Imagine walking into an 80,000-square-foot indoor play area as a kid where you essentially are the adult. You could have a job as a pilot, attend university, work as a banker, perform surgeries or even enter a spy academy to become a top secret agent. For kids under the age of 12, these are pretend roles until they reach adulthood, of course. However, these roles they play pretend today could very well end up inspiring your kiddos to pursue their dreams in the future.
KidZania, an indoor play area of mega proportions, is doing just that. Born in Mexico circa 1999, the facility was created to fulfill a need to have a playscape for kids, offering them real-world experience through pretend play. With 27 current locations around the world, KidZania at Stonebriar Centre in Frisco will become the first of its kind in the US. (There are several other US cities KidZania will call home soon).
The Frisco location will have 55 different experiences for kids to get their hands in; think of these as stations of realistic imaginative play. KidZania is set up as a mini city, where kids can become pilots, firefighters and actors. As soon as you walk in, you will see a large airplane that they can pretend to fly and land. As you walk throughout the space, you’ll come across a university where kids can go to school, as well as a theater, fire station and hospital––just to name a few. Kids will also be able to earn kidZos, or play money, as they work in their respective jobs. The goal here is to teach kids early on how money flow works in the real world.
And parents, the creators behind KidZania haven’t forgotten about you either. The space will be equipped with an upstairs parents lounge, corporate space and rooms for birthday parties. Plus, the Stonebriar Centre location will have its own parking garage, so you don’t need to worry about going through the bustle of mall traffic. Much more than another indoor play space for kids, KidZania aims to prepare kids for the world and enhance what they’re learning in school.
“I think it will help them understand social awareness [and] real-life lessons: How do people work together and collaborate together as opposed to just kind of the normal, every day play or schooling activities?” says KidZania USA CEO Greg Stevens. “It’s going to elevate them to a better awareness of things around them.”
Stevens says he believes KidZania is also helping open kids’ eyes to endless possibilities, especially for kids who are disadvantaged and come from lower-income households.
“As we’ve tracked over the 20 years of our history how some of these children have grown up, they point back to [responses such as] ‘My eyes were opened, and I was made aware that these things were available to me, and I can pursue these things.’”
KidZania is set to open at Stonebriar Centre in Frisco this November. The space is designed for kids ages 1–14 and will include a toddler area as well.