Weekends are family time in our house. Gone are my sleep ins, long lunches, spontaneous shopping expeditions with girlfriends and the odd (who am I kidding, regular) afternoon nap. These have been happily (in the most part!), replaced with running around parks, bike rides, animal watching and discovering our newish home with my three favourite boys in tow.
Singapore is one of those places that is built for families. Water parks, playgrounds, indoor play centres, museums, libraries are liberally dotted all over island. A lot of the activities we list among our favourites are free or reasonably priced.
Here are my favourite places to take kids in Singapore:
Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay is our number one place to take the boys. Walking distance to Marina Bay Sands, The Gardens are a stunning example of the beauty of nature coupled with awe-inspiring architecture. If it’s too hot or raining a visit to the Flower Dome or Cloud Mountain make for the perfect respite. The Far-East Children’s Garden is free, suitable for all ages and has a fantastic water park. There are yummy restaurants and cafes catering for every palate, and a good outdoor hawker centre. During school holidays they always have free craft activities for the kiddos and there are safe areas to ride bikes and fly kites. Something for everyone.
The Gardens are open 7 days from 9am. The Children’s Garden closes on Mondays! (I found that out the hard way..)
Tickets for the Flower Dome or Cloud Mountain start from $8.00 for children (those under 3 are free).
Singapore Botanic Gardens
The Singapore Botanic Gardens are another weekly favourite for us. Gorgeous open spaces, stunning lush parkland, a great place in a built up city to escape and let the kiddos run and explore.
The Jacob Ballas Childrens Garden has a small waterpark, playground, maze, treehouse, herb gardens, the boys love it. We also take their bikes, pay $1 and grab some fish food from the dispensers near the Tanglin Gate entrance and ride down to the lake to feed the (hideous) cat fish and other fishies there. A fun and low key way to spend an afternoon.
The Botanic Gardens are open daily from 5am, Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden from 8am (closed on Mondays). Admission is free.
If you’re willing to brave the heat or have the kids stay up late for the Night Safari, the Singapore Zoo is fantastic. You can have breakfast with the orangutans, watch the elephants paint (no, really!), step into the Fragile Forest biodome or take the tram on the Night Safari and observe the animals roaming freely, literally within touching distance.
The boys love (really love) the zoo. Xavier adores animals, and when you can see lions, tigers, polar bears, giraffes, monkeys, stinky warthogs and crocodiles within the space of a morning he is literally in heaven. But it can be a hot and tiring expedition! One we enjoy, but usually when friends are in town or for a special occasion.
The Singapore Zoo is open 7 days from 8.30 am. Get there early!
The Night Safari is open 7 days from 7.30pm.
Tickets for both are 10% cheaper (up to 30% if you use a local credit card) if you buy online in advance (and you don’t need to bring a print out, just your phone). Prices start from $18.90 for children (those under 3 are free).
Located on Sentosa Island, Tanjong Beach is a lovely little stretch of beach, perfect for young ones to have a play and a quick dip. There is a yummy restaurant (Tanjong Beach Club), we normally grab brunch and head down for a swim and sandcastle building expedition. There are beach volley ball courts, dogs are welcome and there is plenty of space for a kick of a football or a bike ride.
Open all year round. Admission is free.
The Tanjong Beach Club is open from 11am during the week (Closes Mondays) and 10am on weekends .
Pony Ride at Horse City
What kid doesn’t love a pony ride?! Horse City, on Turf Club Road is our favourite spot. On weekends $10.00 will get you a ride on Jameel, the resident pony. Feed the donkeys, ponies and have a cuddle with a rabbit, a perfect spot for an animal obsessed kiddo. Horse City is just down the road from The Grandstand, a great shopping complex full of gourmet butchers, bakeries, delis, one of my favourite coffee places in Singa and loads of shops and indoor play centres. A great area with something for the whole family.
Pony rides start from 10am on weekends, $10.00 per ride. $2.00 buys you some carrots to feed the animals.
Asian Civilisations Museum
We finally had a look at the ACM a month ago, and were pleasantly surprised with what we found. The Museum is FREE and there is currently a wonderful exhibition on the top floor ‘Once Upon a Time in Asia: The Animal Race’ for children, on now until 16 August. There are fun interactive displays inspired by objects in ACM’s collection, you can make your own art to take home, there are storytellers recounting Asian tales and the kids can learn about the Chinese zodiac and more about their animal sign (Xave wasn’t too pleased to hear he was a rabbit, year of the dragon was much more appealing to a 3 year old boy!)
ACM opens daily from 10am, 7 days. Admission is free.
One of my favourite place to take the boys on my own is the S.E.A Aquarium at Sentosa. All indoors (i.e. Air Conditioned!), easy to get around with a pram and one place where both the boys are mesmerised. The variety of sea creatures is incredible. The tanks and enclosures are pristine, there are over 800 species and 100,000 sea creatures to view. It is simply spectacular. We love heading to the largest viewing area the ‘Open Ocean”, sitting down right in front with a snack and just taking in the grace and splendour of some truly magical creatures, while mesmerizing Harry Potter-esque music plays through the speakers.
The Aquarium opens daily from 10am. I would recommend going first thing, it gets very busy in the afternoons.
Admission starts from $22.00. Children under 4 are free!
And there you have it, a guide to our favourite activities and places to visit in Singapore.
My Neo Life