Kids rule the world in, KidZania!

by Carrie Lindsey

Frisco brand logo.
Kids rule the world in KidZania, picture of a cartoon dag with a star headband on.
Kids rule the world in KidZania, picture of a cartoon dag with a star headband on.

When I told my kids we were going to visit KidZania in Frisco, it was all they talked about for an entire week. Seriously, the entire week—I bet half of KidZania’s website traffic came from my house that week. We’ve been bringing our kids (ages 11 and eight) to Frisco for years now. There are so many family-friendly activities in the area that it’s always been a go-to destination for my family. But Frisco’s newest attraction, a working city designed just for kids and conveniently located at Stonebriar Centre, is different than anything we’ve done before. It really is something else!

While this is the first KidZania to open in the US, KidZania is already a popular destination around the world with 27 locations worldwide, including Kuwait, London, and Jakarta, to name just a few! Frisco is the first American city to get a KidZania, an awesome addition that is attracting visitors from around the country.

ready for takeoff

Upon arrival, grown-ups buy tickets, and kids are greeted in the arrivals “terminal.” The nose of a giant airplane fills the terminal, and the whole area is designed to look like an airport (when you exit, you leave through the departures terminal). Kids four years old and older receive 50 “kidZos,” which is KidZania currency. They can use this currency to buy experiences, like climbing a building or pilot training lessons, or to purchase real items in the general store.

But what’s really fun is that kids can also earn kidZos, all on their own! The entire city is full of businesses where the kids can work in exchange for a salary. Most businesses offer between six and eight kidZos per job, which vary in difficulty and time required to complete them—much like real life. Kids who like to save—I wound up with one saver and one spender—can even take their leftover kidZos to the bank and open a bank account. Next time they visit KidZania, their money will be waiting in their bank account!

As soon as you walk in, you’re immersed in a fully functioning city designed just for kids. The entire facility is big, pretty, and clean. It’s made to look just like a real city, with a paved road (and vehicles that occasionally drive around town), buildings, restaurants, and shops. There is a definite “wow factor” when you walk into KidZania. My kids were instantly transported to somewhere magical in their imaginations when they stepped into the city. After a quick stroll through the streets to check it all out, it didn’t take long before they were begging to run off and get their first job. To my surprise, they decided to wash windows, which struck me as hilarious—what is top-notch fun at KidZania is a dreaded chore at home!

It's off to work we go

There’s no shortage of variety in KidZania. The jobs include fighting fires (and riding on a fire engine to go put out a fire!), acting in a play, hairdressing, veterinary services, and delivering packages. These roles are for kids only. While each job is supervised by an adult KidZania employee, parents must stay outside of the actual buildings. Don’t worry, though—you can watch through the windows and still get that perfect picture! Once the job is complete, the kids are paid for their work and can move on to another activity of their choosing.

KidZania has activities for toddlers to preteens (there is an entire section dedicated to toddlers), but the sweet spot is really the six- to 10-year-old crowd. My daughter, Claire, is eight years old. She really didn’t need any help or supervision from us, and she was able to do everything on her own. My oldest, Jack, is eleven. He is obsessed with airplanes and spent all of his time in the Aviation Academy. They even knew him by name at the end of the day. The flight simulator experience was pretty amazing, and if you have an airplane-crazy kid, this is a must-do.

the nitty gritty on the city

I read that kids could expect to have four to six experiences when they visit, and I assume that means both jobs and things like the rope course or flight school. But even though we were there on a school holiday and the crowds that come with it, my kids did quite a few more activities than that. In fact, we were always moving and only sat down for lunch.

Lunch was the only activity that didn’t accept kidZos, and I was happy to see that there were several dining options. Pie Five and Mooyah were open when we were there, and there was also a taco shop. Lines can be long, so plan your meal around the slower times to avoid the wait. Or, take a tip out of our book, and let the kids run and around and play while you wait in line! There aren’t many places that you can safely do that, but at KidZania, security is top-priority. There is an adult monitoring every experience, and they limit the number of kids that can be doing an activity at one time so it doesn’t get too crazy. Also, everyone gets a RFID wristband with a GPS upon arrival. When your family departs for the day, all wristbands are scanned to make sure everyone who is leaving together, belongs together.

My kids are at perfect ages for this kind of experience. Parents with older kids will be happy to know that there is a (quiet) Parents’ Lounge upstairs. While my husband and I originally planned on relaxing in the lounge for a portion of our day, we ended up spending most of the day following the kids throughout the city because it was so fun to watch them!

The cost varies depending on the age of the child. Kids three and under are free. Kids four to five are $14.95. Kids six to 14 are $39.95, and everyone older than 15 is $14.95. So that works out to a little over a hundred dollars, plus food, for an entire day for my family of four—reasonable and worth every penny! There is also a party room upstairs if you want to host a birthday party at KidZania.

We spent about five hours at KidZania, and this was an ideal amount of time. There is just so much to do! My youngest fell asleep in the car on the way home (she never does that), and both kids passed out early that night. They were exhausted, and we hadn’t even done everything there was to do!

when I grow up

A cartoon character throwing confetti.

I asked both kids what their thoughts were about KidZania once we got home. Jack still hasn’t stopped talking about the Aviation Academy, which was definitely the highlight for him. Claire loved getting to climb the buildings and spend her money in the store—and she extra loved it because I wasn’t in there with her, telling her what she could or couldn’t buy.  However, I do think parents are allowed in the store with their kids, and that’s probably a wise idea if you don’t want all of their earnings going towards candy.  My husband and I loved that the kids were engaged and busy the entire time we were there. It was so fun to watch them play, explore, and enjoy their freedom in this immersive little city!

KidZania is an incredible addition to Frisco’s lineup of family-friendly activities and attractions. We’ll be back, and I’m also putting this on my list of activities to do with my out-of-town guests. Now that we’ve been, my kids are no longer talking about how excited they are to go— now they’re talking about how badly they want to go back. KidZania Aviation Academy, that’ll be two more pilots requesting takeoff—to adulthood and beyond!

Let your kids rule in KidZania
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