A dedicated city where children work, learn, play and even earn, spend and save, opens on January 10, 2010 at The Dubai Mall. KidZania, the award-winning edutainment concept promoting the physical and intellectual growth of children through professional role-plays, has opened at the world’s largest shopping and entertainment destination in Dubai.

KidZania opens at The Dubai Mall
KidZania opens at The Dubai Mall

Emaar Retail, the entertainment and retail subsidiary of Emaar Properties, is bringing the innovative KidZania concept for the first time to the Middle East region and Indian Subcontinent.

Sprawling over 80,000 sq ft in two levels, KidZania is conveniently located in the entertainment precinct of the mall near Reel Cinemas, the 22-screen megaplex, and SEGA Republic, the largest of its kind indoor theme park in the Middle East.

KidZania is a veritable city with an assortment of establishments covering the entire fabric of a working economy – from banks to hospitals, universities to salons, television stations to music lounges, and hospitals to hotels.

Immaculately laid out streets, a petrol station, race track and roads, fountains, restaurants, boulevard-like fun events including magic shows and a theatre with outdoor and indoor performances, transport children to a world they can rightfully say belongs to them.

The entrance to KidZania is unmistakable with a real Emirates aircraft and airport-style check-in counters welcoming the children. At check-in, all children are provided with a boarding pass, city map and a cheque for 50 KidZos, KidZania’s official currency.

These 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 ‘Zoopervisors,’ the trained KidZania staff.

Children don uniforms that reflect the nature of the profession in each establishment, and undertake real-life tasks: cub reporters write out stories for the KidZania Journal; beauticians give customers a beauty makeover; fire-fighters put out ‘fires’; detectives patrol the streets; cabin crew tend to ‘airline passengers’ and chefs cook up delicious meals. At the end of their ‘work’, the child professionals are paid a salary in KidZos.

Mr Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer, Emaar Retail, said KidZania is the first of its kind edutainment concept in the entire region, and offers children the opportunity to understand and appreciate different professions through a hands-on approach.

“Emaar Retail, through its entertainment arm, is focused on bringing extraordinary entertainment experiences to the region, and KidZania® is a perfect fit to our objectives of being a frontrunner in new initiatives that excite and appeal to all sections of the society. KidZania is a great value addition to The Dubai Mall, offering visitors from around world another new attraction, especially appealing to children.”

He added: “KidZania is the dream come true for children as they are provided the opportunity to choose from over 70 real-life professions in a city ambience that is scaled down to their size. This will significantly benefit them in honing their skills, identifying their true talents, and contributing to overall physical, mental and intellectual faculties.”

The concept of KidZania, which blends fun with learning, has gained global appeal since its launch in Mexico in 1999. Today, the world has seven KidZania franchises including Dubai.

Honoured by the Themed Entertainment Association as ‘Best Theme Park’ and most recently as ‘Concept of the Year’ by MAPIC, KidZania offers a safe and interactive edutainment experience, where children can pursue their preferred professions independently and get to understand the world of grown-ups better by being grown-ups themselves, explained Mr William Edwards, Governor, KidZania.

“Through the various activities, KidZania teaches children the principles of life in modern society which will help them in future growth.”

All children are provided Remote Frequency wristbands to monitor their activities, thereby reassuring parents of their safety at all times.

Although most of the establishments at KidZania cater primarily to 4 to 14-year-olds, toddlers have a dedicated area where parents can leave them to the care of experienced child care professionals. This area, ‘Urbano’s Residence’ is the house of KidZania’s mascots, Urbano, Vita and Bache.

KidZania has already signed up Ambassadors from children in the region, who will join a distinguished gathering of dignitaries for the KidZania Dubai Foundation Day to be celebrated shortly.

The edutainment centre is also open to schools for field trips with the scope of activities potentially tailored and linked to school subjects. KidZania also serves as a unique venue for birthday parties and even corporate events.

KidZania has partnered with several corporate organisations in Dubai such as Emirates, HSBC, ENOC, Waitrose, AC Delco, Procter & Gamble, Lacnor, Emaar Education, Sony Gulf, Sony Professional Solutions, Jotun, Dubai Health Authority, Swiss Arabian, ARY Jewellery & DMCC, DEWA, Jenan (Al Ghurair Foods), Du, McDonald’s, General Motors, Emirates Driving Institute, NAFFCO, Dunkin’ Donuts, Britannia, Pizza Express, HP, Baskin Robbins, Coca Cola and SWATCH which offer real-life professional work environments.

In addition to KidZania, Emaar Retail manages a strong roster of exclusive leisure and retail concepts including Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo featuring over 33,000 aquatic animals and the world’s largest acrylic viewing panel; the Olympic-sized Dubai Ice Rink; the UAE largest megaplex with 22-screens, Reel Cinemas; and the region’s largest SEGA indoor theme park, SEGA Republic – all in The Dubai Mall.