KOBE, Japan -- Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni residents visited the Kidzania theme park in Kobe, Japan, July 26, 2017, as part of a Youth and Teen Center trip.
Kidzania is an indoor entertainment education center that provides children the interactive experience of working adult jobs and earning currency. The trip marked the first time the Youth and Teen Center visited the theme park.
“We wanted the kids to have a little bit of the adult working experience and give them the opportunity to interact with Japanese children,” said Haily Galarza, the lead staff program assistant of the Youth and Teen Center.
Complete with shops, vehicles, streets and street signs, Kidzania is a miniature city just for kids.
Children are able to dress up and role-play as their adult counterparts in nearly 100 jobs and activities, from being pilots and doctors, to sushi chefs and couriers. Each profession offered the chance to use life-like tools and equipment.
“My favorite was being a policeman and solving a crime,” said Ian Valdez, a member of the Youth and Teen Center. “It was a fun scavenger hunt. I also liked doing the news report as a cameraman.”
The Youth and Teen Center often takes trips to popular destinations. During the summer they have gone to Space World, Universal Studios and Washuzan Highland Park among others.
Galarza said she hopes more people join the program because it gives children the opportunity to enjoy and take advantage of what Japan has to offer. She added that the program intends to make the trip to Kidzania a yearly event.
Aside from the trips, the program also offers a variety of events and services. They have the Torch Club for boys and girls ages 10–12, which is geared to youth working on activities in four core areas: service to club and community, education, health and fitness, and social recreation.
They also have the Triple Play Healthy Habits meetings designed to teach the benefits of healthy eating and being physically active, as well the Summer Brain Gain meetings, which are project-based learning activities designed to take a stance against summer learning loss with material for elementary, middle and high school students.
For more information on future events, contact the Youth and Teen Center at 253-4936.