KIDZANIA- Mall of Arabia

UPDATE (Feb 2016):  It has been a little over a year since I first visited Kidzania so I took a second trip back to see if things had changed since my first visit.

The good news is that there are many more “shops” open to the kids.  We were able to go to the pharmacy and make ice-cream this time.

However, many things remained the same.  Many of the shops were not open at the time of our visit so we were limited on the number of activities we could participate in.  In addition, I am still very disappointed in the staff of the facility.  They are very unfriendly to the children.  The children are super excited when they come to Kidzania and the staff act and look like they are bored off their rockers.  They have no excitement, no energy,  no motivation for the kids, don’t tell the kids “job well done”  NOTHING!!!  They are there to pass their time which is so frustrating at a kids activity place.   In addition, they also still don’t speak English to the children even when you tell them that your child does not know Arabic.  Lines are still long and the system is still inefficient

In summary, kids do LOVE the place.  I would recommend going to Kidszania when they offer their “special” rates as I don’t think it is worth the money for the services provided at the normal rate.  Plan on going for the whole day 9am-until evening if possible so you get maximum time to do and try all the activities.

ORIGINAL REVIEW (Jan 2015):

My daughter and I decided to embark on the magical mystery of Kidzania over the holiday.  We arrived at the entrance shortly after 1pm and queued in line.

Kidzos-the official currency of Kidzania
Kidzos-the official currency of Kidzania

Upon making payment, we were handed a map, our boarding pass, and a Kidzos check for 50 Kidzos.  We were told our first stop needed to be the bank to cash the check.  Upon entering the facility, we were transported to the the town of Kidzania.

The city of Kidzania.
The city of Kidzania.

Cobblestone streets and the feel of a modern European city greeted us.  There were light posts, traffic lights, road signs and the firetruck was speeding by on its way back to the firehouse.  Following the street signs, we easily found “The Saudi Investment Bank” and cashed our check.  Since the “Sunsilk” Beauty Salon was close, my daughter decided stop number one need to be getting her hair done.  She walked in and paid her Kidzos while the beautician advised me to “wait outside”.  I found a bench, read a few pages in my book and awaited the exit of my little princess with her amazing new do.

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Putting the fire out at the Hotel.

After spending some money, we decided to  get a job and earn some money. She wanted to be a dentist, so we headed up the stairs to the dentist’s office only to discover it was closed.  We headed back down the stairs and went to the firehouse instead.  We had to wait in line for about 20 minutes before my daughter’s group was admitted into the firehouse, where her arm band was scanned and a fire jacket and construction hat were donned.   The kids then sat down to watch a fire safety video, followed by a fire hose practice session.  The kids then boarded the firetruck and were off to fight the blazing fire at the hotel.  Upon returning to the firehouse each child returned the costume and then was paid for their day of work.  So much fun!

Time to try being a dentist again, so back up the stairs we went.  Bummer, the dentist is still not open.  Back down we go to try some grocery shopping at the “Hyperpanda” market.  My daughter simply wanted to do some grocery shopping, but other kids went to Panda to earn money as check out clerks.

Fighting fires and grocery shopping were hard work. Time to eat!  How about learning to make a hamburger from “Burger King”? Once again, we waited in line for about 20 minutes before heading into the Burger King kitchen.  Hair nets, aprons and plastic gloves were made available to impress food safety and hygiene standards on the kids.  The employee gave each child a paper wrapper that was placed on the table as their working surface. She then came around the table with bun bottoms and tongs.  Each child used the tongs to pick their bottom bun.  This was followed by the meat patty (which the kids were not allowed to pick out).  They were instructed on how to properly squirt the ketchup and mustard and then the employee brought around the top bun which each child placed on their burger.  Instructions were given on how to properly fold the wrapper around the burger and voila–the hamburgers were ready for take away, once aprons were removed and hairnets and gloves were in the trash.  We found a nice park bench to sit on, where my daughter was able to enjoy her hand-made burger. (This activity required a Kidzos payment).

Back up to the dentist office—hmmmmm, still closed. Okay, let’s go work at the hospital.  The hospital has two sections.  You either work in the ER and take a ride in the ambulance or you work in the nursery with the babies.  When my daughter’s turn came, she was sent to the nursery.  She really enjoyed bathing, diapering, feeding and caring for her baby in the nursery.  When she was paid again. She was absolutely thrilled and said, “I’m rich”!

