KidZania, Qatar’s newest play area resembles a kid-sized city where children can engage in imaginative role play as they take on “jobs” and make fun decisions in a world that appears all grown up. Little ones are encouraged to make their own decisions and be independent players.
Learning through play
Experiential learning and role-playing are central to the concept at KidZania. Play-based learning not only develops social, emotional, physical, cognitive and language skills, but it also happens to be a lot of fun! Children also get a sense of what it means to be responsible citizens by cultivating good habits, engaging in work, developing financial literacy and understanding the complexity of cities.
My children were delighted to be greeted at the Qatar Airways “check-in” desk where they were then given a cheque for 50 KidZos and instructed to cash their cheques at the kid-sized bank. KidZos are the currency in KidZania and can be earned by “working” on activities that mimic real-life jobs and then spent on fun experiences. It’s a great opportunity for children to work on their financial literacy skills as they must earn KidZos in order to spend them.
The value of money
For example, children can practice their speaking skills as a tour guide on the City Bus or learn interview skills at the local radio station. They can become couriers, and collect signatures for their deliveries, or strike poses as fashion models. Other career options include working at a hospital as a surgeon, a paediatrician, a dentist or a paramedic; and brandishing a fire hose as a firefighter. Each work-activity lasts 10–30 minutes and many are sponsored by local companies like Qatar Airways, Qatar National Bank, Jotun Paints, Al Aziziya Boutique Hotel, Qatar Rail and the Ministry of Economy and Commerce.
As in real life, some activities require spending KidZos in order to participate. These include training as a chef, learning to climb a wall, mixing perfumes and creating art. Other activities, like volunteering at Qatar Red Crescent to collect donations or helping visitors with special needs, are free to join but do not earn KidZos.
My eight-year-old son wanted to earn as much money as possible, so he was busy doing various jobs. He went from being a firefighter to a lab technician at the Rayyan Natural Water lab to a housepainter and then a librarian at Qatar National Library.
Doha Family Rating
- Convenience: 5/5
- Safety: 5/5
- Facilities: 5/5
- Overall: 5/5
My six-year-old daughter spent her first 10 KidZos getting her makeup done at Fairytale Salon before working as a housepainter, like her brother. She then earned more KidZos by learning to care for a baby at the Neonatal Care Department of the Metropolitan Hospital of KidZania and as a librarian.
Most activities are for children between four and 14 years old and are lead by “Zupervisors” rather than parents. However, there is the “RightZKeeper’s Neighbourhood” for children between one and four years old where parents must keep an eye on their kids. Adults are not allowed inside activity rooms but there is seating near the food and beverage outlets and on benches along the streets of KidZania
In the RightZKeeper’s Neighbourhood, children can role play as chefs and waiters at the drive-in, conduct simple experiments with water, light and air at Urbano’s Science Lab, build a wall at RightZKeeper’s Construction Site, bounce on a trampoline at Vita’s Garden or explore the soft play area at Bache’s Gym.
Once you pay to enter KidZania, you can stay all day. Once your children are finished playing, the staff say goodbye with a “Zanks, ZU” (thanks, see you). Before we left, my children decided to go back to QNB to open their own bank accounts. They deposited their leftover cash and were given one ATM card each. Both withdrew a small amount to keep for next time. So while they had fun at KidZos, they also learned the value of money by spending a little, saving a little, and discovering a lot along the way!
All ages welcome but most activities are geared to those aged four to 14 years. Kids younger than five can play in RightZKeepers Neighbourhood. Children below 120 cm must be accompanied by an adult.
Contact: 4482-6222, doha.kidzania.com
Location: Aspire Zone, Doha
- From Al Waab Street, drive past Villaggio on your right
- At the next signal, turn right
- Kidzania will be on the left side of the street before Aspire Park
- Turn left to enter the car park
Parking: Parking is available outside KidZania’s main entrance and at Hyatt Plaza, Villaggio Mall and Aspire Park
Nearby landmarks: Villaggio Mall, Hyatt Plaza, Aspire Park
Accessibility: The pathways around KidZania are accessible to wheelchairs. There are wheelchair-accessible toilets on the ground and first floors via elevator. Parents with children with special needs may request special badges for their children to indicate whether their child needs special assistance in the activities
Hours: Monday to Wednesday 08:00–14:00, Thursday 08:00–22:00, Friday 14:00–22:00, Saturday 09:00–19:00, closed on Sunday
Fees: QR 160 for children 4–16 years; QR 95 for adults, toddlers 2–3 years, and children with special needs; children one year and younger are free
Food and beverages: At the time of writing, only a hotdog cart and a snack cart are open. Other food and beverage options will be available by April 30
Toilet facilities: Toilets are next to food and beverage outlets in the main KidZania area. There is a baby room with a changing table in RightZKeepers Neighbourhood
Dress code: No specific dress code but please dress conservatively to respect local culture
Doha Family Tips
- Talk to your children about KidZos to help them to make their own financial decisions (earn, spend or save)
- Encourage your children to talk to you about the activities and the skills they learned
- Take a book. You may get a few minutes to yourself while they play
- Set a time limit as entry fee allows you to stay all day
- Children younger than eight and below 120 cm must be accompanied by an adult