MEXICO CITY, Mexico. Entertainment Designer. June 26, 2012. (English). –If you’ve been following us for a while, you might remember our article on KidZania Kuala Lumpur. The edutainment theme park is part of the KidZania franchise, which now has 11 entertainment centers around the world. The latest addition to the Mexican franchise is KidZania Cuicuilco in Mexico City. It is the third corporate owned center and the second in Mexico City; but more importantly, KidZania Cuicuilco is the largest and most progressive KidZania to date.
To refresh your memory a little, KidZania feature kid-sized cities where children pretend to be adults. Through various role-playing opportunities, the children get to try their hand at various jobs and earn money (“kidZos”) that they can spend or take to the bank. The experience is designed for children between the ages of 2 and 14, and no parents are allowed inside the city. However, there are adult supervisors called “Zupervisors” on hand to direct the activities and make sure everything runs smoothly.
Just like at the other KidZania centers around the world, children enter the kid-sized city at Cuicuilco through a mock airport. Unlike the other centers, they’ll have 150,000-square-feet of city to explore and participate in. The city is home to 90 establishments –such as a bank, restaurants, a hospital, and a sports stadium– and there are 120 different trades for children to choose from.
In addition to traditional vocations, the extensive list of job opportunities includes many that are geared toward environmental stewardship. At Cuicuilco, kids can join the alternative energy sector by working with wind turbines, solar panels, an electric power plant, and a water treatment facility. By including jobs such as these, KidZania is giving children exposure to an industry that is still growing and will most likely play an even larger role in the world when they are entering the work force. This theme of environmental stewardship isn’t just a game at KidZania; there is also a recyclables drop-off center for the surrounding community integrated into the city’s infrastructure.
President and founder of KidZania, Xavier Lopez Ancona had this to say about the new experiences at his latest park:
“With KidZania Cuicuilco, we’ve introduced 21st century career choices, elevated awareness around global issues like the environment, and made certain that every child, no matter their level of ability, can participate. We’ve brought the most authentic and fun real-life experiences to life to help children understand and manage their ever-changing world. As we continue our global expansion, we look forward to bringing these new, relevant and awe-inspiring entertainment experiences to kids the world over.”
Another aspect of this park that makes it more progressive than the others is a focus on special needs. To begin with, there are tools and staff available to help any special needs children get around the park and participate in activities; but there are also activities that help children without disabilities understand what it would be like to live with a disability. For example, there is the opportunity to become a guide dog trainer. The children will work with real dogs and learn how they are trained to help people with a range of disabilities.
The highlight of KidZania Cuicuilco will most likely be the driving center, which KidZania is touting as the “world’s most authentic driving experience for children.” It features the largest fleet of kid-sized electric vehicles, including minivans, SUVs, ambulances, city buses and polices. Here, children can take driver education courses and learn about taking out insurance policies.
While we don’t advocate for children growing up too fast, KidZania manages to give kids an awareness of what goes on in the adult world while still incorporating play and imagination.