BANGKOK, Thailand. Bangkok Post. August 1, 2012. (English).-KidZania, the Mexico-based edutainment firm, will open its largest Asian family entertainment centre in Bangkok by year-end, two years behind schedule.
The delay has been due mainly to the political violence of recent years and the 2011 flood crisis. The company has adjusted the design of KidZania Bangkok to make the branch, in Siam Paragon, the largest in Asia and third largest in the world. Xavier López Ancona, the founder and chief executive officer, said Thailand was chosen due to its large population. Bangkok alone has about 10 million people, of which roughly 20% are children, he said. “Thai parents are willing to spend money on innovative and better ways to educate and motivate their children, and Siam Paragon is the best tourist attraction for local and foreign visitors,” he said.
Covering 10,000 square metres on the fifth floor of Siam Paragon, KidZania Bangkok will be 10% larger than the South Korean branch. KidZania is a meticulously realistic, scaled-down replica of a city, replete with streets, buildings, utilities and vehicles for children aged 4-14. Currently 85% of the kid-sized city has been completed.
“KidZania will be a new Bangkok landmark, helping to boost the capital’s appeal as a regional destination with a very sophisticated family edutainment product,” said Mr. López. “It will give kids a real experience to explore a variety of careers. No matter what profession they choose to explore in KidZania, they will learn important skills including how a society functions, how to work as a team and how to follow directions while learning real life skills.”
KidZania, with 11 branches in eight countries, has partnered with almost 400 companies worldwide to provide children with new experiences. For example, a real, 21-metre section of a Boeing 737 fuselage and cockpit will be on hand for aspiring pilots and aircrew.
Scott Schubert, the vice-chairman of Kids Edutainment Holdings (Thailand) Co and chief executive of KidZania Thailand, said children can explore more than 80 careers at KidZania. They will face real-life situations that help in the development of their problem-solving skills, he said. Through role-playing, they will learn to take on new challenges, overcome obstacles and build self-confidence in managing the world around them.
KidZania Bangkok will hold two sessions a day for children and their families: from10am to 3pm and from 4pm tp 9pm. Each session will accommodate up to 2,000 visitors. The company expects the branch to break even in 3-5 years.