“Please Mommy, I want to be a dentist.”  Okay, back up the stairs we go.  Still not open.  We decided to go make a bottle of Coke at the bottling factory.  Once again, it was about a 20 minute wait.  We she finally got into the bottling factory. She was given a Coke apron and instructions on  how to make her personal bottle of Coke.  She checked the plastic bottle, filled it with syrup, carbonation, and water then added a lid and placed it on the conveyer belt where it went through the label machine.  After waiting patiently at the end of the belt, she retrieved her own bottle of Coke.  (This activity also required Kidzos payment)

It was now 5:30pm.  School tomorrow, so time to head home.

My daughter really enjoyed her day, with the exception of having to wait so long for each activity.  I found the system to be really inefficient and the waiting time to be too long.  Many shops that kids can visit only have a single employee. This makes the process of waiting that much longer.  In addition, you had those employees who were busy chatting with each other as opposed to getting ready for the next session and on a few occasions, were more interested in very important text messages that had arrived.  On average we waited 20-35 minutes for most activities, though the employees tell you it “is only 10 minutes”.  It’s not.

Another problem I found was that many of the employees do not speak or refuse to speak English.  I do not expect the programs to be in English, after all this is Saudi Arabia and the national language is Arabic.  However, I made a point to tell each of the employees that my daughter only spoke English in the hopes that they would give her just a bit of direction or educational information in English, but that did not happen.  She was expected to just follow the crowd, so in my opinion, she missed out on a lot of educational opportunities that Kidzania is supposed to offer.  Only Arabic maps of the city are given out when you pay. If you want an English map you need to specifically ask for English.

I found the entry fee for children to be a bit pricey for the limited number of activities available.  I feel it is currently over-priced because half of the shops are not even open.  They advertise a gas station, car wash, a hotel, chocolate shop, candy shop, pizza making, recycling plant, gym and many more that are not available  yet.  Maybe if we would have entered at 10am and were able to do a few more things it might have been worth the money.  Parents (just for entry) also have to pay a stiff fee of 95 SAR.  You are paying 95 SAR simply to be in the facility.  Parents are not allowed in the shops, nor are they allowed to participate in any of the activities with the kids.  Kidzania clearly states that, as with many real-life businesses, there are operating hours and I understand they need to close for employee breaks, but as you read, my daughter REALLY wanted to be a dentist and the shop did not open the entire day. Very frustrating.

I appreciated the kid sized sinks in the restrooms, but found them to be untidy with no toilet paper.  They have the fantastic Dyson hand dryers, so there are no paper towels (a good thing) and regretfully (at least in the lower bathrooms) there are no changing facilities for babies.

What I did really liked about the facility was that everything was local, so it was a real city that kids could be familiar with.  The bank is truly a local business: the flight simulator is from Saudi Airlines, the salon was Sunsilk, and the grocery store was Hyperpanda. This was very cool.  I also liked the idea that kids earn money and then choose to spend it on what they like. When they spend all their money they have to go get a job and earn more before they can do any other activities.   They sell food and drink for adults at either Burger King or Domino’s Pizza.  Both restaurants have small sitting areas.

In summary, I can see the potential of the place but for the amount we have to pay  and the fact that so many things are not open yet. I do not think we will return for another 6 months to a year in hopes that more shops will be open and all the disorganized and inefficient kinks will be worked out.

Birthday Packages (minimum booking for ALL packages is 15 children):

BACHE or Basic Package:
Fee:  160 Sar/Child and 70 Sar/Adult

Includes:
Free Entry to KidZania (for birthday child + ONE parent of birthday child)
Private Party Room for 45 min with MC and party host
100 KidZos for the birthday child
Wrist band for all invitees
Birthday Cake
Invitation Cards + Zank-U cards
Decorations and accessories

VITA or VIP Package:
Fee:  199 Sar/Child and 70 Sar/Adult

Includes:
Free Entry to KidZania (for birthday child and ONE parent of birthday child)
Private Party Room for ONE hour with MC and party host
Private activity for ONE hour (choice of Fashion Boutique/Stadium/Acting Academy)
Surprise visit by 1 KidZania RightKeeper during the activity
150 KidZos for the birthday child
50 KidZos for all visitors
Birthday child’s name projected on Check-In Counter
Photographer available during the celebration to take photos
ONE CD with photographs for the birthday child
Kids meals
Wrist band for all invitees
Special priority birthday bade for the birthday child
Birthday Cake
Invitation Cards + Zank-U Cards
Decorations Accessories

