Tuesday, 21 June 2016

KidZania Singapore - Kidz Haven

Despite the online uproar at the exorbitant prices of the tickets, we visited KidZania Singapore in the second week of the school holidays.

KidZania opens at 9am. We reached there at 9.30am and the crowd was thin at the queue.

For the initiated, KidZania is a theme park that allows kids to try out different kinds of jobs and earn make-belief money, in the form of kidzos.

However, there are some jobs that require the kids to pay and usually such jobs involve food or pleasures such as KFC, ice-cream making and driving.

I bought the two kiddos' and my ticket online two days before for peace of mind and Coco's was bought over the counter as online tickets had sold out the day before our arrival.

Only entry tickets bought over the counter come in the form of air tickets. Online tickets look nothing out of the ordinary - a piece of paper.

However, the same Maybank discount was given over the counter as with those sold online.
Kids are given 20 kidzos for a start and they are given an ATM card-lookalike with 30 kizos deposited inside. They need to go to the bank to activate their cards and 30 kidzos.

The kids had some ideas what they wanted to attempt but I coerced them to join the Fireman queue. 
Fireman job was the hottest job at KidZania Kuala Lumpur and we didn't stand a chance at it at all over there in 2013. If it's so popular, it must be fun. So I insisted that the kids give it a try.
The queue at the Fire Station was awfully long. It was an estimated wait of 50 minutes so I asked Coco to wait in the queue while the two kids went to the bank to activate their cards. However, it was a bad move. The queue at the bank was ridiculously long and it took them 20 minutes to get it done. By the time we went back to the Fire Station, the kids were asked to re-queue.

When it was finally their turn, they put on their uniform and sat through a short briefing.

After that, the excited kids sat on a Fire Engine to get to the burning destination.

The most exciting part of being a Fireman

By the time they queued for their second job, they had spent about 2 hours queuing and working on the Fireman job.
The Optical Shop had the shortest queue

The kids were getting impatient and a little tired queuing for so long for one pathetic job, they decided to go for the shortest queue.

It turned out that kids come to this shop to get their eyes checked and get their eyesight certified fit for driving.

Baby and her cousin were asked to wait for the other kids to get their eyes checked and certified before they could enter to become an optometry consultant and get their own eyes certified fit for driving as well.

Fiddling with the eye-check machine

On-the-job training

Certified 'fit for driving'!

Over here at the Driving Station, kids need to pay 16 kidzos in total (6 for being a trainee and 10 for driving on the road). They also need to be at least 120cm in height.

Learning about road safety

Finally driving!

The kids were famished after their third job.
Every cafe or restaurant were full of patrons. 
We had to settle for this cafe as it had just enough seats for four of us.

Fish and chips
Herb-grilled chicken that looked too charred for Coco

I asked for a a new dish but it came back similarly charred, and it made the cashier very displeased with my 'demand'.

The portions were miserably tiny. Even the ones who eat like birds had to have side dishes.

This was mine - some ayam nasi dish, a piece of dry chicken breast meat with some curry drizzled rice
Models and actors required but you need to come back for the third or fourth session which was 2 hours later, and please come back at least 50 minutes earlier to wait.

Coco wanted to try couriering. The kids had no objection.
It was a 'short' 30-minute wait.
They were grouped in threes and were tasked to collect parcels from three shops.

The fun part of the job was pushing the trolley, I figure.

Baby and the cousin wanted to be surgeons.
Surgeons they waited to be.

Unfortunately, I could not take a picture of them in the surgical gown as they were directed to the second floor for the task.

According to Baby, they implanted a kidney onto a male body.

Coco sat at the opposite queue to be a baby expert. She handled a baby doll by rubbing powder and baby oil over its body.

Next, they joined the police queue
The cousin found the job silly as they had to do 'stupid actions'.

After the briefing, they were taken out onto the street to patrol.

At the end of the day, the kids went to the bank to check their balances in their ATM cards. They hoped to buy something from the Kidzania's department store which is only accessible to kids. Adults are not allowed. They could have also checked the balance at the ATM machines but for withdrawal, they have to go to the teller.

I asked them to withdraw everything they had as the store only allows kidzo transactions.

It was a very long queue at 7pm, the closing time of Kidzania!

They went in excited but found they had nothing worthy to buy as the cheapest and smallest item cost a good 40 kidzos and they each had just over 70.

I asked them to save up for the next trip and they were happy to do so.
The counter

We will be back!

Baby and Coco had been to KidZania Kuala Lumpur in 2013. While Coco had her fill of fun, Baby was too young then to appreciate the variety of jobs. In fact, she cried when she realised she had less kidzos than her sister. I tried explaining to her that she had paid some kidzos for ice-cream making and sushi-making jobs but it fell on deaf ear.

There are definitely some differences in the jobs offered by both outlets. KidZania KL for example, had Judge as an occupation but I did not see it in the one in Singapore. On the other hand, Singapore's had Museum Curator but KL's had nothing like that.

Queues are comparable but in KL, manual jobs like couriering and window-cleaning had fewer kids going for them while in Singapore, every single job had super long queue.

Something I was displeased about, besides the awful food, were the inadequate information given at the counter and the photography at KidZania Singapore.

The counter staff did not inform that I should get the younger kids' Pazport ($18 per kid) done so that they could chalk up stamps for privileges. One job will entitle you to one stamp.When 30 stamps are accumulated, you get special privileges such as having 2 additional kidzos for each job you do. Each of the kids would have got 6 stamps if they had the Pazport done at the start.

I am also miffed that the photographers in KidZania Singapore are less active and less professional compared to their KL counterparts.

I did not manage to get any surgeon shots of the kids as they were hidden from the public eye. I had expected the photographer to capture them in their surgical gown. Unfortunately, Coco's image was terribly overexposed:

and Baby and her cousin did not get an individual picture at all! Not only that. Baby told me that they had a group photo done but the image that was supposed to be captured and linked to a bracelet the kids were wearing did not appear. 

How disappointing. The kid queued for long time to be a surgeon but there was nothing to show.

Well, sometimes luck counts. But the kids enjoyed themselves anyway.

Some pictures I bought. 6 for $100:

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