Attention kids of Frisco! Something big is coming to your hometown next year, and you cannot miss it! Actually, it is something scaled perfectly to your size … but it is still huge, nonetheless!
In 2019, KidZania is coming to the U.S., and it is making part of its stateside premier in our very own Frisco! This facility, opening at Stonebriar Centre, is one of the three locations that will be opening in the U.S., along with one in the New York metro area and one in the Chicago metro area. 2019 will play host to this exciting grand opening, and every child, and their parents, should be excited. “Frisco is one of the most important emerging markets in the U.S. and a thriving community. There are many families and the schools are among the best in the country. Being within the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area, it made sense for us to have the first U.S. location here. The leaders and community of Frisco continue to provide us with tremendous support,” says Greg Stevens, the CEO of KidZania USA.
What is KidZania? It is a revolutionary educational and entertainment experience for children who want to explore what it is like to be a grown-up. KidZania now has 25 open facilities spread across 19 countries and five continents. The facilities are scale-to-size, interactive indoor cities, comprising thousands of square feet and utilizing state-of-the-art technology for a most realistic experience. Mr. Stevens says, “At KidZania, all content and activities are developed by educators, child psychologists and play experts, and aligned with state and local school curriculum. This is why schools choose KidZania as their preferred destination for school field trips. Through role-play, children learn about different trades and careers, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, teamwork, sustainability and much more.”
KidZania originated in Mexico City in 1999 by entrepreneur Xavier Lopez. The idea first came after visiting a nursery in Raleigh, N.C., where kids were entertained by playing in a wooden supermarket, bank and hospital. Mr. Lopez took the idea of role-play to its maximum expression by building an entire city just for kids.
In this kid city, they have their own language, history and set of rules. There is a city plaza which holds the bank and other official establishments, an airport, merchant shops and restaurants. They even have their own unique currency, kidZos, and their own economy. There are more than 100 different careers for visitors to try, and each career pays a specific amount of kidZos to the child who completes the job. When children earn their kidzos, they decide how and when they want to spend them, so they could spend them all on fun things from the toy store or they could head over to the bank and open a savings account, buy other goods or give charitably. With kidZos and a functioning economic cycle, children learn the importance of fiscal responsibility and money management. They are exposed to the process of earning money and making a permanent decision on how to spend it. They are able to see the direct rewards and consequences of their choices.
Kids have the chance to try as many careers as they want … or at least as many as they can fit in before it is time to head back home. Say your kid is interested in the healthcare realm — they could be a doctor, or a surgeon, or they could be a paramedic and drive the ambulance around the streets of KidZania. Say your child has a more active creative side — they can explore the world of acting and put on a performance on stage with other child actors or they can join a band and record a hit song in the studio! They could work to report the news of the day in KidZania and be an anchor, a reporter out on the streets, a camera operator, a teleprompter operator … the list goes on. Any job that exists in the real world, could and probably does exist in KidZania.
This wide selection of careers ensures every child has a special role in KidZania, and that no one is left out. But, of course, some jobs may be more popular than others, and you want your child to be able to experience the jobs they want to try out the most, so there are limits and prerequisites in place to ensure fair play. For each job, there is a minimum age requirement, which changes depending on the job and the skills it demands. There are also time windows during which each job is worked and completed, depending on the processes involved and how long those take.
Not only do these parameters ensure fair play, they also allow for children to make new friends while they explore the world they have stepped into. There is not just one musician, there are eight at a time, trying to make a band or write and record a song. There is not just one cook making pizza in the restaurant, there are eight cooks, all learning how to do a job they have never done before, and bonding while they reach their goals. The kid city and its systems promote inspiration, learning and a sense of community among the kids when they step through the doors.
KidZania is open to children of all ages up to 14, and is fully-accessible to children of all abilities. Of course, the most important part of having a facility like this is making sure every child is safe. All staff at KidZania undergo thorough background checks and are specially-trained with child safety, psychology and health in mind. When they enter, each child is fitted with a GPS bracelet, connected to a private internal network, which makes sure no one gets lost while they are out exploring. The “Zupervisors” in charge of upholding security are in place within the facility to make sure every child is following the rules and safety guidelines, so everyone has the best day they possibly can when they come to see the kid city. Mr. Stevens says, “Safety is of utmost importance for us at KidZania. Every visitor must obtain a RFID security bracelet upon entering the park. Children’s bracelets are then linked with the adult they arrived with. No child can leave the facility unless the adult that arrived with the child or dropped the child off has a matching security bracelet. There are no blind spots throughout KidZania. Every single corner of the city is secured by a recording surveillance camera. For parents’ peace of mind, there will be an app and information kiosks outside and throughout the park, which will allow them to see where their children are at all times.”
Whether your child wants to go to KidZania for one afternoon or for many in a row, whether they want to explore by themselves, with friends, or even host a birthday party in the unique city, KidZania is the perfect place to take kids for a wholesome, inspiring, unique and educational day of fun. The facility is great for children, families, school field trips and special celebrations and events. Keep your eyes open for the grand opening of the Frisco KidZania facility, coming in 2019!