May 25, 2019

Best 8 Installations at Children’s Biennale 2019 for Kids with itchy fingers

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Back for the second edition, the Children’s Biennale has opened at the National Gallery Singapore from now and will run all the way until 29 December 2019.

This year’s exhibition is themed ‘Embracing Wonder’ and invites kids all all ages to experience a new dimension of creativity and open themselves up to wondrous surprises. We had a sneak peek at the various installations and let's just say the kid in me couldn't resist having a go too. ūü§£


Through 11 imaginative artwork installations, kids can embrace a fantastic, magical world by composing their own tunes, braiding giant tresses, wandering beneath massive lanterns, popping into a dome, and more. And the best part? It is all FREE for for Singaporeans and PRs!

Here are the TOP 8 works that kids will absolutely spend the most time at:

KENANGAN KUNANG-KUNANG (MEMORIES OF FIREFLIES)
Supreme Court Wing, Level B1, Koh Seow Chuan Concourse Gallery


Without a doubt, this is the most Instagram-worthy installation of the lot. But more than just jazzing up your Instagram feed, the six life-sized, interactive lanterns encourage individual and group play. Kids can head inside into the largest lantern and rotate the turnstile.


And this is the beautiful effect it conjures up.


These lanterns are inspired by damar kurung, traditional Javanese lanterns that feature paintings of everyday life in Java. The artist has decorated them with distinct patterns, colours and characters, inviting everyone to imagine a world where everyone is loving and caring.


Like fireflies in the forest at night, kids can follow the markers on the floor either on their own or with friends, and be dazzled by the lights!

I know I was. LOL.


BEAR HUG
City Hall Wing, Level B1, The Ngee Ann Kongsi Concourse Gallery


If you have kids aged 10 and below, I personally feel this is the BEST installation to bring them to. Comprising of five rooms – Discover the World, Friendship Room, Family Room, Self Room and BIG HUG’s Little Museum - this multi-room installation is filled with fun and familiar items from everyday life.



Activities in some of the rooms let them imagine their future as one of many interesting professions, through learning about colours, positive and negative spaces as well as friendship and teamwork. There are plenty of touch and play elements throughout the big space so kids with itchy fingers can rejoice!



CHANCE OPERATIONS
City Hall Wing, Level B1, The Ngee Ann Kongsi Auditorium Anteroom

WARNING: This room can get really really really noisy!


All thanks to the ingenious pairing of hollow pipes and soft balls, this installation allows kids to throw the balls against the pipes to create music. Well, that is the idea anyway but no maater what tune one creates, there is something therapeutic about throwing something against something elses to create sounds.

I know because I tried. Heh.


DAYUNG SAMPAN
City Hall Wing, Level 1, Keppel Centre for Art Education Project Gallery


Dayung Sampan means 'Row Your Boat', which is exactly what this art installation wants kids to imagine. Here, children will discover a collection of giant objects that seem to resemble a foot or a cage – young explorers are encouraged to use their imaginations, follow their dreams and let their imagination take flight!



PLAY BY THE RIVER
City Hall Wing, Level 1, City Hall Foyer


Play by the River is inspired by a painting from 1974 by Singaporean artist Liu Kang titled Life by the River. Kids can play under the trees, say hello to a family of ducks and even play a game of five stones with parents. There is also a multimedia room where kids can customise their own houses and chracters and add them to the huge virtual painting.



THE OORT CLOUD AND THE BLUE MOUNTAIN
Supreme Court Wing, Level 1, Padang Atrium


Two things inspired this interactive artwork: The Oort Cloud, a thick layer of icy particles in outer space, and Blue Mountain, a painting by Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky of horses galloping beneath a hill.


A motion-activated installation with lights, sounds, objects and sensors, the many buttons and textures here represent imaginary terrains in the universe. As kids move closer and touch these objects, different lights and sounds will be activated!


THE OTHER WALL
Supreme Court Wing, Level 3, Supreme Court Foyer


The Other Wall reflects an idyllic life in the countryside of Myanmar, also known as the Shwe (golden) land. The artists have tried to recreate the lives of the Shwe people by casting everything, even the plants, in gold!


You will find woodcuts, traditional toys and Burmese alphabets within each house, each handcrafted with care and love. But more important for kids, there are woodblock rubbing stations within the house, where they can grab a piece of blank paper, place it over the woodblock prints and rub away with the wax crayons.


