First launched in Mexico City by Xavier Lopez Ancona, KidZania is a different type of theme park for children. It immerses them in in a pseudo-adult world in which they can role play a variety of professions. The world has its own language and its own currency. It is a self-contained world in which the children can roam freely and make their own decisions. They are free to interact with each other in whatever way they like. There are now other locations in Mexico and Mr. Ancona has franchised the concept in Bangkok, Cairo, Dubai, Istanbul, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Kuwait, Lisbon, Mumbai, Osaka, Seoul and Tokyo.
Per their website, "The indoor theme park is a city built to scale for children, complete with buildings, paved streets, vehicles, a functioning economy, and recognizable destinations in the form of "establishments" sponsored and branded by leading multi-national and local brands." KidsZania has storefronts that bear familiar brand names such as McDonald's and Sony. In Mumbai, there is a Bollywood studio. And in Seoul, one can manufacture ramen noodles. This reminds me of the children's-scale Wegmans store in the Strong National Museum of Play in my city, but with a much broader scope.
While this clearly helps children model adult behaviors, it also familiarizes them with brands at a very early age. And, it even reinforces brand loyal behaviors at an early age. Clearly, this theme park provides an opportunity and food for thought for brand marketers.