wore a helmet and a safety harness. I also had my own money.
Can't wait to go again, I had a really fun time.

A four-hour play session costs from £29.50 for 4-14 year olds. KidZania London is at the Westfield shopping centre in Shepherd's Bush, with tube and railway stations right next door.