THE STORY OF KARUNG GUNI BOY
City Hall Wing, Level 1, Outside Keppel Centre for Art Education


This installation brings to life the popular story of Karung Guni Boy written by Lorraine Tan and illustrated by Eric Wong. Ming, the Karung Guni Boy, loves to collect and find new uses for old items. Ming’s innovation and love for experimenting is seen in the creative processes of many artists who find inspiration in everyday things.


Everything here is constructed from cardboard and it looks amazing!


There are other installations that we didn't get to visit during the preview but something tells me they will be just as fun for the kids....

OR for adults too. *ahem*


Useful Information

Gallery Children’s Biennale 2019: Embracing Wonder
Date: Saturday, 25 May 2019 – Sunday, 29 December 2019
Venue: National Gallery Singapore, 1 Saint Andrew’s Road, Singapore 178957
Admission: Free for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PRs). Ticket prices start at $20 for others.
Website


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May 17, 2019

18 New Attractions & Places in Singapore that Opened in 2019

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We're not even done with the first half of 2019 and already, a flurry of new family-friendly attractions and places have opened in Singapore. Who says Singapore is boring for families???


So while there are the usual malls amd playgrounds to bring the kiddos, there are actually quite a number of new places that have sprouted up this year to discover together as a family - all 18 of them!

1. Lakeside Garden @ Jurong Lake Gardens


The new 53-hectare Lakeside Garden is one huge park that will be more than enough to offer a day of fun and activities whether it is for families, couples or individuals.

Kids will no doubt love Forest Ramblw which is the largest nature playgarden in the heartlands. The 2.3-hectare playgarden is HUGE and comprises of 13 adventure stations for kids to explore, while being set in a natural environment consisting of streams and plants.


Most interestingly, the playgarden's stattions are designed to emulate the movement of animals which inhabit a freshwater swamp forest. What this means is the play structures are designed to allow kids to mimic the movements of a monkey, frog, heron, crab, squirrel and even an otter!


There are also water play areas in the park - the Tidal Play Pool and Sand Play Pool. Kids can enter the Tidal Play Pool by walking down a gentle slope. Periodically, water will gush out from the steps, making the water level rise (up to 30cm in depth) which gives kids the opportunity to learn about natural tide cycles! At the Sand Play Pool, kids can experience the varying textures of sand while observing how water movements create wave-sculpted ripples in the sand.


Visitors can also head to Rasau Walk, a 300-metre meandering boardwalk along the water’s edge or zoom towards Grasslands which is dominated by tall grasses and small hills - AND totally made for Instagram! Read more about Lakeside Garden in my review HERE.


Address: Along Yuan Ching Road and Boon Lay Way
Opening hours: Always open
*Forest Ramble & Water play areas are open from 8am to 10pm, and closed on Mondays except for Public Holidays
Admission: FREE

2. Nature Playgarden at HortPark


There is a new playgarden at HortPark but you cannot find a single seesaw or slide here. Rather, the Nature Playgarden at HortPark is designed to encourage kids to spend more time outdoors and reconnect with nature. Built with pre-schoolers in mind, the playgarden is best for kids aged between 3 and 6 years old.


This playgarden is NParks' first Biophilic Playgarden, which integrates play features with more natural elements such as trees and sand. In all, there are a total of nine play features at the playgarden. There are none of the usual slides, seesaws or even climbing structures that one usually associates with playgrounds but I love how the playgarden has ingeniously blended play activities with nature... along with plenty of hideouts for kids to explore. Read more about it in my review HERE.


Address: 33 Hyderabad Road (off Alexandra Road), Singapore 119578
Opening hours: Daily except for Mondays.
*The playgarden is lit by natural sunlight only. For your own safety, please refrain from entering at night or during bad weather.
Admission: FREE

3. Floral Fantasy


Floral Fantasy is the latest thematic attraction at Gardens by the Bay. Flowers, artistry and technology come together to create a dream-like, fantastical experience for visitors. It comprises four diverse garden landscapes - Dace, Float, Waltz & Drift - each showcasing a different concept, as well as a 4D ride.


The Flight of the Dragonfly ride allows visitors to embark on a simulated journey of a dragonfly's flight path through Gardens by the Bay to discover a whole new world of wonder.

