All images courtesy of KidzMondo
A miniature children’s city will open as part of Mall of Qatar‘s public launch in less than six month’s time, officials have said.
The $25 million (QR91 million) KidzMondo project will feature around 60 scaled-down businesses in an 8,000 sq meter, two-story complex inside the currently under-construction mall.
Earlier this month, developer UrbaCon Trading and Contracting (UCC) said the $1.25 billion shopping center would open its doors in August.
However, UCC did not give a precise date for the launch, and has not responded to questions about what shoppers can expect to see open on the first day of trading.
KidzMondo Doha’s general manager Nabil Barakat confirmed to Doha News that the planned opening date for the play area will be Aug. 23, “the same day as the rest of the Mall of Qatar.”
Speaking on the sidelines of an announcement to add Qatar Airways as a partner on the kids’ zone, he added:
“We are about 85 percent complete on the shell-and-core, and fit-out is 60 percent done. We are working hand-in-hand with our contractors and fit-out team to get all the approvals necessary to open on this date.”
Stores already confirmed on the 450,000sqm MOQ site on Dukhan Road include a two-story Hamleys toy store, a “luxury” Carrefour grocery store and a 19-screen cinema.
UCC’s announcement to open in August followed a statement by the CEO of rival Doha Festival City, Kareem Shamma, that he had a “day-by-day plan” in place to ensure that complex would start trading on Sept. 29.
With at least half-a-dozen major new malls currently under construction in Qatar, competition for shoppers is intensifying, and analysts have said the nation might become over-saturated with retail space in the coming years.
Today, a new short film shown to reporters during the Kidzmondo press conference offered a virtual fly-through of what children – and adults – can expect when the play area opens.
The city will feature 60 different establishments, such as a bank, aircraft, fire station, petrol station, TV station, university, race track and hospital.
Children can dress up and try their hand at playing more than 80 different roles within these establishments in a realistic way. For example, they can make real milkshakes, or cook food.
There will also be a flight simulator for a Boeing 787 Dreamliner or an Airbus A380 that children can pretend to fly, Salam Al Shawa, senior vice-president of marketing and corporate communications at Qatar Airways said.
Kids can also “work” as cabin crew or check-in staff in the mini-airport.
The entrance fee has not yet been confirmed but is expected to cost “about QR110” for a child for a day’s pass, while the charge for adults will be less, Barakat said.
Operated by Lebanon-based KidzHolding, there are currently KidzMondo centers open in Beirut and Istanbul, with plans to open one in the UAE this year as part of a wider expansion across the Middle East.
KidzMondo is among at least three children’s “edutainment” centers planned to open in Qatar in the coming year.
A branch of the international chain KidZania is under construction between Hyatt Plaza mall and Aspire Park, with an “early 2017” opening date forecast.
Meanwhile, space-themed role-play area Juniverse will open at Doha Festival City at the end of September this year.