Singapore is known to be one of the most family-friendly destinations in Asia. There are a lot of options for the whole family, which is why it is a popular vacation spot in addition to being a major expat location. The city-state has numerous gardens, theme parks, museums, zoos, guided tours, safaris and indoor playgrounds to choose from. Street vendors sell everything from bathing suits to ice cream sandwiches, and there are countless food courts, cafes and restaurants to explore.Here are a few options for things to do and see while you’re living in Singapore with your family.
Singapore Zoo is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city. Opened in 1973, the zoo has been awarded the Best Leisure Attraction Experience Award nine times by the Singapore Tourism Board. It consists of 26 hectares of wildlife park located in the lush Mandai rainforest, making for some truly spectacular views. There are more than 2800 animals to see and the zoo offers special viewing features like elevated platforms and underwater galleries so visitors can catch a glimpse of the magnificent animals that call the zoo home. There are guided trams that you can take through the zoo, or else you can choose to explore the zoo on foot at your own leisurely pace. The zoo also offers a Jungle Breakfast with Wildlife program where you can enjoy an international buffet in the company of free-ranging orangutans. For younger children, there is a wet play area, and kids can also ride ponies. In addition to being a place where visitors can get to see and interact with different animals, the Singapore zoo also has educational displays to encourage a deeper understanding of the animals and their habitats.
Jurong Bird Park
Jurong Bird Park is a world-renowned bird sanctuary and is home to more than 5000 birds from around 400 different species. It is the largest bird park in Asia and features some of the largest free-flying aviaries in the world. The Waterfall Aviary is 13 stories high and is spread out across two hectares. It is home to around 600 free-flying birds, and visitors can walk through the various walking paths in the rainforest and spot the birds. Apart from the birds, the aviaries also feature a huge hundreds of different plant species. The park also houses native Australian birds such as the South American Toucan, bright and colorful tanagers, and red-crested cardinals. There is a Lory Loft, where you can interact with and feed the colorful and bold Lories and Lorikeets. There is even a Lory Loft Café where you can enjoy a meal and refreshments with the family.
The park also offers “encounter sessions” with the resident penguins at the Penguin Coast. There are four species of penguins here, and if you time your visit well, you can also catch one of the feeding sessions. Another must-see attraction at the bird park is the Flamingo Lake, where hundreds of flamingos can be found. It is truly an astounding sight to watch them strut around. The bird park also features a Pelican Cove with an underwater viewing gallery where you can watch the birds dive for fish.
The first nocturnal wildlife park in the world, Night Safari offers the unique experience of seeing nocturnal animals in their natural habitats. The wildlife park is home to over 1000 animals and gets more than 1.1 million visitors every year. The Night Safari is essentially a guided tram that covers the six geographical zones of the world. Through the ride, the tram guide shares interesting facts about the animals and their habitats. There are quite a few walking trails as well, and these offer access to animals that might not be visible when on the tram. There is a Leopard Trail that lets you get really close to the resident leopards, a Fishing Cat Trail that gives you a peek at fishing cats hunting for food by the river, and a walk-through Wallaby Trail where you can where you can see these native Australian animals in a recreation of their natural environment. There is also a hugely popular Creatures of the Night Show, which is an interactive experience that showcases the behaviors and unique abilities of some of the nocturnal animals living here.
Farms are a great way to introduce kids to animals and vegetables. There are plenty of activities for them to engage in and new things to learn in a very interactive environment. There are quite a few farms to choose from in Singapore. Some of the most popular ones are the Jurong Frog Farm, Hay Dairies Goat Farm and Bollywood Veggies.
Jurong Frog Farm offers interactive tours, live displays and demonstrations. Visitors are shown how frogs interact in their natural environment, and are also encouraged to hand-feed the frogs and taught how to differentiate between female and male frogs. The farm houses American Bullfrogs and features talks about their survival and maintenance at the farm.
At the Hay Dairies Goat Farm, the goats are looked after with a lot of love and care. The farm encourages both families and individuals to visit, but restricts the numbers to groups of fewer than 20 people. The goats are kept in large barns that have a lot of natural light and air. Milking takes place once a day and each goat produces about 3 litres of milk. When you visit the farm, you can watch the goat-milking session, walk about the premises, buy hay at the farm and feed the goats, buy fresh milk directly from the farmer and get yourselves some souvenirs.