Address: Bayfront Plaza (next to exit of Bayfront MRT station), Gardens by the Bay
Opening hours: 9am - 9pm daily
Admission: Singapore residents - Adult $12 & Child / Senior Citizen $8 | Standard - Adult $20 & Child / Senior Citizen $12
Website

4. Jewel Changi Airport


This certainly needs no introduction. The Jewel Changi complex, with its distinctive dome-shaped facade made of glass and steel, is home to an eclectic mix of one-of-a-kind play attractions, unique shopping and dining experiences, accommodation and aviation facilities. Bringing the outdoors indoors, Jewel's unique mix of lush nature and urban energy is coalescing amidst Singapore's largest air-conditioned indoor garden with the highlight being its four-storey Forest Valley which features two walking trails and a 40-metre Rain Vortex, which is also the world’s tallest indoor waterfall.


Jewel will also house the largest Nike store in Southeast Asia with other anchor tenants including Marks & Spencer, Muji, Zara, Uniqlo, Shaw Theatres with IMAX and FairPrice Finest. It will host various renowned restaurants and F&B chains from overseas, including Burger & Lobster, Shake Shack and A&W. The massive complex is integrated with Changi Airport’s Terminal One at the Level 1 Arrival Hall, and linked to Terminals Two and Three via air-conditioned pedestrian linkways.


Read all about my visit HERE.

Address: 78 Airport Blvd, Singapore 819666
Opening hours: 24 hours (certain shops and eateries)
Website

5. Singapore City Gallery


Re-opened in April 2019 after undergoing a revamp, the Singapore City Gallery showcases Singapore’s dramatic transformation over the past 50 years, to become one of the most liveable cities in Asia. It tells Singapore’s development story, through 40 interactive and immersive exhibits that detail our planning challenges and the innovative solutions that tackle them.


Visitors can explore the possibility of locating our international airport somewhere other than Changi, find out how to generate less waste to ease the pressure on our limited land, and challenge themselves to design a street to meet the needs of all users.


The Gallery offers free guided tours for the local community to learn more about how we shape our city into a highly liveable, people-friendly and delightful home. Led by URA’s volunteers, these community tours are available at 11am and 12.30pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and on the first and third Saturday of each month. The duration of each tour is approximately one hour. Pre-register HERE.

Address: 45 Maxwell Road, The URA Centre, Singapore 069118
Opening hours: Open from Mondays to Saturdays, 9am to 5pm (Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays)
Admission: FREE
Website

6. library@harbourfront


The ultra-spacious library@harbourfront is the largest public library in a Singapore mall! Located on Level 3 of VivoCity - and occupying the previous Daiso store's space - the library spans 3,000 sqm and houses a refreshed collection of 200,000 books, magazones and audio-vidual materials. More importantly, it has a view to die for.


Inspired by its proximity to Sentosa and the sea, the new library adopts a coastal theme with waves in hues of blue and green. And it is designed with two distinct zones - one for adults and teens, and the other for children. The Children's Zone features an Early Literacy collection for young readers aged 6 and below, as well as books for older children aged 7 to 12. It also has a Tinker Truck makerspace and a Stories Come Alive room to make storytelling an immersive and interactive experience for kids.


Address: 1 Harbourfront Walk, #03-05 Vivocity, Singapore 098585
Opening Hours: Mon - Sun: 11:00 AM - 09:00 PM
Admission: FREE
Review

7. Nestopia


Spanning more than 470 square metres, Nestopia is more than just an outdoor playground. Part of Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa, it draws inspiration from the natural landscape and greenery in its surroundings, bringing to life the story of a flock of legendary birds building homes with ropes, branches, leaves and a touch of magic.


The unique structure features variations of climbing obstacles, suspended bridges, mazes and slides. Kids can embark on an exhilarating adventure through 17 play sections with netted obstacle courses connecting 3 giant nests and 2 of the longest slides on Sentosa island. Each challenge aims to develop a combination of motor skills, strength, balance, spatial awareness and problem solving skills. The three nests with a height of up to 7.5 metres offer a bird’s-eye view of the South China Sea and the surrounding Siloso Beach precinct. Nestopia is suitable for children aged 5 and above.

Address: 6 Siloso Beach Walk, Sentosa, Singapore 098995
Opening hours: Weekdays: 11am to 9pm | Weekends: 9am to 9pm
Admission:
Weekdays (Monday to Friday) 
In-house guests - $10 for 1 hour | $15 for 2 hours
Public - $15 for 1 hour | $25 for 2 hours
Weekends (Saturday, Sunday, Eve of Public Holidays and Public Holidays) 
In-house guests - $15 for 1 hour | $25 for 2 hours
Public - $18 for 1 hour | $28 for 2 hours
*One adult entry is included for every child (aged 12 and below). Children below the age of 7 must be accompanied by an adult.
*Additional adult: $10

8. T-Hall.sg


Hidden in the heart of Lavender, T-Hall is the newest kid on the block when it comes to indoor climb gyms. Kids will love the Challenge Zone which features 25 climbing elements ranging from easy-peasy to hardcore.


