Catch the colours of Little India
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The suburb surrounding Serangoon Road is a cacophony of colour, certain to ignite the imagination and wonder of any child. Hindu temples are adorned with intricate, rainbow-hued exteriors, flower markets brim with garlands of warm marigolds and the fabric bazaar will inspire impromptu dress up sessions. Older kids will also love the chance to try the tastebud-twisting cuisine on offer here, with anything from North Indian tandoori favourites to vibrant South Indian vegetarian dishes for something new and different. Monster Day Tours offers free walking tours through the area on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, making the perfect forum for any questions from your inquisitive kids.
Spot some locals at Kranji Marshes
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Over 170 species of birds, 54 kinds of butterflies and 33 types of dragonflies flit around the 57-hectare freshwater marshland that is Kranji Marshes. Best observed from the lookout atop the 10 metre-tall Raptor Tower, kids will love the challenge of spotting shy birds and colourful insects amongst their natural habitat and parents will love the educational boards set up in the tower which impart interesting knowledge to any budding twitcher.
See the bright lights at Marina Bay Sands
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Every night is a performance at Marina Bay Sands’ Event Plaza, where a daily evening light and water show, Spectra, dazzles onlookers with its perfectly orchestrated spectacle of music, lasers as well as powerful water jets and captivating projections. Fluttering across the evening sky for a full 15 minutes, this free show is a fantastic finish to a family day out.
Get wet at the Far East Organization Children’s Garden
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Also part of the Gardens by the Bay complex, your only obstacle to taking the kids to this outdoor playground will be trying to prise them away once closing time approaches. All little-ones are catered for: there’s the jungle canopy of intricate nets and connected treehouses for ages six to 12, the exploration-heavy toddler zone that boasts a series of water tunnels and interactive play equipment, as well as tradition dry playgrounds.
Get lost in the Gardens by the Bay
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The skyline of Singapore hasn’t been the same since the futuristic space that is Gardens by the Bay opened to the public six years go. A 101-hectare outdoor area comprised of three distinct waterfront gardens; it’s a melding of stunning horticultural flair and innovative architecture that could happily steal hours of your day with its inventiveness. Kids will be spellbound by the soaring 16-storey, solar-powered Supertrees that tower over the garden of Bay South (all covered with a tangle of over 163,000 plants that sprout from the ‘trunks’).
Meet the wildlife at the MacRitchie Reservoir Park
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Little hikers will love the trails leading through the sprawling MacRitchie Reservoir Park. Start with the manageable 3.2 kilometre wander – sure to keep your kids curiosity flexed with a host of critters and creatures calling the 12-hectare area home. Expect encounters with the cheeky long-tailed macaque monkey (although it’s worth familiarising yourself with some ground rules for these meetings), monitor lizards, owls and the often-elusive colugos – AKA the flying lemur. There’s also an elevated NatureWalk suspended through the treetops floor to give the family a bird’s eye view over the lush surrounds.
Explore a garden made just for children
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For all Singapore’s hustle and bustle, there are still green spaces to find in this busy city. The Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden – the first garden in Asia “dedicated to children” – is one such place. Featuring a series of three carefully curated nature trails to tap into every child’s interest (kids can adopt the ‘adventurer’, ‘gardener’ or ‘naturalist’ persona for the day), this interactive garden is engineered to encourage visitors to explore the great outdoors. There’s an orchard, a farm, a forest and a series of trickling streams and ponds, as well as cosy treehouses to climb into and suspension bridges to traverse, creating a rambling outdoor playground for kids who like to get their hands a little dirty.
Take a dip on Sentosa Island
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Sentosa Island has several adventure parks with entry-fees but you could easily populate a packed itinerary without stepping foot in a ticketed area. Three family-friendly beaches where kids can splash in calm, clean waters make for a welcome retreat during hot Singapore summers. The island also offers free access to the exciting Fort Siloso Skywalk – an almost 200-metre walkway that snakes around the tropical canopy 11-storeys above the ground.
Grab a bite
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Don’t fork out for an expensive meal your kids will most likely pick at. Café Melba, in the lively Goodman Arts Centre, welcomes empty tummies of all sizes. So much so, that on Mondays, kids eat completely free when a main meal is purchased. There’s also a bouncy castle and open lawn to soak up their energy while you enjoy a dish meant to meld ‘Melbourne’ and ‘Asian’ influences, such as the sesame crusted yellowfin tuna, with crisp French beans and grenaille potatoes. (Kid-worthy options include a reliable chicken schnitzel and fries).
Cycle around Coney Island
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Cover more ground on the 50-hectare oasis that is Coney Island (known as Pulau Serangoon to locals) by bringing a bicycle – or hiring a few from Punggol Point Park – and take the family for a drive-by tour of this charming little sanctuary. An ecologically sustainable park off Singapore’s north-eastern coast, Coney Island is home to a wide variety of fascinating flora and fauna (including critically endangered species such as the red junglefowl and changeable hawk-eagle). There’s also a tree-ringed exploration area crafted from upcycled casuarina trees and pillowed with recycled sand from a nearby beach.
Play inside a museum
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A veritable toy emporium for any kid missing their at-home collection, the MINT Museum of Toys spans six levels jammed with over 50,000 toys, memorabilia, figures, games and vehicles that generations of children have been tempted into trying out. On the last Saturday of every month, the museum opens its doors to families for free, giving access to the private museum.