Kidzania coming to Dubai

The Dubai Mall, slated to open in late 2006 as the world's largest shopping mall with 9 million square feet and 1,000 shops, has signed an agreement for a $20-million, 80,000-square-foot Kidzania children's edutainment center.

Signing Ceremony for Kidzania and The Dubai Mall

Caption: (From left to right)
Mohamed Ali Alabbar, Chairman of Emaar Properties;
Ibrahim Al Hashemi, Emaar's Executive Director of Retail;
and Xavier Lopez, Kidzania's CEO and Chairman

The first Kidzania, previously branded as La Ciudad de los Niños, opened in Santa Fe Shopping Mall in Mexico City in 1999. A second unit, called Wannado, opened in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, in 2003. The Dubai Mall Kidzania is scheduled to open in September 2007.

Kidzania targets children ages 4 to 15. It is a kid-sized replica of a real city, with streets, buildings, retail and vehicles moving around the city - all scaled down to children's size. It involves role-playing, and the children are encouraged to take on a variety of parts, from doctor and firefighter to banker and policeman. Kids wear the uniform and perform the role they are playing, which helps them learn the complexity of the adult world.

They make choices in realistic scenarios that could vary from a street scene to a shop or factory. Kids use kidzos, the official currency of Kidzania, with which they earn a salary and are able to buy goods and services. Thus, they learn the value of money, just as in real life.

The scenarios effectively enable them to learn what the roles involve and increase their knowledge not only of the professions, but of how to adapt to different circumstances.

Ibrahim Al Hashemi, Executive Director for Retail for Emaar Properties, the mall's developer, said, "When Kidzania first approached us, we could not have imagined a better match. It fits perfectly with our plans for offering innovative activities to round out the retail experience."

  • To see photos of Kidzania (La Ciudad de los Niños) in Mexico City, click here
  • To see photos of Wannado in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, click here