Nov 20, 2017

Jacob Ballas Children's Garden is now Asia's largest children's garden and has a NEW Forest playground!

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There is a new play area at Jacob Ballas Children's Garden to bring kids to work off some calories, and it comes in the form of a giant Forest Adventure playground!

But more on that later, I promise. Because the playground is only a part of the entire rejuvenation of the Children's Garden... which coincidentally, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.

Wow, time truly flies huh? I remember bringing the boys to its water playground when they were toddlers. And our last visit was actually five years ago when Ale was just a toddler as well.

And now with the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden at the Singapore Botanic Gardens having doubled in size to four hectares - following a two hectare extension - it is now Asia’s largest children’s garden.

The new extension is situated on the left side of the garden as you enter through the main entrance. And speaking of entry, did you know adults are only permitted entry only if accompanying a child? Kids are definitely kings and queens here!

If you have been to the pre-expanded Children's Garden, you will be glad to know that all of its original attractions and play areas remain intact which have been given new section names:


This is where kids can play to their hearts' content, with the Water Play area, Sand Playground and Maze providing free fun!


The Sensory and Potting Gardens can be found here, with kids having the opportunity to see, smell and touch various plants.


I guess this Tree House Playground needs no further introduction.


One of the monkies' fave, The Magic of Photosynthesis, is still here. It is an interactive exhibit where children discover photosynthesis and why this magical process is fundamental to all life on earth. A new addition though, is the Nature Play Pavilion, which can be reached via an elevated boardwalk.

And so we come to the four new zones, where the children can immerse themselves in different experiential learning.


Here, kids get to experience first-hand the growth cycle of economic plants and the joy of growing their own fruits and vegetables by taking charge of plots, sowing seeds in a nursery, re-potting them and harvesting the crops. There are periodic workshops conducted so do check out NParks' website for more information.

This attraction aims to inculcate in the young an appreciation of the effort that goes into the cultivation of food] crops.

Also, kids can get a first hand look at how compost is made too.


The Stream zone is where kids can learn about the water habitat and spot the animals and plants that live there.


Besides keeping a lookout for cocoa, tea and coffee plants, families can find out how some fo your favourite beverages and desserts are prepared and processed... thanks to the many colourful and informative panels.


And so we come to the new zone which appealed to the monkies most - a forest playground where they explored a tree top canopy and finished it off with the flying-fox!

Compared to the older Tree House playground in the old portion of the garden, this new playground occupies a larger area and consists of various obstacles to test kids' balance and agility.

After clearing the log obstacles, children could then get close to nature by exploring a network of canopy tree huts and rope bridges nestled in the tree tops.

Other play areas include a trampoline, seats which double up as percussion instruments and a swing.

Prior to the extension, the garden catered to children up to 12 years old. Now, the garden has included activities for older children. So children who are aged 10-14 can explore the trails and habitats of the new extension, and they can also learn more about plants and how these plants employ different strategies to adapt to their environments.

And if Ash and Ayd did not complain about feeling bored, then I think it is testament to that!

Oh and if everyone in the family is feeling hungry after a day out at the Children's Garden, there is a new cafe located just near the entrance of the garden.


Useful Information

Jacob Balls Children's Garden
Address: 481, Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 259769
Opening Hours: 8.00am to 7.00pm (last admission at 6.30pm). Closed on Mondays (except when Monday falls on a designated public holiday)
Admission: Free admission. Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden is designed for children aged 14 and below. Children aged 12 and below must be accompanied by an adult. To promote a safe environment for children, adults are permitted entry only if accompanying a child. Adult visitors without children must consult the Service Desk for entry.
Accessibility: Wheelchair and stroller accessible
Getting there:
By Train:
10-min walk from Botanic Gardens MRT Station (Circle/Downtown Line)
By Bus:
Alight at “NUS Bukit Timah Campus” bus stop along Bukit Timah Road or “after Kheam Hock Road” bus stop along Dunearn Road. It is a 5-min walk from the respective bus stops.
Bus services along Dunearn Road and Bukit Timah Road: 48, 66, 67, 151, 153, 154, 156, 170, 171, 186
By Car/Taxi:
From Dunearn Road - At the Dunearn-Kheam Hock Road junction, turn right to enter NUS Bukit Timah Campus. Turn right into Jacob Ballas Children's Garden after car park gantry.
From Bukit Timah Road - At the Bukit Timah-Kheam Hock Road junction, turn left to enter NUS Bukit Timah Campus. Turn right into Jacob Ballas Children's Garden after car park gantry.
*Limited parking lots are available at Jacob Ballas Children's Garden and NUS Bukit Timah Campus.

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Nov 17, 2017

Everything you need to know about Hello Kitty & her Sanrio friends' return to Changi Airport!

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It seems like Hello Kitty and her Sanrio friends just cannot get enough of Singapore because they are back at Changi Airport this Christmas season for a super kawaii festive extravaganza at Terminal 3!

Once again, there will be cuteness overload at Changi Airport’s Mystical Garden as supercute life-sized Hello Kitty & Friends  (all eight of them, to be exact) will be the stars in the year-end festive showcase, which will feature games, activities, shopping and great prizes to be won.

Yes, expect to say hello to Little Twin Stars, My Melody, Pompompurin, Cinnamoroll and my absolute idol and inspiration, Gudetama. Heh.

