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Friday, June 18, 2021

KidZania to open first Qatar branch near Villaggio mall in early 2017

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role play as paramedics
Role play as paramedics

In what is slated to be Qatar’s third children’s “mini-city” role-play center, Mexican entertainment chain KidZania is planning to open a Doha branch by early 2017, organizers have said.

The indoor theme park will be located behind Hyatt Plaza mall. It will sit on a 6,500 square meter site that is currently a dirt parking lot adjacent to Aspire Park. There will also be a pedestrian link to Villaggio Mall, officials said.

Kidzania is being brought to Doha under a joint venture between Aspire Zone Foundation and Sharaka Holdings named Qatar Entertainment Tasali.

location by Hyatt Plaza
Location by Hyatt Plaza

Qatar will be the fourth KidZania branch in the Gulf and will operate similarly to existing play centers in Dubai, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

How it works

The center is designed like a small-scale city, allowing children ages four  to 14 years old to pretend working one of some 100 jobs, including as a fireman, scientist, pilot, news anchor or chef. The kids can earn money in the city’s own currency, the KidZo, and spend it on stores inside the city.

role play as fire fighters
Role play as firefighters

Businesses within the city are sponsored and branded by real companies. At a signing ceremony today, QNB became the first partner for KidZania Doha.

Children will be able to both work and act as customers in a miniature branch of the bank.

“In a fun, role-playing environment, the KidZania experience teaches kids values that cannot easily be imbibed in traditional classrooms,” Tasali Chairman Sheikh Nasser bin Abdulrahman Al Thani Sheikh Abdulla bin Ahmed Al Thani, said in a statement.

Work is expected to start on the site in November, Jim Levesque, project lead for Tasali, told Doha News. It will include building a covered walkway that links KidZania to Villaggio, either underground or as a bridge over the existing road, he added.

Rival role-play centers

This is the third “edutainment” children’s role-play center that is expected to open in Qatar in the coming years.

KidzMondo at Mall of Qatar
KidzMondo at Mall of Qatar

Mall of Qatar in Al Rayyan to the west of Doha will feature a $25 million (QR91 million) KidzMondo center on a slightly bigger, 8,000 square meter site, which is set to open early next year.

Aimed at children ages two to 14 years old, the facility is designed to resemble a town with more than 70 scaled-down businesses in a two-story complex.

The center is expected to include a central plaza, fire station, clock tower, police station and hospital theater.

Meanwhile, space-themed imaginative play center Juniverse, aimed at kids ages five to 15 years old, is expected to be one of the entertainment options at Doha Festival City, when it opens to the north of Doha next fall.

Juniverse
Juniverse

The QR6.5 billion ($1.8 billion) mall, which announced its Juniverse plans in April, also plans to build an Angry Birds theme park, an interactive digital theme park named Virtuosity, a snow park and a water park.

As several mega-malls prepare to open in the coming years – bringing with them 1 million square meters of additional retail space – shopping center operators in Qatar have sought out ways to differentiate themselves to customers.

Diversifying and upgrading family entertainment options, especially in a market that’s expected to have an oversupply of retail space in the coming years, has been one strategy.

Thoughts?

This article was updated on June 10 to reflect the correct name of the Tasali Chairman, which was mis-stated in a media advisory.

23 COMMENTS

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:)
🙂
6 years ago

I guess that article weeks ago turned out to be a traffic generator for the website, so here we go again.

:)
🙂
6 years ago
Reply to  🙂

Only this time it’s boosted by the keyword “Villaggio”.

#
#
6 years ago
Reply to  🙂

#CommentLikeAnExpatInQatar

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
6 years ago
Reply to  🙂

Deleting for irrelevance.

Student
Student
6 years ago

You really couldn’t make this up. Oh the irony.

Whatever
Whatever
6 years ago

Besides all the obvious fun with this on a practical point where is everyone going to park now? The small additional lot shown wont even come close to providing what is needed to serve as overflow for Villagio/Hyatt Plaza and Aspire Park and the new KidZania users. Another big reason to avoid Villagio in the future.

Rane de Beer
Rane de Beer
6 years ago
Reply to  Whatever

Didn’t you see the 20 buses lined up on the left of the mall – public transport will take care of it. not

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  Rane de Beer

#CommentLikeAnExpatInQatar

Rane de Beer
Rane de Beer
6 years ago

Come in, my little ones, and forget about that cruel world outside which cost nothing, but requires imagination! Come, let us teach you how to work-work-work and spend-spend-spend! Surely you all dream of becoming branded and sponsored (pun intended) big children one day. But to be sure, we’ve added a pedestrian crossing to the adult consumerism hell-hole Villaggio. No bridge or tunnel – trust our drivers to cull the most idiotic of the lot. The rest can become firefighters in preparation of the next big one.

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  Rane de Beer

Be glad you have been hired for whatever it is you do, as writing is clearly not your “thing”…

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

Loool!

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  Rane de Beer

Better not touch the keyboard when you are not sober.

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Deleting for attack.

KJD
KJD
6 years ago

Despite the cynicism of the masses there are positives to this — children need opportunities to engage in role play situations. Role play helps children build creativity skills, learn how to cooperate with others, and explore how the world works. It’s also a great opportunity for children to develop language skills.

With the excessive heat that often means that parents are forced to seek out indoor opportunities for their children to play this is a nice alternative to some of the indoor play centers that are currently available.

The added aspect of children earning tokens can help to instill the value of working for the things you want, additionally it is a lesson on how the economy works and can build mathematical skills.

brorick
brorick
6 years ago

judging by the comments on here, Qatar can literally not do anything to make people happy. This idea is amazing and is great in getting kids to imagine and role play…I understand Qatar isnt perfect but when it does something good everyone still criticizes.

Rane de Beer
Rane de Beer
6 years ago
Reply to  brorick

This has nothing to do with Qatar. It’s about another money-making sterile environment that you find all over the world. And the same criticisms apply to them as well.

brorick
brorick
6 years ago
Reply to  Rane de Beer

What do you mean by “money-making sterile environment ”
but if it applies for all of them how come the idea is praised all over the world, and the Kidzania in dubai is always near capacity. If it wasnt good people wouldnt go back over and over again.

Paul
Paul
6 years ago
Reply to  brorick

Because they #CommentLikeAnExpatInQatar

anonymous
anonymous
6 years ago

Virtuocity*

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
6 years ago

and possibly apart from being close to 2 big shopping centers as a consequence traffic jams will increase, they should also think for the smallest parking ever…just to be consistent with this trend!
I have nothing against Kidzania, great it comes to Qatar! But it will be another traffic nightmare

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago

KIdzania can be studied by the Qatar government on how to actually administer and run a country. It will be great for the glory of Qatar when the government departments actually learn from the kids.

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