I'm a freelance writer living in Perth. Having 2 young kids with endless energy, we are always on the lookout for new outdoor activities.
Published February 7th 2013
Where kids learn from fun role-playing games
Kidzania Jakarta is an indoor children's recreation centre in the form of a miniature city with kid-size replica of a city's facilities such as buses, taxis, shops, petrol station, police station, fire station and a bank.
Kidzania's petrol station
The main activity for kids here is to perform role playing games at each venue and hopefully learn something about the day-to-day running of a city. For example, at the fire station, kids role play to be fire fighters.
'Fire fighters' receive some briefings...
... ride on a fire engine...
...and hose down a building on fire (real water, but of course not real fire).
The activities at some venues will earn them "money" (called kidzos) and if they wish, they can store their salaries in the bank. They'll be issued with an ATM card to withdraw the kidzos from ATMs installed around the city. They can spend kidzos on certain things like riding a taxi, getting their driver license (which is a prerequisite for certain roles, e.g. as a race car driver) or purchasing items from the shops.
Driver license is required to be a race car driver
No outside food is allowed into Kidzania but some role playing (such as working at the bread house or pizza shop) will earn you real food that you can eat.
Kidzania is a Mexican chain of family entertaining centres that started in 1999 and currently operate in 11 locations across the world. Kidzania Jakarta is their fourth location (after La Ciudad De Los Ninos, Monterrey, and Tokyo) and it was opened in November 2007.
Entry ticket prices range between Rp 50.000 to Rp 130.000 (roughly AUD 5 to 13) per person depending on age, and they are about doubled during the school holidays. Indonesian school holidays are mostly from mid June - mid July, between Christmas and New Year, and about one week around Idul Fitri. You can view their website for full information on ticket prices.
Kidzania sell tickets by sessions, and you have to leave at the end of a session no matter how late you arrive. Week days have longer sessions (9am-4pm) but can be busy because of school excursion groups. Weekends have shorter morning (9am-2pm) and afternoon (3-8pm) sessions. Be ready to queue at popular games, with some ambitious parents trying to push their kids to try out as many roles as possible. Overall I'd rather come on a week day if I can manage it.
If you're thinking of dropping your kids there and doing your shopping in leisure, think again. Children less than eight years old must be accompanied by an adult and from my observation, even ten year old kids would benefit from an accompanying adult to optimize their experience there. Other than discussing what the role play is all about, an adult could also direct kids on where to go next (e.g. try out the race car after getting your driver license) instead of just wandering aimlessly in the city. Adults pay less to enter as they can't play any of the games. In fact, some venues don't even allow parents in and they must wait and watch from outside.
One thing I don't really like about this place is the advertisements. Most of the venues are sponsored by real companies, for example the cars are sponsored by Honda, the airport by AirAsia, the bank by Bank Central Asia (BCA), and so on. Therefore all the cars in the city are Honda, all the staff wear AirAsia uniforms, all the ATMs and ATM cards are BCA... you get the gist. Considering that the target audience are children, I won't be surprised if the kids come out of there and subconsciously in their mind, bread is "Sari Roti," tea is "Teh Sosro," taxis are "Blue Bird." So perhaps a side discussion with your kids after the visit about different options of products could counteract this effect.
My verdict about this location: Great for kids between 5 to 12 years old. Young children won't benefit as much as there's a height limitation for some games and pre-schoolers won't fully understand what's going on anyway. Although advertised for kids up to 16 years old, I think most of the games would be too childish for high school kids.
My final warning: It could be exhausting for accompanying adults, too. So come prepared with extra energy or better yet, convince your partner to do it with the kids while you get to do that leisurely shopping you planned before.