January 20, 2015

January 20, 2015

Come to KidZania

Whether you read the original article in The New Yorker, heard the reference to said article on this week’s Wait Wait...Don’t Tell Me!, or both*, you may have recently learned about KidZania. If not? Quoth Wikipedia:

Every KidZania is themed as a child-sized replica of a real city, including buildings, shops and theaters, as well as vehicles and pedestrians moving along its streets. In this city, children aged 4 through 12, work in branded activities…. The children earn kidZos (KidZania's currency) while performing the tasks, and the money is kept in the KidZania bank for children to spend at the gift shop and on KidZania activities.

In short, this is an amusement park wherein the amusement is living a miniature, simplified version of adulthood.

WHY DID THIS NOT EXIST WHEN I WAS A KID?

I mean, wasn’t pretending to be an adult one of your favorite childhood activities? You played school, or restaurant, or firefighter, or doctor.** You wanted the cachet of having a job, and getting money, and spending it on stuff. You yearned for the day when you would have a car, and your wallet would have more than a library card in it. Heck, you would have been happy just to have a wallet.

For kids today, that dream is a reality. They can be airplane pilots:


Or dentists:


(Note that boring-but-necessary jobs like this pay more than the sexier ones do.)

Firefighters:


Or bakers:


They drive cars and get gas:


Shop in kid-sized stores:


And go through customs:


In case you’re one of those parental types worried about kids being exposed to actual blood, fire, etc., rest assured that all of the activities are simulated and kid-friendly. For example: the kids think they’re baking, but KidZania employees swap in pre-baked goods for the raw dough deposited by kids into the ovens.

I find myself utterly overwhelmed by the brilliance of this concept, and hopeful it will soon come to the U.S. (KidZania originated in Mexico and is currently concentrated in Asia and the Middle East. Parents with money and a strong mall culture are key elements of the business model.)

There is probably an age limit, so I just have to figure out how to look 12 or whatever.

* If it’s both, we should absolutely be friends.
** I myself personally played office using a rolltop desk and rotary phone long-abandoned by my parents. I manned the front desk of Corporal Corporates, Incorporated and I nailed it. Some dreamed of becoming astronauts; I dreamed of becoming an administrative assistant.

0 Fish in a Sea of Diet Coke: