Mumbai for kids: Children's entry into the real world
Kidzania Ghatkopar (W)
The fact that a public holiday is all you need to line up by the hundreds to get into a mall is unbelievable to a un-mall person like me. But it is true. And there we were lined up outside R City Mall to get inside the place my kids have been dying to go to: Kidzania.
And after lining up outside a very believable airline counter we are tagged, instructed, and sent in. A small universe has been created, with a dark, fake sky and the kids have five hours to try out different career options. Ammol, my son, has been dying to get his driving license and that is where we head for first. Vani goes for something easier, while she gets her bearings: a pizza place. When you enter Kidzania you get Kiddie money to spend.
There are places where you pay to earn experience and there are places that pay you to work there. Whatever it is, the child is responsible for his/her money and learns monetary transactions. I’m alone with two kids, both who want to do different things, both who have different waiting periods for different activities. And, I’m beginning to get flustered. In the twilight light that has been chosen for the ‘city’ I’m worrying about safety.
A panoramic view of the space;
I find no Kidzania staff to guide me. The constant siren of the ambulance and the ringing bells of the fire engine are getting to me. When I find the staff to complain about the lack of assistance I am showed how the tag on my wrist can be swiped at different posts and will then tell me the position of the group that came together. “You are safe,” he says, pointing to dots on the screen. “This is where your daughter is and this is where your son is.” Why weren’t we told this at the beginning?
Kids can play the role of a doctor (above) as well as a potter (below)
Ammol tries a hand at radio jockeying, football coaching, police detecting. He has been rejected (ahem) for the driving license. Vani, after baking her pizza has moved on to make her own pack of Chocos, worked with a dentist, done pottery, worked as a beautician and worked at a jeweller’s.
The kids get to play various parts such as of the firemen steering the fire engine
Both have joined a Bollywood studio and performed on stage too. While I sit back and collect them after each activity I watch with amazement, parents assisting children in their chosen chore: dabbawallas dropping dabbas and courier personnel.
At the end of the day, I leave with relief. The kids, needless to say, loved the place.
Where: Kidzania, R City Mall, Ghatkopar (W).
Getting there : Central railway, main line will take you to Ghatkopar station where you can hire an auto to R City Mall. From the western suburb or from South Mumbai you can take a number of buses to Ghaktopar. R City Mall is the landmark.
Timings: 11 am to 8 pm
Charges: Public holiday and weekend rates for kids is Rs 950 per head. Weekday rates for adults are Rs 500 on weekdays, and Rs 700 on weekends.
Food & water: Yes
Restroom facilities: Yes
What’s good: Children learn to transact money. The need to earn and save and make more money is something that gets instilled.
What’s not good: Not many staffers visible to take you through the working of the place. You have to sort it out yourself.
Where else to go Kidzania will take a whole day. If you still have spare time, there are a number of activities that can be done at
R City Mall.