Written by Robert “Bob” Reyes
It was August 2015 when KidZania Manila officially opened its doors to kids and kids-at-heart in Bonifacio Global City (BGC). More than a theme park, this 8,000 sq.m. play place was designed by educators and child development specialists to mold the kids of this generation.
KidZania Manila is a unique play place as it operates more like a city. You enter the building in an airport check-in counter atmosphere, complete with boarding passes. As you roam around the facility, kids get a job (like in real life) at KidZania and earn kidZos (their official currency). They can use the kidZos that they earned while doing the tasks in different stations to enroll and earn a degree at the university (in KidZania), train to become an athlete, or even have a pampering session at a beauty salon – all under one play place roof.
More than roleplaying, kids can try any job at KidZania to their liking. One can be a courier messenger, a TV news anchor, a newspaper writer, a fireman, medical personnel, a pizza master, a gasoline station attendant, a flight attendant, or even as a commercial airline pilot – complete with their respective uniforms and tools.
As a parent, I think I enjoyed being at KidZania more than my kids. As an AvGeek, it was beauty in my eyes to see an actual full-size aircraft fuselage protruding the building’s façade.
After five years of being the go-to play place in the metropolis, Play Innovations, Inc. – the operators of KidZania Manila – officially announced its closure. Based on a statement released to members of the press today, KidZania Manila will cease operations effective 31 August 2020 citing restrictions brought about by the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, and existing community quarantine in the Philippines. As of present, everyone aged below 18 years old are not permitted to go out of residence based on existing community quarantine guidelines. KidZania Singapore announced in June that they are no longer opening their doors even if the Singaporean government eases the restrictions on home quarantine.
On behalf of the Filipino kids and kids-at-heart of my generation, ZanK-U, Kidzania Manila! You will be missed.