A New Indoor Play Area Brings High-Tech Virtual Reality Games To Kapolei

On a wall-size screen, dinosaurs gallop toward you. Your only defense? Plastic ball pit balls. You pick the balls up one-by-one and throw them at the enemy. A direct hit will disable one dinosaur … but more are on the way.

kids city virtual reality games

The dinosaur hunt is one of more than a dozen virtual reality games at Kids City, a new, high-tech indoor play area at Ka Makana Aliʻi.

What: Kids City, new high-tech indoor playground

Where: Ka Makana Aliʻi (Macy’s wing, next to My Slime Playroom)

When: 10am-9pm M-Sat., 10am-6pm Sun.

Cost: $20 per child for 2 hours (includes 1 adult entrance). Monthly memberships available, too.

Minko Goeun Cabuyao is the owner of Kids City — pictured at the top of this article, and also barely visible behind me as I fight off some dinos. She told me that the games can sometimes cause a little too much excitement — for adults. “The kids are pretty calm,” she told me. “It’s the dads who get wild.”

An art area has another fun virtual reality experience. Kids sit in front of a lifelike aquarium scene and color on a drawing of a turtle. Then, a staff member scans their drawing. Within seconds, the turtle they created is swimming across the sea in front of them.

kids city virtual reality ocean

“Kids get really excited when they see their art come to life,” says Goeun Cabuyao.

Goeun Cabuyao, the mother of a two year old, first saw the technology while traveling in Japan and South Korea — and knew they’d be a big hit with Kapolei kids, too. She ordered the VR systems direct from Asia, and says they are the only ones of their kind in Hawaiʻi.

Plus Top-Quality Toys

A “play adult” area has miniature furniture like an armoire, oven, and stroller. These aren’t the flimsy plastic versions — they’re solid wood, and very sturdy. Goeun Cabuyao bought them all from Pottery Barn.

kids city play furniture

Along a wall are miniature sports cars, like Ferrari and Maserati. These are the real deal: fully-licensed versions with functional steering wheels and cool-looking instrumentation.

The Tech Is Amazing: But Cleanliness And Safety Are Important, Too

Goeun Cabuyao wants you to know that Kids City is very, very clean.

“We are constantly cleaning,” she says.

All Kids City patrons must remove their shoes before entering the play area. (Kids go barefoot, adults are provided with disposable socks.)

Food and drink aren’t allowed, except in a small snack area. And Goeun Cabuyao bought clear balls for the ball pit, so she can easily see which need a quick wipe down.

kids city full space

The large jungle gym / obstacle course is made with extremely heavy metal pipes, covered with heavy padding, of course. All wall corners are padded as well.

Special Areas for Babies and Toddlers

Goeun Cabuyao wanted to give smaller ones a place to play without fear of rambunctious older kids. The small area for kids aged 3 and under has toddler-safe slides and stairs, including a miniature ship.

kids city baby toddler area

Everything’s padded, and none are so high that a toddler could get hurt. Of course, parents are required to watch their babies.

Just off the toddler play area are private nursing and diaper changing stalls.

Private Party Space Coming Soon

In the next few months, Goeun Cabuyao will be adding a private event room off of the main play area, so kids have a place to gather for birthday parties.

Even without it, the word is out. When we visited just a few days after Kids City opened, there was a line of parents and kids at the door when they opened at 10am.

This clean, safe, high-tech play area is a cool new spot for kids to play — and for parents to relax or catch up on work. Goeun Cabuyao arranged Kids City so that parents have a central place to sit, with a view of all play areas.

So parents can watch a show, check email, write their to-do list — all without having to worry about their child going out of sight.

Or, they can wade into the ball pit and help their kid destroy some dinosaurs.