By Nickky Faustine P. de Guzman, Reporter

KidZania Manila, a playland for kids four to 14 where they get to try out different professions, celebrates its first anniversary with a bang and more treats to come.

Role-playing kid’s playground plans expansion as it marks its 1st year

“It’s like a roller coaster ride: scary and challenging, but more than anything else, we are thankful because we were received so well. We did not expect the kind of crowd. Medyo nabigla kami (we were overwhelmed at first) but we are so happy because the kids love it,” said Maricel Pangilinan-Arenas, president of Play Innovations, during KidZania’s first anniversary celebration on Aug. 5.

Play Innovations, Inc. is the local franchise holder of the Mexico-based KidZania, which has 24 locations in 19 countries including the Philippines, South Korea, Japan, Kuwait, Egypt, and Portugal.

Ms. Pangilinan-Arenas said in its first five months KidZania welcomed over 200,000 enthusiastic children, “which has outdone other KidZania in other countries.”

In a day, she said the center welcomes about 1,000 children and the number usually increases during the weekends.

Role-playing kid’s playground plans expansion as it marks its 1st year

Currently, KidZania Manila has 65 “establishments” where the children can try out different jobs including experiences in restaurants, entertainment centers, financial services, retail shops, and sports centers. The most favored establishments are the aviation section, the fire station, the TV studio, the theater, and the burger shops.

In the next months, the 8,000-square meter playground is set to open three new sections: the Disaster Preparedness Center, a Marine Research Lab, and Clean Energy stations with a windmill, hydro pump, and natural gas.

“We want to push kids [to believe] that they can do big things. Whatever they do make a difference… I think, at the end of the day, they want to feel that what they are doing matters,” Ms. Pangilinan-Arenas added.

And, it seems that the center for children is also testing the waters with the kids at heart: it will have a “Big Kids Night” in September where adults can play out their childhood dreams for a day.

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