Meet KidZania, Where Kids Play Miniature Bankers and Bakers for Fake Pay

LOS ANGELES, California. Market Place. July 25, 2013. (English) by David Brancaccio. –Honey, I shrunk the company! A new $30 million amusement park for kids opens in London late next year. KidZania, part of a worldwide chain with origins in Mexico, allows kids to role play adult jobs — banker, baker, publisher, news anchor — for fake pay. And just like the real world, corporate sponsors abound — such as a mini McDonald’s restaurant and a Crest dentist office.

“KidZania is a complete city with a hospital, fire station, beauty salon, bank, radio station, supermarket, television station, pizzeria, theater, and much more. At two-thirds their actual size, all facilities are designed to be ‘just right’ for children,” the company’s website explains.

KidZania was founded in 1996 by Mexican entrepreneur Xavier López Ancona and first opened in a suburb of Mexico City in 1999. It has since added locations in countries all around the world from Japan to Kuwait to India. The company says it plans to open a U.S. location in 2015.

Leon Krauze with Univison’s KMEX in Los Angeles joins Marketplace Morning Report host David Brancaccio to discuss.

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