Changi Airport must one of the few airports in the world that its country's residents go to have meals, do some shopping or just hang out, even if they are not flying anywhere. Simply because, while most airports are a gateway to overseas destinations, Changi Airport is already quite the kids-friendly destination in itself.
For us, we love going down to Changi Airport even from the time when we only had Ash. It is chock full of activities for children - many of which are free! - and families can easily spend more than half a day shuttling the public spaces between three terminals.
So if you are intending to bring your kids down to Changi Airport for a day's worth of fun, here is my list of stuff that they will love. No passport required.
Seasonal Events for Children
Throughout the year - mainly during the School Holidays in March, June, September and December - a ton of interactive activities geared towards children will be rolled out. These activities are usually held at Terminal 3, Level 2 and behind Departure Check-in Row 11. Past years' events include Angry Birds Space, Spongebob Squarepants' Pineapple home and an enormous bouncy castle cum slide.
For this year's June School Holidays, visitors will be transported to the World Next Door, Indonesia where not only will kids get to walk through an interactive exhibition and standing a chance to redeem a limited edition event souvenir, they will get the chance to put their surfing skills to the test.
Else, the mini Indoor Playground disguised in the form of a Marine Fun Zone will most definitely illicit crazy screams from the kiddos.
For more details on play redemption, opening hours and age & height restrictions, visit HERE.
By far, this is one of the most crowded children's playground I have ever seen. It is always teeming with toddlers and children, and I think the location has something to do with its popularity. Located near the Basement 2 Fountain in Terminal 3, it is smack in the middle of shops. Ample seats form the perimeter of the playground, which makes it an ideal spot for parents to rest their legs while their kids put theirs to work.
For a better playground experience though, head to the Canopy Playground at the Viewing Mall of Terminal 1 (Level 3).
Previously, there was admission charges for entry to the playground. So I was extremely surprised that it has been converted to a FREE playground since Aug 2013!
Children will no doubt be delighted at the forest-themed indoor playground, which comes fully padded and child-safe. Recommended for children between 18 months and 12 years old, they can choose to bounce on the trampoline or slide down one of the two tunnel slides. The playground is open daily from 10.30am to 10.30pm.
Slide @ T3
Playground slides pack no kick? Then how about the world's tallest slide in an airport?
Standing at a height of 12 metres high (or four storeys tall) at Level 1, watch your kids shriek their way down the slide to Basement 3 and be back up for more! Redeem one ride for every $10 spent at Changi Airport in a single receipt. *Participants have to be 8 years old and above, and at least 1.3 metres tall.
For the faint-hearted, you can try the less terrifying one-and-a-half-storey slide at Basement 2. This slide is FREE with no minimum spend required. *Participants have to be 6 years old and above, and at least 1.1 metres tall.
Wood Block Rubbing Stations
Much like the stations that can be found in the transit areas of the Airport (See my '15 Fun Activities for Kids before Boarding at Singapore Changi Airport' post), these stations can be found near the B2 fountain in Terminal 3. An engaging, and free art activity to keep the children occupied.
If your kids are crazy over planes, just plonk them down at the Viewing Galleries at either of the three Terminals. These are great spots for them to get a view of the planes as they taxi in and berth at the gates.
Changi Aviation Gallery
The Changi Aviation Gallery located at Changi Airport's Terminal 3 provides young aviation enthusiasts with interesting insights into Changi's ground operations and the eventful history of aviation in Singapore. A multi-sensory zone with hands-on interactive displays, the gallery shocases flying operations featuring the 'in-the-air' activities that take place at the airport as well as two display cases featuring model airplanes so that children can see an A380 upclose. Or if they crave for the real deal, the gallery also boasts a runway-side view of planes landing and taking off.
Beautiful and hypnotic, the Kinetic Rain sculpture is a piece of installation art featuring 1,216 bronze droplets that swirl and dance so as to depict the joy of travel.
Collectively, the droplets morph into 16 different programmed shapes such as an airplane, hot air balloon, flock of birds, dragon or a kite. Carrying an aviation theme, the key element in every shape shows the movement of flight through slow, fluid movements.
Located at the Departure Hall of Terminal 1, this sculpture never fails to captivate the monkies every single time.
When Ash was a young toddler, he has this obsession with taking the Skytrain at the Airport. So you can imagine how many times we have found ourselves zipping between terminals back then.
But it is truly a simple pleasure. And FREE too. A perennial favourite with kids has got to be snagging the front view of the train and watching it make its way along the rail tracks. For best mileage, go on the Skytrain ride between Terminal 1 and 3 and take in the magnificent view of the the Air Traffic Control Tower in the process.
Wide Spaces (Lots and lots of them)
Where else in Singapore can you find a place with so much open spaces for children to literally run amok? And in air-conditioned comfort too!
No matter which terminal you go to, other terminals are just as easily accessed via the Skytrain. Best of all, there are plenty of sculptures and garden exhibits to keep the young ones' eyes busy!
Food, Glorious Food
After all those activities, stomachs are bound to be rumbling. There is a wide range of restaurants serving different cuisines, from fast food to bars and Chinese, Japanese & Western restaurant chains.
In fact, the dining options are so comparable to those found in a shopping mall that it can get mind-boggling at times.
Just ask the boys... and Ale, who just could not make up their minds.
Check out the full listing of dining establishments HERE.
Of course, a family outing is never complete if there isn't something for the adults too. And nothing quite does it like shopping! To sweeten the shopping experience, most retail outlets in the public areas of the three Terminals absorb the 7% GST, resulting in more savings as compared to shopping in a local mall. For a list of participating outlets, see them HERE.
Or do you fancy your chance in becoming the next Changi Millionaire with your shopping?
So yes, there is an awful lot to do at Changi Airport for families with children. Best of all, most of the activities are free of charge! The next time you are looking to escape from the maddening shopping mall crowds in town, Changi Airport could be your answer to finding a good place to spend time as a family, and keeping the kids occupied with activities.
What are your family's favourite experiences at Changi Airport? Share them with me in the comments section below!