There are also interactive climbing games where you can ompete against your friends on the state-of-the-art augmented climbing wall. Using motion sensing technology, the wall is transformed into various mini games that require you to climb up, down, and sideways!

Address: 464 Crawford Lane, Singapore 190464
Opening hours: Monday: 5pm to 10pm | Tuesday-Friday: 10am to 10pm | Sat, Sun, PH: 10am to 7pm
Admission: $30 for 90 mins (Challenge Zone)
Website

9. Museum@My Queenstown


Museum @ My Queenstown along Commonwealth Drive is a community museum that showcases the story of Queenstown as Singapore's first satellite town.

Entirely curated and run by numerous volunteers from civic group, My Community, Museum @ My Queenstown's inaugural Exhibition, "Our Stories, Do You Remember Them?" celebrates the stories of the common man in Queenstown as this is a place where they work, live and play. The exhibits were collected over a period of 8 years and spanning more than 60 years history of the town.


Address: Blk 46-3 Commonwealth Drive, #01-388 Singapore 140463
Opening hours: 9.30am to 2.30pm (Wed to Sun); 5.30 to 8pm (Fri & Sat only); Closed on Mon & Tue
Admission: FREE

10. Hi Roller Singapore


Hi Roller is Singapore's only indoor skating rink and offers exciting programmes and customised lessons for skaters of all ages and levels. In additon, it is air-conditioned! Beginners can learn both inline and roller skating at this family friendly environment, while seasoned skaters can relive those magical moments of dance-gliding through the floor with family and friends on Retro Night, when resident DJs spin popular music from the 80s to disco lights.


Children and adults alike will also enjoy other fun activities like Rollerobics (aerobics on skates) while skates rental is also available for exploring the surrounding nature parks and attractions around Downtown East, some of which include the nearby Pasir Ris beach and mangrove forest.

Address: Market Square @ Downtown East, E!Hub, Level 5, 1 Pasir Ris Close, Singapore 519599
Opening hours: 11am - 9pm daily
Admission: 2-hour session at $12 per Adult & $10 for students
Website

11. Coast-to-Coast Trail & Rower's Bay

The Coast-to-Coast Trail is a 36 km trail that spans across Singapore. Stretching from Jurong Lake Gardens in the west to Coney Island Park in the northeast, a total of 10 checkpoints will take you through 18 parks and nature areas and 11 park connectors.


You can choose to explore the Trail on your own using the C2C online Trail Guide or using the C2C Mobile App.

Or if you prefer to take things easy, head to the newly opened Rower's Bay at Lower Seletar Reservoir.


Part of a future PCN loop around Lower Seletar Reservoir, Rower’s Bay itself is a key activity node with new boardwalks to bring visitors closer to the water’s edge, and other amenities including shelters, vending machines, a toilet, and a bicycle repair shop. It is also near to The Oval at Seletar Aerospace Park which is rich in colonial history and is home to F&B offerings too.


Rower's Bay Address: Seletar Club Rd
Website

12. Shaw Theatres Dreamers

Shaw Theatres Dreamers at Shaw Theatres Jewel, is Singapore’s first movie theatre designed with families in mind.


Playing with a concept of vibrant colours of seats, wall mural and fun-touch, the child-friendly hall features reduced brightness and volume, as well as soft lighting inside the halls and will screen kids and family-friendly movies throughout the year.


There is even an open space at the front of the hall with bean bags and ball pit for the kids (available on a first-come, first-served basis)!

Address: Shaw Theatres Jewel, 78 Airport Boulevard, Jewel, #B2-237 Changi Airport
Price:
OFF PEAK (Mondays - Thursdays, except Opening Titles and Sneaks, Eve of Public Holiday, Public Holiday)
Adult: $9.00 | Toddler (below 90cm): FREE | Kid/s (above 90cm/ below 13 years old): $5.00
PEAK (Fridays - Sundays, Eve of Public Holiday, Public Holiday)
Adult: $14.00 | Toddler (below 90cm): FREE | Kid/s (above 90cm/ below 13 years old): $8.00
Mondays - Thursdays (Opening Titles & Sneaks)
Adult: $10.00 | Toddler (below 90cm): FREE | Kid/s (above 90cm/ below 13 years old): $6.00
Website

13. ST3PS @ Changi Airport T3


Head on down to ST3PS at Terminal 3, Changi Airport's brand new event atrium featuring a myriad of exciting offerings such as movie marathons, live performances and football matches! Hang out with family and friends, relax and enjoy movies and sporting action on the Ultra-high-definition LED screen. Head HERE for more information on the screening times and get up to date information on the live performances on a monthly basis.


