So it has been hotter than usual in Singapore for the past few weeks, with no rain respite in sight. And what better way to cool down than to frolic in some water outdoors. But if you have kids like mine, you will know that a normal swimming pool doesn't quite cut it for them. There has to be a dedicated water play structure, better still if there are some thrilling water slides thrown into the mix as well.
Admittedly, some of the best water play areas for kids come in the form of Water Theme Parks. Admission fees to these places do not come cheap though, with the price of bringing an entire family of four or five running into a three-digit sum.
But as we found out over the past weekend, some of public swimming complexes we have here in Singapore make for good water play areas too! And the one at Jurong West Aquatic Centre (or Jurong West Swimming Complex) is one of them.
Unless you are staying in the West, this swimming complex is not exactly in the most accessible location. Found right towards the tip of western Singapore - near the second last MRT stop (Pioneer MRT) on the East-West line - the water area is housed on the second level of the Jurong West Sports and Recreation Centre building.
But rest assured that your journey to the West will be well worth the effort, for there is a huge Savanna-themed Water Play area which comes complete with two slides, water fountains amid lots of jet water streams. Kids will no doubt go bonkers over this Water Play structure, or at least my monkies did.
The two water slides - red and green in the above photo - in the kiddy Water Play area are not quick at all so it is perfectly tuned for younger toddlers. A big plus is that only children below the height of 1.2m are allowed on these slides, so parents with younger toddlers can breathe easy.
As for older children, there is the three-storey tube slide (Min. height of 1.2m) to induce some adrenaline.
It will take a fair bit of climbing to get to the top, but the experience will be totally worth it as one gets to slide through the snaking blue tube over the kiddy Water Play area.
And landing with a a giant splash at the end of it all!
Outrageously fun? You betcha.
In fact, I lost count of the number of times the boys went whizzing through the tube slide.
For the more serious swimmers, there are two 50-metre pools, one being a Teaching Pool and the other is a sheltered Competition Pool.
But the one thing never fails to win over my monkies at any water-themed attractions is this.
Lazy River! For some reason, the monkies always derive great joy in drifting along one... with this particular time being even more significant as it marked the first time that Ale was able to walk her way throughout the entire river (Water height: 0.8m). Okay, tip-toe is more like it but who cares when everyone is having fun?
Or if you are feeling lazy, you can rent a float - $5 rental, $3 refundable - and get pushed along the lazy river too.
As with the tube slide, we must have gone through the perimeter of the Lazy River more than 15 times! But who's counting?
For me though, the biggest draw of the Jurong West Aquatic Centre has got to be the price. Admission fees on a Weekend are $2 per adult and $1 per child. Yes, it is THAT affordable! For a fraction - $7 for the entire family - of what I have to pay at the bigger Water Theme Parks, all of us had as much fun. Well, almost but close enough.
And you can be sure that we will be sussing out other public Swimming Complexes in the weeks to come!
Jurong West Aquatic Centre
20 Jurong West St 93, Singapore 648965
Nearest MRT: Pioneer Station
Opening Hours: 8am - 9.30pm (Wednesday to Monday & Public Holidays) *Closed every Tuesday
Admission Fees: Weekdays - Adults $1.50 Children $0.80 | Weekends - Adults $2, children $1