We spent two weeks in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon), Vietnam for Christmas and New Year’s. It is a very busy city, and with the heat we weren’t sure what to do to keep our kids entertained. When we learned about KizCity, we decided it was worth a try!
Basically, this kid’s event place is a mini kid’s city modeled after “the real world.” Here children can participate in and learn about different professions at different “businesses.” The kids have the opportunity to “earn” KizCity money in certain businesses, whereas they have to “spend” the money to participate in the activities in other rooms.
The mini city operates on two different shifts. The first shift is from 8am until 3:30pm, and the second shift is from 4pm to 9:30pm. Entrance for our 2 children cost 340,000 Vietnamese Dong, which is just over $8 total. Not wanting to deal with the mid-day heat, we chose the evening session.
Upon entering the facility, the kids were given a fancy wristband which was scanned in each of the rooms (“businesses”) upon entrance. This bracelet told the employee in the room their names, and kept a record of where they had been. The different businesses included a photography studio, beauty shop, fire department, magic shop, newspaper, fashion studio, bakery, auto shop, etc (about 2 dozen in total). The kids were also given a folded booklet that had squares for each of the businesses, which were stamped upon completion of each room’s activities.
The rooms each had activity sessions of varying time periods, and they conveniently posted when their next session would began, and how much money would be earned or required for that room. Parents had to wait outside while kids completed the activities with the staff in each room, but fortunately the walls were made of windows, so parents could watch and take photos from outside.
We started with the airline—mini plane and all!
The girls entered the “airline” and sat down for a short training video about how to be a stewardess and pilot (in Vietnamese—but most of the staff spoke at least broken English and helped them out throughout the day). They then donned the correct apparel and went upstairs into the mini-plane where the parents could observe them from a screen below.
After that, they went to the bakery where they washed their hands and participated in making some rolls. Fortunately, previous groups had already made some rolls, and when they were done they got to snack on some freshly-baked goodies from an earlier group.
They were loving the money-earning power, and collecting their KizCiti bills. One of the room highlights was the Fire Department, where the kids went upstairs, the siren went off, and they got to slide down and put on their fire fighting apparel.
They were then ushered on the mini fire truck that ran its siren and whisked them (slowly) through the KizCity village to a “real” fire.
Here, the kids sprayed a painted, smoking building to put out the fire!
How cool is that?!
Other activity highlights included the beauty parlor, where they were able to put lotion and a little bit of makeup on another child.
Then they switched places and had it done to them.
The childcare room was also a big hit. They got to bathe a doll, and learn how to put on a diaper.
Some rooms required them to spend their hard-earned money. For example, this ice cream shop was really just a chance for them to take a break and make their own sundaes!
While the kids were in the cool air-conditioned rooms, parents had to wait in the sweltering Vietnamese heat. While there, we peaked in the various rooms, and tried to plan which choices our kids would have for their next activity (because each room had a different timetable…so not all activities ended at the same time).
Our kids didn’t have the chance to do the Medical Care activity, but it was fun to see the kids come out of medical training and pick up a dummy on a stretcher, etc.
The kids also went to a magic shop and participated in a short magic show. Fortunately, this is the one room that let Ethan wander in and sit with the girls (only ages 3+ can participate in the room activities).
Another “paid” activity (with their earned KizCity bills) was miniature golfing. We had not planned on staying at KizCity until the end of the session (9:30pm), so we didn’t have time for everything. We rushed through half the course in 10 minutes.
All in all, we were probably there for 3 hours, and we weren’t even able to do half of the activities possible. It is certainly a place where you could spend a lot of time, and your kids would be smiling from ear to ear! It is not advertised as being a bilingual place, but our kids managed fine and didn’t complain about the broken English or lack of translations for everything.
KizCity is well-built, well-structured, and well-maintained. I think the only big improvement they could make is adding an air-conditioned space for the parents to sit, where they could still observe the kids (there was a restaurant, but it was set apart from the city, so you couldn’t sit in the A/C and watch/manage the kids coming and going from rooms).
If you’re spending any time in Ho Chi Minh City with young children, I can’t recommend this place enough!