It may come as a surprise to some to discover that Singapore succeeds so well as a family-friendly city. There is an ever-increasing range of activities and destinations on offer and there should be little danger, no matter how long you are in the city, of your kids being able to complain that they have nothing to do!
Singapore is seeing enormous growth in the number of opportunities it provides for people to participate in adventure and extreme sports and, with the tiny island of Sentosa being revitalised (especially since the opening of Universal Studios Singapore), the city has on its doorstep a perfect location for beach and adventure activities.
However, there is also an extremely impressive array of engaging and interactive museums employing (as you would expect in Singapore) cutting-edge technology and the latest ideas and practices.
In addition, few cities of this size and density showcase the natural world as well as Singapore does, and there are marvels aplenty awaiting you at the country’s wildlife parks and reserves.
This list of activities and venues will no doubt continue to grow and develop but we hope to give you a taste of the sorts of experiences that await you and your family in Singapore.
Forest Adventure makes for an invigorating (if exhausting!) day out. Set on the banks of the Bedok Reservoir, it is a course built through the forest and trees, where you can climb ladders, cross bridges, swing on trapezes and slide down giant zip lines. Safety is of course paramount and you are equipped with a helmet and a harness which is attached to a safety line. There are two different courses – the Kids Course and the Grand Course – and they also host birthday parties and corporate events. Make sure that you are all wearing long trousers and trainers (not sandals or slip-on shoes).
Tue-Sun 10am-6.30pm (last entry 4pm)
Bedok Reservoir Park
825 Bedok Reservoir Road
Megazip Adventure Park
While it is true that travelling down a zip wire 75 metres off the ground at speeds of up to 55kmh is not everybody’s idea of a good time, if you have a family of adrenalin junkies then Megazip Adventure Park is just the place for you! As well as the Megazip, the park has a high ropes adventure course, a free fall simulator and a 16m climbing wall (don’t worry, the park and staff have impressive safety credentials and accreditation). If you’re looking for a tranquil relaxing holiday, this is a place you should avoid, but the kids will love it and they are guaranteed to head home exhausted!
Imbiah Hill Road Sentosa Island Singapore
Museums and Galleries
Art and Science Museum
As if Marina Bay Sands wasn’t eye-catching enough, the stunning and innovative design of the Art and Science Museum will draw you and the family into it whether you planned to or not! The building was designed by Moshie Safdie and is said to have been inspired by the shape of the lotus flower. There are permanent exhibitions in The ArtScience Galleries (Curiosity, Inspiration, Expression) as well as visiting exhibitions from some of the world’s most renowned institutions. The museum holds hold practical, hands-on workshops and performances for kids that are themed around the exhibitions on display, and you can buy discounted family tickets.
Mon-Sun 10am-10pm (last admission 9pm)
10 Bayfront Avenue
Science Centre Singapore
The SCS has over 1000 exhibits in 12 different galleries, and a vast outdoor space too. There is more than enough hands-on, exciting practical science stuff to keep even the most inquisitive geek happy. The Waterworks zone featured in the the Top Ten Family Experiences Awards, while we would also particularly recommend the i-Space and Mind’s Eye zones. The centre also has an IMAX theatre with a 23-metre wide screen screening a programme of educational science films, as well as Singapore’s only indoor snow centre! (Don’t worry if you haven’t packed winter clothes, as you can hire them there.)
15 Science Centre Road
The Natural World
Jurong Bird Park
Jurong Bird Park is spectacular and a real highlight of any visit to Singapore. There are over 5000 birds, representing 380 different species, making it one of the largest bird collections in the world. The environments are modelled as closely as possible on the birds’ natural habitats and they are able to live and move about freely in the enormous aviaries. There is a nocturnal birdhouse, a viewing gallery where you can see penguins underwater, and aviaries housing spectacular hornbills and toucans. There are performances throughout the day and a tram to take you around the park if your feet are getting tired.
2 Jurong Hill
Singapore Botanic Gardens
Singapore’s Botanic Gardens are spectacular, particular highlights being the National Orchid Garden and the many fine sculptures that are found throughout. It is especially good as a place to visit as a family as it contains a couple of specialist gardens for kids. The Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden (Tue-Sun 8am-7pm) is Asia’s first children’s garden and a unique interactive environment where children up to the age of 12 can learn about plants and how to care for them. In the Evolution Garden, kids can take a journey from the dawn of time through to the present day and learn about how plants have sustained life on our planet since its very beginnings.
Mon-Sun 5am-12 midnight
1 Cluny Road
6471 7361/6471 7138
Singapore Zoo is at the forefront of modern zoological gardens and makes for a wonderful day out (or two!). There are over 2500 animals resident in the zoo and you can observe them from cool shaded boardwalk areas as they enjoy the lush surroundings (Singapore Zoo has been voted the World’s Best Rainforest Zoo). You will love the free-ranging orangutans and watching the antics of the 70-strong baboon community, while the youngsters will go wild in Rainforest Kidzworld with its array of animal-themed activities, including a huge water play area. There are shows throughout the day and family tickets are available at a discount rate.
Mon-Sun 8.30am-6pm (last admission 5.30pm)
80 Mandai Lake Road
Night Safari is unquestionably one of the most popular family attractions in Singapore and is a nine-time winner of the Best Visitor Attraction Experience. It is the world’s first wildlife park for nocturnal animals and currently houses over 1000 animals representing 120 species (about 30% of which are threatened) in an area of about 40 hectares. You can explore the park on one of the three walking trails – Fishing Cat, Forest Giants or Leopard – or take a tram through the eight geographical zones. Try, if you can, to see the Creatures of the Night Show too. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes and always pack a raincoat!
Mon-Sun 7.30pm-12 midnight (last admission 11pm)
80 Mandai Lake Road
Universal Studios Singapore
Universal Studios, part of Resorts World Sentosa, is an enormous amusement park with enough action, variety and colour to keep the whole family in a perpetual state of excitement for days! The park is divided into 7 different zones – Hollywood, New York, Sci-fi City, Ancient Egypt, Lost World, Far Far Away, Madagsacar – each with its own characters, rides, shows and themed restaurants. Ticket prices vary depending on the time of the year you are visiting, but are nevertheless pretty reasonable, and for those of you addicted to adrenalin rushes, you can buy an annual pass that lets you go as many times as you like!
Universal Studios Singapore
8 Sentosa Gateway
Duck Tours/Hippo River Cruise
This is a fun and unusual way to see some of the main sights in Singapore and these tours have been created very much with families in mind. The Duck Tour takes place on an amphibious vehicle (thought to be a relic from the Vietnam War!) and has been voted one of Singapore’s Top Ten Family Experiences. The Hippo River Cruise, by contrast, is in a brand new hybrid eco-friendly electric boat. Both journeys have available a tour commentary written and narrated especially for kids, and they receive a special passport and activities pack with missions to complete and prizes to win.
30 Raffles Avenue
Singapore 039803 (Singapore Flyer)
The Singapore Flyer is huge, standing 165m tall, and is the biggest observation wheel in the world. It opened in 2008 and since then has been pulling visitors from all over the world. The views are spectacular, and the 30-minute ‘flight’ gives you a whole new perspective on the island while, with a bit of luck, you should also be able to catch a glimpse of Indonesia and Malaysia. The capsules are roomy (there shouldn’t be too many problems with the kids feeling claustrophobic), with seats to sit on should you need to at the end of a long sightseeing day. There is a lot to be said for taking the time to experience both the daytime and nighttime views.
Mon-Sun 8.30am-10.30pm (last flight 10.15pm)
30 Raffles Avenue