September seems a long time ago and now here we are in December, with Alice just finishing her first term at school. I am really proud of how she has settled into her school. But, I have missed her so much.
Top of my list for the school holidays was to spend some one to one time with Alice, something that we never get a chance to do. So, when 365 Tickets got in touch to ask if we would like a trip to Kidzania in London, I thought this would make the ideal mummy and daughter day out. Holly is too little for it, so it just seemed perfect.
Alice has been asking me for a while if we can go on a train again, which meant that our trip got of to a good start as she was excited to go on the train to London.
It was really easy to get to the Westfields shopping centre where Kidzania is located and it is on the first floor right next to M&S. You can’t miss it with a British Airways plane sticking out above the entrance. It is the perfect start to an exciting day out.
The checking in process is set up like at an airport and we went across to the check in desk. My only criticism is I felt that we were rushed being given the information. Our checkin person knew that a large school tour were about to arrive and I think they wanted to get us through quickly to make room. This meant that not everything was explained to me that would’ve made our experience better.
Alice was excited as she received 50 Kidzania money to spend or save. Plus we both had to wear a wrist strap, this was used not only as a time guide. But for every activity Alice did she was tagged in on arrival and tagged back out. So, Kidzania always knew where she was and this is a great security feature.
I knew a little about Kidzania before we went, but not everything. It is a bit bonkers, but in a good way. It is basically role play jobs and some jobs you earn a salary and are paid in Kidzania money. Or, some activities are you receive training and have to pay for this with your Kidzania money. Outside every activity is a sign which tells you, the minimum age, the duration, how many kids per session and if there is a charge or if you will earn a salary.
What was not explained to me and I wish I knew, was if Alice saved up 75 Kidzania she could open her own bank account which I know she would have loved.
Anyway we were all ready to head in. What I first noticed was how big it is and that it was set up like a city. It had really low lighting and it felt like it was nearly night time, when in actual fact it was only 11am. It was lovely to see it all decorated for Christmas with trees on every corner and lots of sparkly lights.
Alice wanted to go to the supermarket first, this was the perfect introduction to Kidzania for her as it can be a bit overwhelming when you first arrive. But shopping is something she knows and loves. For every activity the children queue outside and no adults are allowed to join the queue. Alice decided she wanted to be a shopper and joined the queue for this. It wasn’t long until it was her turn.
She was given a shopping list and a trolley and off she went. She looked very happy going around finding all the items she needed. Once she had them all she headed to the tills where other children who had decided to be an employee were waiting. They scanned everything through and then Alice was given a receipt and job done.
We then had a wander around to see what there was to do and Alice decided she wanted to be a fire fighter, we had seen the fire engine driving around and she liked the look of this. The queue was slightly longer, but Alice was happy to wait. All children are given a hairnet when they arrive and this is used for any role plays where you have to either wear a hat or its a food related activity.
Alice popped her hair net on and counted out the eight Kidzania that she would need to pay to take part. She looked so sweet in her fire fighter jacket and so small against the boys that were in her group. But I was so proud watching her, she was not fazed at all that they were older and just got stuck in. They had to watch a training video and then there was an announcement that there was a fire at the hotel.
They all got in the fire engine and headed off. They were followed by the ambulance and the police were already on site. She jumped of, went to the fire hose and with the water put the fire out.
She loved it. Then it was back in the fire engine and back to the station where the activity finished.
Next we headed to the beauty salon for Alice to be a hairdresser. Whilst she was in there, a worker popped in and was saying he needed a hair cut and she thought he was hilarious.
She was so happy when the lady paid her some money for doing a good job. I also had a proud mummy moment, when the lady told me she thought Alice was adorable and can she come back. Which was so sweet of her.
At this point we were getting hungry and stopped for some lunch. We went to the diner and when I asked about a children’s menu the lady advised there was only one portion size, which seemed very strange for a children’s venue. We ordered a chicken burger and chips between us as it was really large for just Alice. It was lovely to be able to sit out in the square and eat our lunch surrounded by the Christmas Market.
Once we finished we looked at the different Christmas Market stalls. It was a lovely addition for Christmas and I love a Christmas market. There were a few different stalls, Alice decided she wanted to make some snow.
The lady on the stall was brilliant showing her what to do and explaining what was happening. Alice thought it was brilliant that she was making actual snow!
Next we headed upstairs where Alice wanted to go to Cadbury’s chocolate factory, but the queue was really long with all the school children in it. So, instead we went to the Innocent Smoothie factory with some older girls in her group. She put on her hair net and coat and stood listening intently as the lady explained to them where the fruit came from and how they made the smoothie.
Alice was very excited to think she had made the smoothie all by herself.
We had a quick pit stop and enjoyed an ice cream together.
Next Alice decided she wanted to get her face painted, which didn’t surprise me. When we arrived there were 3 people waiting, but Alice insisted she was happy to wait even if it meant we would run out of time to do anything else.
Another lady then arrived and she started doing face painting too, which I initially thought brilliant they have thought to put 2 people on this stall. But no, once the first lady finished she then left it was just a swap over of shift. This was a bit frustrating, as it is obviously a popular activity and there was plenty of room for 2 people to have it done at the same time.
Anyway Alice finally got her go and she had a butterfly painted on. It looked lovely, but it didn’t actually last very long. By the time she got home, most of it had gone. Whereas I am used to scrubbing it off in the bath.
It was getting near the end of our four hours and I asked a man that worked there were the shop was for Alice to cash in her Kidzania money. It was then that I learnt you need a minimum of 40 Kidzania money to buy anything in the shop. We only had 22 Kidzania left. He suggested that we spent it on activities and then took home what we had left. This was a bit disappointing to learn right at the end and is another thing that I think should have been explained at the beginning.
With only 20 minutes left of our time we were limited as to what we could do. We headed back to the Christmas market and Alice decided to decorate a tree bauble. Alice loved doing this and chatting to the lady all about the different jobs she had done already. We now have the tree bauble hanging on our tree at home.
It was then the end of our time there and we headed to immigration where you exit. Throughout your experience, there are photographers taking photos and they use the wrist band to allocate it to the right child. Here you can see all the photos taken of your child with the option to purchase. At the exit we had our wrist bands removed and we were free to leave.
Alice and I both had a wonderful day together. Alice loved all the role play activities and has already decided that next time she wants to do the parcel deliveries, go to the chocolate factory that she missed out on and also be a cabin crew member. Plus she wants to take her cousin, who we know would love it too.
For me, it was lovely to see how confident Alice was doing all the activities, a lot of the time the children in her group were a lot older but that didn’t bother her. She listened intently to what she was told and it was a great learning experience, as well as being pretty amazing. I would say that Alice was the right age to go, as most activities are aged 4+ and whilst there is an area for under 4’s, I would suggest waiting and letting them have the full Kidzania experience.
I can definitely see why people return again and again, as we still have so much to explore of it…
Disclosure: We were invited to Kidzania by 365 Tickets in return for an honest review. As always all views and opinions are my own.