URBANO or VVIP package:
Fee:  299 Sar/ child and 70Sar/adult

Includes:
Free entry to KidZania (Birthday child + TWO parents of the birthday child)
Private party room for ONE our with MC and party host
Private activity for ONE hour (choice of:  Fashion Boutique/Stadium/Acting Academy)
Surprise visit by 3 KidZania RightKeepers during the activity
200 KidZos for the birthday child + 50 KidZos for all visitors
Birthday child’s name projected on Check-In Counter
Photographer available during the celebration to take photos
ONE CD with photographs for every child
Kids Meals
Wrist band for all invitees
Special priority badge for the birthday child
Birthday cake
Invitation Cards + Zank-U Cards
Decorations and Accessories
Free access to all KidZos charged establishment for the birthday child
One CD with video of cake cutting ceremony
Special KidZania souvenir for all invitees

For any of the above party bookings please contact:
Ramiyah Osama Hamodah
T:  012-655-4115 ext. 228
M:  050-350-5056
Email:  ramiyah.hamouda@kidzania.com.sa

Hours of Operation:
Saturday – Thursday:  10am to 11pm
Friday:  3pm to 11pm
*Hours are subject to change without prior notice.

Fees:
(All children under 8 years old MUST be accompanied by and adult)

Infants (under 2 yrs):  Free
Toddlers (2 yrs to 3 yrs):  80 SAR
*There is a special play area for toddlers where the older kids are not allowed.
Children (4 yrs to 14 yrs):  140 SAR
Adults (18 yrs plus):  95 SAR
Special Needs (kids and adults):  50 SAR
*People with special needs do not have to queue in the lines.

Hours of Operation:
Saturday to Wednesday:  9am-10pm
Thursday:  9am-11pm
Friday:  3pm-11pm

Phone:  +966 (0) 12 655 4115

Web:   http://www.kidzaniajeddah.com/

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4 thoughts on “KIDZANIA- Mall of Arabia

  1. I have faced the same situation like u , but I let my daughter to go in with her nanny and got surprised that they let nanny take my daughter out after two hours without talking to me , that was very furious what if nanny kidnapped my child , and my child liked to stay more but if u go out u can not come back so they let more people to enter .

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  2. I was so disappointed that I wrote an email, they ignored so I forwarded my email to the master franchise who also ignored here is what I had to say in the email:

    To: info@kidzania.com.sa
    Subject: Recent Visit to Kidzania Mall of Arabia
    Date: Thu, 10 Mar 2016 05:45:25 -0500

    Dear Kidzania Management,
    I wanted to bring some issues to your attention regarding recent visits to Kidzania Jeddah. I arrived with 2 of my sons Tues at 5:45pm and was told they were closing in half and hour and to return the next day, this was bothersome since I had asked about the working hours the day before, anyway we took the boys (ages 9 and 10) last night. I was very disappointed.
    The attitude of the staff at the ticket counter was poor, I attempted to ask several questions to which I received not reasonable response, I was speaking English so I asked my husband to attempt to get some information since he is Saudi, he too was unable to get clear answers from the 3 girls working.
    The boys were given a check and another paper and their security watches and they entered, I was told since they are older we didn’t need to go in with them that staff would guide them.
    This apparently did not happen according to the boys, they did say there was a helpful guy and a helpful Philipino girl, but for the most part staff ignored them. They didn’t enjoy their time. I asked if they want to return again and they said not really.
    They left with 128 Kidzos remaining, yet said there were many “games” that needed real money. Again, I checked the website and assumed everything other than food was included.
    Can this money be used in your shop or is it only for the inside area of Kidzania?
    We waited 28 min for our kids to exit Kidzania, actually my husband had to go upstairs and find them because the girl at the exit said, in Arabic, it seems they cant find your children. The whole experience was just a disappointment.
    I did get them some candy while I was waiting for them to come out, the man attending the shop was helpful and polite. If you’re interested in any additional information, I can be reached on…..

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