The time is now for the western part of Singapore to get all happening and fun. Besides being home to three ultra enjoyable Public Swimming Complexes (Jurong West Aquatic Centre, Jurong East Swimming Complex & Choa Chu Kang Swimming Complex) and a deluge of new shopping malls, it now has the largest thematic outdoor playground in a shopping mall. And it is all FREE!
Yes, that playground is Westgate Wonderland located on Level 4 of the newly-opened Westgate Shopping Mall in Jurong East. We were there a few weekends back but the queue to enter was so long that it stretched all the way into the air-conditioned shopping areas! No way was I ever going to join the insane queue, but the monkies did make me promise to bring them back again.
And so I did.
We went back one day before the March School Holidays commenced and the crowd was visibly lesser.
The playground adopts a Fantasy Garden Theme, and is split primarily into three zones - one dry play area each for those aged below 5 years and for older children, and a wet play area for everyone.
The monkies first checked out the play area meant for kids aged 5 years and below, which stocked a fair amount of interactive play structures.
See the bell-like blue flowers in the right of the photo above? Those were my fave part of the play area, and the monkies too I highly suspect. These blue bells respond to touch with musical sounds and lights, and the monkies had a field day trying to orchestrate some erm, melodious music.
No slides or climbing structures can be found here but rather, the bright and cheery forms of bugs are present to encourage the kids to climb, jump and even pose on them.
Other interactive elements include spinning seats in the shape of oranges, large flowers with spinning canopies that create a kaleidoscope of light patterns on the ground, as well as standalone play stations.
As fun and interactive as the structures at the younger children's play area may be, they were never going to be enough for Ash and Ayd... and Ale too, who seems bent on following her 2 older brothers everywhere. So it was off to the play area meant for children aged between 5 and 12, where the action inevitably turned up quite a few notches!
Obviously the ultimate goal is to ascend to the top of the tree house, and my monkies needed no invitation to do just that.
I didn't follow them as they climbed and squeezed through the various netting structures on the way to the summit - because y'know, it can get really embarrassing if I get stuck somewhere in the middle - so I told the boys to keep a watchful eye on their sister along the way.
And although the tree house is meant for children aged 5 years and above, Ale completed the ascension quite effortlessly and emerged back on the ground via a meandering slide!
The tree house is connected to a giant play structure, so children can climb, slide, run or hang to their hearts' content.
The thing about the tree house is that parents can lose sight of their kids while they are in the process of climbing to the top as the upper portion is covered. So if you wish to keep your eyes on your kids instead, there is the option of a smaller climbing area beside the tree house - in the form of a giant flower pot.
Here, everything and everyone will be visible at all times, with an equally meandering slide awaiting the children when they reached the top.
Or if you get tired by just seeing all the kids climb and run amok, parents can grab a seat on the cute mushrooms, logs or fruit chairs while keeping an eye on them.
As you probably realise, the monkies visited the playground in their swimming attire. And it was all because of this.
At the heart of the water play area, a large watering can with an active spray nozzle towers over the children, making all them drenched and deliriously happy. Mini water fountains are also planted all around, increasing the splashing fun factor. Just ask Ale.
Half of the water play area comes under a roof, with the other half not sheltered from the sun. So yes, do come prepared with sunblock too as it can get really hot at times!
The tree house may endear to the boys most - they climbed it countless times - but for Ale, I think the water play area was a clear winner.
A nice touch at this playground is the presence of a Blow Dry Room (it's FREE to use!) and Changing Room located just besde the wet area.
So no excuse for parents for not letting their children frolic amid the water fountains then! Heh.
Brimming with bright colours and with a chock-ful of play structures to keep the kids physically stimulated, the Westgate Wonderland has got to be the best among all the shopping mall playgrounds in Singapore as of now. A must-visit as my monkies will attest to.
P.S. I heard that when night falls, the playground comes alive with special lighting and sound effects!
Westgate Shopping Mall, Level 4
3 Gateway Drive, Singapore 608532
(Next to Jurong East MRT station)
Opening Hours: 10am - 10pm daily
*Kids Shower Room and Baby Nursing Rooms are located at Level 4 too.