The FEO - it stands for Far East Organization, in case you are wondering - Children's Garden at Gardens by the Bay opens TODAY (21 January 2013) and if you are intending to read on further for my review, you can stop now. Just drop everything and bring your children to Singapore's largest Playground for kids. NOW.
Yes, it is that good. AND FREE too. Or if you prefer to hear my monkies' review, they have a one-liner for you:
It is super awesomeness!
I cannot recall the last time I have seen them so worked up over a playground, and I mean that in a good way of course. The moment that they set foot within one-hectare play area, their eyes opened so wide that I thought they were going to pop out of their sockets. And no wonder, since this was the sight that greeted them at the main entrance of the Children's Garden.
Located along the waterfront of Bay South Garden and adjacent to the Cloud Forest Conservatory, the Children's Garden is specially targeted at children up to age 12 and seeks to further encourage interaction with nature, together with integrated play equipment and water play features spread over four main play zones - Adventure Trail, Rainforest Treehouses, Toddler Play Zone and Water Play Areas. All amid a luscious garden setting, no less.
Photo courtesy of Gardens by the Bay
This 130-metre long trail consists of 14 exciting obstacles, all laid in a line and waiting for children to explore and overcome.
There were wobbly bridges to cross, singular beams to balance, monkey bars to swing... and we were still not even halfway done with the entire trail!
The trail is recommended for children aged 6 to 12 years old, so there were indeed a few obstacles that Ale couldn't complete.
But she still took it all in her stride, and followed her two older brothers from obstacle to obstacle as if to cheer them on.
Not that they needed any egging on. They were simply having too much fun climbing in, under, over and across the rope obstacles and trying to see what else lay ahead.
And what is a trail without the mandatory slides? At the Adventure Trail, the slide is even upsized!
Okay, so throw another 2 huge tubular slides to the mix and that even tempted me to try them out as well.
And they were super FAST! So if you have younger children, do note that it just might be a tad too fast for their liking. Also, the slides are made of metal so they may be hotter to touch during the afternoons.
But a huge PLUS point that took me completely by surprise was that there will be Gardens by the Bay staff stationed at various points along the Trail and other parts of the Children's Garden to ensure safety. Considering that the Children's Garden is free entry to all, I really thought that was a masterstroke indeed.
Anyway, back to the trail proper and all those Spider-Man wannabes will find great joy in scaling up the gigantic spider web.
Likewise, grasshopper wannabes can hop to their hearts' content on the spring stepping pads.
At the end of the Adventure Trail, a new world awaits.
As one crosses over the suspension link bridge, two Treehouses which reach heights of 4 metres and 7.5 metres respectively come into full view.
And when the boys saw them, only one word came to their mind. CLIMB.
And climbed they did.
If you know my monkies, you will know that they love to climb. In fact, one of the boys' fave playgrounds in Singapore is the one at West Coast Park. Yes, the one with the huge pyramid climbing rope structure. So the Treehouses were a dream come true for them, as I totally lost count of the number of times they scurried up.
And their reward for scaling all the way up? A fast descent via a long and winding tubular slide.
For an even quicker fall, there is always the sliding pole option.
As the Treehouses were also for the recommended ages of 6 to 12 years, she could not partake in all the climbing fun that her two brothers were enjoying as the climbing ropes were meant for children with longer legs. But I did promise her that the next play zone will be solely dedicated for her... which cheered her up somewhat as she became the impatient spectator for the next 15 minutes.
One feature that I loved about the Treehouses was these basket pods hanging from them.
Do not be fooled by its appearance - it may seem easy getting into one, but it was a whole lot tougher trying to escape out of it.
And remember the metallic merry-go-round that we used to have at the playgrounds back in the eighties and nineties? There is also a similar one right below the Treehouses, albeit an updated version.
Finally, we came to the area which brightened up Ale's day considerably.
Toddler Play Zone
The Toddler Play area is designed for children aged 1 to 5 years old, with some of the play equipment resembling a watered-down size of some of the obstacles found at the Adventure Trail.
There are the miniature versions of the sway bridge, stepping springs and balance beam... complete with the perennial favourites of a toddler slide and 3-way see-saw.
Needless to say, Ale loved this playground to bits. In fact, she even termed it as 'MY Playground' and requested to visit it AGAIN after we had washed up from our water play time.
And then, we come to the biggie.
Water Play Zone
This is the centrepiece of the Children's Garden, which will no doubt delight every children who love a splash or two. And quite evidently, my monkies could not wait.
Water splines, a hydro vault, and orchid-shaped splash buckets - perfect ingredients to serve up a delectable day of frolicking fun. But the most unique aspect of the Water Play Zone has got to be the fact that it is linked to sensors which detect the movement of children which in turn create a corresponding sequence of water effects!
And with the piped-in music humming in the background, the entire experience was akin to watching a musical fountain show... with parents being able to chill on the nearby lounge chairs, of course.
With the main water play area being recommended for children aged 6 to 12, toddlers between 2 to 5 years old need not feel left out.... thanks to the Fish Fountain area situated beside.
The Fish Fountain features an interactive landscape of water tunnels and fish sculptures where toddlers can have fun clambering on the sculpted backs of the fish, dodge a series of water jets and save the world. Okay, maybe not so for the last part.
The sculptures come in various sizes and are positioned in a way to give an illusion of fish swimming within the play surface.
We spent a total of two hours at Children's Garden and it was nearly impossible to peel the monkies away from the Garden. Because if they had their way, we could have easily doubled that. And that itself is an underestimation.
In other news, there is a relatively large shower area for children located just beside the Water Play area... so parents will have absolutely no excuses for not bringing swim wear for the kids!
I don't think I need to further emphasize how much my monkies enjoyed the immense Children's Garden. This is exactly the kind of place I would have gone nuts for as a child as it has everything a child could want to play with and more.
Far East Organization Children's Garden
(adjacent to the Cloud Forest Conservatory)
Gardens by the Bay
Opening Hours: 9am - 9pm DAILY*
*Closed for maintenance every Monday, or the next working day if a public holiday falls on the Monday of that week.