UAE. KidZania®, the unique children’s city in The Dubai Mall managed by Emaar Retail LLC, has hosted more than half a million visitors in its first year of operation, offering them an unparalleled learning and leisure experience.

One of the most popular leisure destinations in the region, particularly popular among GCC tourists, the leading children’s edutainment centre is celebrating its first anniversary with a month-long calendar of festivities tailored for the little ones. The festivities include jugglers, mime artists, magicians, balloon sculpting artists, living statues, clowns, face painters, which will add to the colourful ambience of KidZania®.

Within its first year of successful operations, KidZania® has also brought a clear differential to the educational environment of the UAE by winning the approval of the UAE Ministry of Education, along with Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, for field trips as part of the academic curriculum. More than 70,000 students have visited KidZania® to date highlighting the increasing popularity of the centre among schools for furthering the skills of students.

KidZania® has also entered into partnerships with over 40 leading businesses, including many Top 500 global brands. Several new tie-ups are being planned, providing the organisations a unique marketing opportunity to be part of the children’s edutainment experience. Last year, KidZania® won the Superbrands 2011 laurel, highlighting its exceptional aptitude in business and for offering the highest standards in service excellence.

Vincent Pijnenburg, Governor of KidZania® Dubai said: “Our approach of creating a city that children can call as their own has clearly appealed to our young visitors, as is proven by the high number of visitors in the very first year of operation. The airport-style check-in counters with all visitors being given a boarding pass and city map, among others, are all tailored to instill in the visitors the impression that they are entering a new world, where they can have fun while also adding to their knowledge level.”

An award-winning edutainment concept that promotes the physical and intellectual growth of children through professional role-plays, KidZania® sprawls over 80,000 sq ft of the mall in two levels. KidZania® has an assortment of establishments covering the entire fabric of a working economy – including a bank, hospital, university salon, television station, music lounge, and supermarket and fire station, amongst others.

A petrol station, race track and roads, fountains, restaurants, boulevard-like fun events including magic shows and a theatre with outdoor and indoor performances, offer children a world that they can claim as their own. Children are also encouraged to learn the intricacies of basic money management with every visitor being provided a cheque for 50 KidZos, KidZania’s official currency.

The KidZos can be used to buy goods and services; or even save them at the bank, which will provide them with an ATM card too. Although children function independently, they are guided in each activity by ‘Zupervisors,’ the trained KidZania® staff.

Emaar Retail also manages Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, which opens a new window of learning by showcasing some 33,000 aquatic animals; the Olympic-size Dubai Ice Rink; the Middle East’s largest and first of its kind indoor theme park – SEGA Republic; and the region’s largest megaplex, the 22-screen Reel Cinemas at The Dubai Mall, and the 6-screen Reel Cinemas at Dubai Marina Mall.