Get ready to be wowed by a first-in-Changi indoor drone show featuring as many as 40 drones, lighting up the dimmed ‘sky’ with enchanting formations that will delight fans both young and young-at-heart.

Step into Changi’s Mystical Garden featuring life-sized Sanrio characters complete with a gazebo and a treehouse, topped with the cute kitty’s signature ribbon for the most unforgettable photo opportunities.

Not forgetting the must-have snow show, a perennial crowd favourite to usher in the year-end festivities.  Sanrio fans and airport visitors can also take part in fun activities at the event area opposite T3 Check-in Row 11.

Here are all of the Sanrio activities happening in the 1.5-month-long showcase at the airport:

Changi Mystical Garden
Light & snow show timings: Daily (3pm and 5pm)
Location: T3 Departure Check-In Hall, Level 2

Step into Changi’s Mystical Garden featuring life-sized Sanrio characters complete with a gazebo and a treehouse, topped with the cute kitty’s signature ribbon and a huge Christmas tree decked in fairy lights for the most unforgettable photo opportunities.

For a bird’s eye view of the garden, climb up to the gazebo (topped with Hello Kitty’s signature ribbon). Access to the gazebo is on a first-come-first-serve basis and is limited to four people at any one time.

Be sure to hang around during the thrice-daily light & snow show too, where the set-up comes to life to bring on the Christmas magic.

Sanrio Activity Park
Timing: 10am - 10pm daily
Location: Terminal 3 Check-in Row 11

The Sanrio Activity Park features various kawaii carnival games. Any receipt with a minimum spending of $30 gets you one game play and one activity.

The Tree House Catcher

Put your “pick-up” skills to the test at the Tree House Catcher, where you can work with a partner to quite literally “pick up” attractive prizes! With one of you controlling the claw and the other positioned to scoop up a prize, this station will be a true test of teamwork.

The gift you obtain depends on the capsule you pick out.

Do note that the ball picker has to be at least 1.2m tall, or 5 years old and above, and weigh less than 60kg. The controller has to be at least 10 years old and above.

The Yoyo Tsuri Fountain

In this game, you get three hooks – and your mission is to fish water balloons from the fountain.

Successful players will be issued with a token to spin the giant Gachapon machine to redeem gifts.

And one of the big prizes includes these adorable 1-metre tall Sanrio plush toys!

NOTE: As a limited number of people can try the games at any one time, go early to reserve your slot. Digital queue numbers will be issued for the Tree House Catcher with an SMS alert once it’s your turn. 

Stamping Station

Wait, don't throw away your receipt just yet. You can choose to customise your items with Sanrio stamps, or have some sparkly Sanrio designs done up on your face or body by professionals (weekends only) too!

Want a free Tote bag to stamp away? Tote bags will be given to the first 60 people daily (on weekdays) amd first 100 people daily (on weekends) who validate their receipts... so be there early!

Mystical Maze

Test your steady hands by navigating a ball out of a wooden maze.

Daily Drone Show
Show Timings: 7.30pm & 9pm daily
Location: T3 Departure Check-In Hall, Level 2

Be enthralled by the dance of the fireflies as 40 drones will light up the “night sky” in Terminal 3, forming festive icons such as a heart, a snowflake and a Christmas tree. Looking much like the sky full of lanterns in the well-loved scene of Disney Movie Tangled, this will be a beautiful sight to behold. 

Bonus! Post an Instagram story of the drone show with the hashtag #ChangiFireflies and you could walk away with a drone. Keep an eye out on Changi’s Instagram page (@changiairport) for more details.

Sanrio-themed Kids Playground
Location: Terminal 3, Basement 2

Bring the kiddos to the new Sanrio-themed children's playground at T3 Basement 2, which is a first in any airport in Asia!

Sanrio Weekend Meet & Greet Sessions
Dates: Every weekend (Sat and Sun) from 18 Nov - 24 Dec 2017
Opening Times: 4pm & 6pm
Location: Terminal 3, Public, Departure Hall Level 2

NOW THIS IS THE BIGGIE! Get up close and personal with different Sanrio characters, on every weekend from 18 Nov to 24 Dec 2017!

Meet & Greet Schedule:
  • 18 & 19 Nov: Gudetama
  • 25 & 26 Nov: Little Twin Stars
  • 2 & 3 Dec: My Melody
  • 9 & 10 Dec: Cinnamoroll
  • 16 & 17 Dec: Pompompurin
  • 23 & 24 Dec: Hello Kitty & Dear Daniel
*Queue will begin 30 minutes before each session.

Giant Hello Kitty Topiary
Location: Terminal 2

Another photo opportunity awaits at Terminal 2, where a huge 4-metre Hello Kitty topiary says hello to visitors!

Sanrio Plush Toys Redemption

Photo credit: Changi Airport

If you want to bring home a piece of the Sanrio cuteness, eight limited edition plush toys are available for purchase at $8.90 each, with a minimum spend of $60 in public areas ($120 in transit and supermarkets). Do note that the special and limited Firefly edition of Hello Kitty (at $10.90 each) is only available on 17 November.

So... will you be at Changi Airport this school holidays? :)

Useful Information

Changi's Mystical Garden with Sanrio Characters
17 Nov 2017 - 5 Jan 2018
Changi Aiport, T3 Departure Hall, Level 2

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