Address: Changi Airport T3, Basement 2
Opening hours: 9am - 1am daily*
*Extended operating hours for live sports telecast
Admission: FREE

14. The Live Turtles and Tortoise Museum



Originally from Chinese Garden, The Live Turtles and Tortoise Museum has since relocated to ORTO in Yishun. It is home to more than 200 turtles and tortoises in over 60 different species like the fortune turtle, the gold soft-shell turtle and the ferocious alligator turtle.


Tamer turtles like the Terrapin and Soft Shells roam the compound, so opportunities to pet and feed the animals will never fail to thrill children and adults alike.

Address: ORTO, 81 Lor Chencharu #01-16, Singapore 769198
Opening hours: 10am - 6pm daily
Admission: 
Singapore Residents - Adults: $10 | Children (3-6 years old): $6 | Seniors (62 years old and above): $6
Standard Rate - Adults/Seniors: $14 | Children (3-6 years old): $10
Website

15. Pokémon Center @ Jewel Changi Airport


Jewel Changi Airportwill be home to the first permanent Pokémon Center in Asia outside Japan. The store is a real-life replica of the Pokémon Center featured in the gaming world. At Pokémon, you can purchase the same merchandise sold at the Pokémon Center in Japan. Original merchandise created exclusively for Pokémon will also be available. This includes plush toys, stationery, Pokémon Trading Card Games, video games and many more!


Address: Jewel Changi Airport, #04-201/202
Opening hours: 10am - 10pm daily

16. Village Hotel at Sentosa


There is a new kind of family-friendly staycation fun - and it comes in the form of the newly-opened Village Hotel at Sentosa! Located just behind KidZania Singapore and a stone's throw away from Palawan Beach, Village Hotel at Sentosa offer Family Rooms which are essentially two connecting rooms with two connecting doors, two vanity areas, and two bathrooms.


From design, ambience to the choice of furnishings, Village Hotel at Sentosa is decorated in sun-washed hues of nature by the sea and is is gorgeous... made even more so by the presence of FOUR pools!


The Adventure Pool is a large free-form pool which has social pods in the middle of the pool that mimic tiny islands while the Children's Play Pool is best suited for toddlers and younger kids with its kiddy slides, water features including a water fountain, and even a man-made 'beach'.


There is even a Lazy River and an adults-only Pamukkale Pool which is inspired by the cascading pools in Turkey. You can read more about my experience HERE.


Address: 10 Artillery Avenue, #02-01, Sentosa Island, Singapore 099951
Price: Family rooms start from S$280++
Website

17. I-Opener by Playeum


I-Opener features the aesthetic and sensory play-worlds co-created by individuals with various disabilities, and also without. It invites kids aged 1 to 12 to explore their senses through play and the arts.


As we all know, the senses - sight, touch and hearing all play an important role in a child’s discovery of the world as well as their social-emotional development. But more than that, this exhibition DIFFERS from Playeum's previous exhibitions in that instead of just introducing the art of play to kids, it allows kids to step into the world of those with special needs and experience the way how they interact, play and sense the world around them. Read my review HERE.

Address: 47 Malan Rd, Singapore 109444
Opening hours: Tues - Sun: 10am - 6pm (Closed on Mondays)
*Ends on 26 Apr 2020
Admission: $22 per child (1-12) | Accompanying adult: Free | Additional accompanying adult: $10

18. Outdoor Playgrounds at HDB Heartlands

Dinosaur Playground @ Fu Shan Garden
81 Woodlands Street 81, Singapore 730827



Little Houses @ Buangkok Court
986D Buangkok Crescent, Singapore 535986



Airplane Playground
158 Yung Ho Road





OPENING SOON!

Kiztopia
Opening on 15 June 2019


Boasting a large 18,000 square feet space, Kiztopia is the biggest edutainment playground housed in a shopping mall, that is divided into 18 different play areas. Each play zone is designed with specific learning objectives in mind for the little ones to cultivate their social, emotional, and motor skills. To encourage parents to interact with their kids at the park and foster a stronger parent-child bond, each admission pass accounts for the entry of one child and one adult. More details coming soon!



I'll update the list whenever new attractions open in Singapore, so do check back often!


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