The Bollywood Veggies Organic Farm is a 10-acre farm full of fruit and veggies. It also features a café called the Poison Ivy Café. Visitors can enjoy a guided tour of the farm where they can learn interesting facts about the different plants and their uses. The guide also talks about sustainable farming methods and how to practice planet-friendly farming. There is a discovery harvest where visitors are put into teams and given 30 mins to harvest a list of plants. Facilitators at the farm also offer educational potting sessions for both children and adults to encourage them to grown herbs and plants at home. There are also culinary classes, talks by experts and honey appreciation blind tastings on offer, making for a very exciting trip to the Bollywood Veggies organic farm.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxed afternoon at the beach or the adrenaline of adventure sports, Sentosa has something for everyone. Easily the most popular tourist destination in Singapore, Sentosa is an island resort and has an area of about 5 square kilometers. It consists of a sheltered beach, two golf courses, a Universal Studios theme park, an observation tower, a four-dimensional theatre and much more. The island is easily accessible from the mainland and visitors usually end up staying for a weekend or longer, as there is so much to explore and experience there. The animal and bird encounters are very popular with young kids, as is the Adventure Cove Waterpark on hot summer days. The Universal Studios theme park at Resorts World offers a number of rides and activities for movie buffs. The theme park displays are usually based on blockbuster movies and TV series.
Since the area is so large and walking can get tiring, visitors can also hire cycles to get around. There are several hotels and resorts in Sentosa so that visitors have no trouble finding accommodation.
If you’re in Singapore on a hot, sunny day, then choose from one of the countless water parks so you and your family can cool off. Because the temperature rarely goes below 24 degrees, water parks are extremely popular here. The Adventure Cove Waterpark at Resorts World offers thrilling water rides and slides and encounters with marine life, which is why it is such a popular spot to visit. You can either enjoy an adrenaline-filled ride on the extremely long and fast waterslides or snorkel with tropical fish and even encounter a shark!
The Jurong East Swimming Complex is one of the largest public swimming complexes in Singapore. It also features a lazy river and a thrilling wave pool that comes with a ‘storm effect’. The swimming complex also hosts a competition pool for more seasoned swimmers and swimming classes are also available here.
Wild Wild Wet is the largest water theme park in Singapore. It offers a number of thrilling rides like Torpedo, which is a body slide; The Waterworks, a “dueling body slide”; and Ular-Lah, which is described as a “family raft slide”. Additionally, there are also gentle rides and a children’s play area. TimeOut Singapore awarded it the title of Best Overall Water Theme Park in 2012.
Singapore offers a wealth of diversity and culture when it comes to museums. Some great ones to stop by are the National Gallery Singapore, Asian Civilization Museum, ArtScience Museum, Singapore Art Museum and the Singapore Science Centre.
The National Gallery Singapore is considered to be the largest visual art gallery in the city and features South-East Asian and local art from the 19th century until today. There are several child-friendly installations and exhibits. The ArtScience Museum has been known to have features some of the most popular exhibitions in the world. It fuses art and science across 21 galleries. The Singapore Art Museum used to be a school for boys and was converted into a museum space in the early 90s. It specializes in small exhibitions that mostly feature 20th century visual art from Asian artists. The Singapore Science Centre is an extremely child-friendly space and dedicated to all things scientific. There are regular exhibitions, star-gazing sessions on Fridays, and a lot of educational and interactive tools for young minds to explore.
If you need a quiet place to relax while surrounded by the beauty of nature, then you can choose from one of many gardens that Singapore has to offer. The green is a reprieve from the chaos of living in a city and offers respite to both local residents and visitors. The Singapore Botanic Gardens is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is about 156 years old. The botanic gardens offer breathtaking views. There are a number of trails and walking paths, and a small tropical rainforest that is about six hectares in size. There are three lakes, Symphony Lake, Eco-Lake, and Swan Lake, that add to the beauty and serenity of the space. It is one of the most visited gardens in Singapore and has won quite a few awards for being one of Asia’s best park attractions.
Gardens by the Bay is a popular horticultural attraction in Singapore and prides itself on the attention and love given to all the plants that reside here. The facilitators of these gardens like to educate visitors about plants that are rare or local to this particular climate etc. Gardens by the Bay is made up of three waterfront gardens: Bay South, Bay East and Bay Central. Bay South is the largest of the three and was opened in 2012. There are festivals, music concerts, moving screenings and other events held here, most of which make for great family outings.
While you’re in Singapore, you can also opt to go on boat rides and cruises around the river or simply take a walk down the different markets and shopping districts for a spot of shopping and exploration. There are four languages spoken in Singapore, and people from various cultures live here, which is why the entertainment, food and ambience is an amalgamation of all these different influences. Street food is also quite popular and offers a large variety of exciting options to choose from. Travelling and getting around in Singapore is quite easy, as the city is well connected by train, bus and taxi (although train is possibly the quickest way to get around). Visitors have the option of picking up a Singapore Tourist Pass that allows you unlimited travel and is valid for one, two or three days at a time.
What are your favourite days out in Singapore? Let us know in the comments?