Expat kids in Cambodia are sometimes at a loss for what to do, but these days there are more and more activities for kids in Phnom Penh. Enter Kids City. Billing itself as “11 levels of fun” and bedecked with one of the most eye-popping building facades in Phnom Penh, one could be tempted to think that the enormous multiplex of child-friendly activities was modeled on some sort of Danteian vision of the circles of kids’ amusements. However, Kids City is actually surprisingly enjoyable for both kids and adults, and dare I say, pretty cool.
There are ten levels in this giant, multi-storied factory of childhood fun. The pricing structure and times can be a bit confusing — you pay a separate entry fee for each floor, and each has a different schedule.
On the top floor is an ice-skating rink, where adults and children aged 5 and up can skate. “Feel scared? If you look forward, don’t look down,” is the advice they give, and they’ve got several members of staff skating around to encourage you to get onto the ice. Skaters will need to wear gloves and socks, however everything is for rent or for sale there, including skates, knee-pads, coats, helmets, socks, and gloves. If you’d like a trainer to skate with you to help you stay upright, you can pay an additional $2. They also have a Canadian ice-skater (she’s skated in Disney on Ice, among her other credits) offering lessons for a limited time. Price for skating is $10 for adults and $8 for kids. On weekdays, students and kids can skate for $5. The price covers an hour and 15 minutes of skating. There are seven skating sessions each day, starting at 10:00 a.m. and ending at 6:25 p.m. The skating rink can also host birthday parties.
The 8th and 9th floors are dedicated to science. It’s aimed at the under-12 set, but even slightly older kids will probably deign to find some of the displays interesting. They’ve got experiments, displays, and activities that are remarkably well thought out and fun, including a high-wire bicycle, human gyro, magnet display, electricity table and hot air balloon experiment. The 9th floor is dubbed the Science Gallery, and the exhibits and activities aim to explain how the world works. The 8th floor is called Science Discovery, and is an interactive science lab filled with 60+ science activities and experiments for kids. Most of the equipment has been imported from Europe. Price for the science floors is $10 for adults and $8 for kids. On weekdays, the price is $5 for students and kids. Entry gets you 90 minutes of science fun; there are seven sessions each day starting at 10:00 a.m. with the last one at 7:00 p.m.
On the 7th floor is a laser tag arena, where your kids can learn to kill in this glowing labyrinth designed for team laser tag. It’s not cheap, but it is popular! The Kids City laser tag is appropriate for ages 6 or 7 (the vests don’t usually fit kids younger than that) and up, and adults can play, too. Sessions last 25 minutes, which includes a 5 minute briefing, and the arena can accommodate between 3 and 24 people. Players are asked to wear closed-toe shoes. The price is $10 for adults and $8 for kids. On weekends, you get two sessions for the price of one. On weekdays, the price for kids and students is $5. There are 15 laser tag sessions per day; the first one is at 10:00 a.m. and the last is at 7:20 p.m.
If you’ve got toddlers, rejoice in the 6th floor: Toddler Town. Toddler Town is a fantasyland for those 4 and under. There are slides, ball pits, swings, and everything is soft, soft, soft. The floors are made of soft plastic and everything is wiped down and sanitized several times throughout the day. Price is $5 for kids (they must wear socks) and Toddler Town is open all day.
There’s also a playground for kids aged 4-12 that can entertain up to 100 kids at a time. The equipment is all imported from the UK, and features a foam padded playpen with options for climbing, swinging, sliding, and crawling, in addition to a ball pit and soft ball air cannons. All of the safety precautions make the place look a bit like a brightly-colored kiddy jail — there’s no possibility of falling off anything because there are net walls in place to prevent accidents. The playground is open all day and costs $5 on weekdays and $8 on weekends. Socks are required.
Clip ‘N Climb, the climbing center, is on the 4th floor, and offers 28 climbing walls for kids and adults of all skill levels. The equipment all comes from New Zealand, including safety harnesses. Price for the the Clip ‘N Climb is $10 for adults and $8 for kids. On weekdays, the price is $5 for students and kids. Participants must wear closed-toe shoes. Shoe rental is $2 and you can buy socks for an additional $1. Sessions are one hour long and start on the hour from 10:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. The Clip ‘N Climb also has regular competitions and you can take lessons from accomplished climbers.
Finally, there’s a Go Kart floor, that features go karts made in Italy that can go up to 20km per hour. The tracks are designed with safety in mind and cars can be driver by adults or kids aged 5 and up. Each cart seats one or two, so parents can experience the horrors of their children’s driving. Each race is 7 minutes long. Price for one seat (the driver) is $5, and for two seats is $7 (driving with a passenger).
The building also includes several options for eating (and a place for parents to lounge will their kids are playing), a birthday party room, and a children’s clothing boutique. All in all, Kids City offers kids entertainment that is a cut above what one usually finds in Cambodia. Most of the equipment is imported, educational aspects have clearly been considered, and safety precautions have been implemented. If all of that wasn’t too good to be true, kids like it, too!
Open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. Open weekends and holidays from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m.
162A Sihanouk Blvd., Phnom Penh
T: 023 220 088; 023 211 487