Feb 29, 2016

Kids Crazy Over Construction Vehicles? Diggersite Lets Them Operate a REAL Excavator!

UPDATE: 18/09/2017 - Diggersite has moved. See HERE for more information.

UPDATE (8 Mar 2017): Diggersite will re-open at ORTO on 10 March 2017. Check out its new premise here: www.cheekiemonkie.net/2017/03/diggersite-orto-singapore-review.html

UPDATE: Diggersite's last day of operations at East Coast is on 23 February 2017 as Raintree Cove at East Coast Park will be closed. Diggersite will be moving to ORTO in Yishun so stay tuned for its opening date.

There is just something about construction machinery in the eyes of young kids. When Ash and Ayd were younger, they were absolutely enamoured by the gigantic machines in the form of cranes, dumper trucks and the perennial fave - excavators.

Now, there is a place in Singapore for all the little diggers to realise their dream of operating a real-life working excavator!

Located at Raintree Cove, East Coast Park (near Burger King and beside East Coast Prawning), Diggersite opened this year and offers both adults and kids realistic experience in operating smaller scale construction machinery.

Yes, these are no toys. They are REAL machinery!

There are a total of FIVEstations - 4 outdoor and 1 indoor. The favourite station arguably has to be the enclosed sandpit, where kids are tasked to scoop bricks out while operating an excavator.

UPDATE: The outdoor areas now have tentage to provide shelter from the sun.

There are a total of four excavators at this station and even then, there was a steady stream of kids waiting for their turns.

Considering that the Diggers work like a real excavator with their hydraulically controlled arms, it is no wonder they are a hit with the kids!

The recommended age is from 2 years and above. Children under 6 years old must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

If the kids are too young to operate the excavator themselves, they are allowed to sit on their parent's lap. (Something tells me the parent will be delighted at the chance to operate the excavator!) But do note that only one child is allowed per ride.

The other outdoor station is aptly named Wrecking Ball and involves knocking over plastic bottles using a ball attached to the arm of the excavator.

If you have older kids aged 7 and above, I reckon they will enjoy the other 2 new stations more... simply because they recover more skill. Rather than scooping up sand, they are tasked to operate the excavators to complete certain goals. Like the Log Loading station where they have to pick up logs using the machine and place them into the wheelbarrow.

The boys, though, loved the Log Bowling station most as they got to release a log down a ramp and attempt to knock over three 'bowling pins'.

Sun too hot? Take shelter from heat at Diggersite's indoor station, where kids will be able to grab colourful balls using a giant claw from the comfort of a digger.

Interested to head down? Here are a few things to take note of:

- Each station is priced at $7. There is a bundle promotion of $18 for 3 rides.

- Each ride duration is for 5 minutes.

- Complimentary usage of safety helmet and vest.

- The recommended age is from 2 years and above. Children under 6 years old must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

- No upper age limit as even adults are welcome.

- Opening hours are from 10am to 10pm daily.

- Due to the machinery involved, avoid wearing flip-flops or sandals as they do not protect the feet.

- Predictably, weekends and public holidays are peak periods to visit. So expect to wait much longer for the excavator rides.

- Outdoor stations are not sheltered. So do bring along hats or sunblock in case the queues get too long.

The monkies did not get a chance to try out the excavators though... because the queues were rather long and we had to rush off to another place. But I could see they were itching to try the excavators. And yes, even Ale too!

$7 for a 5-minute worth of digging time isn't exactly cheap but if you have a child who is tremendously crazy about construction vehicles, the experience of having the chance to take control of an excavator for themselves (and seeing the thrill and excitement on their faces) makes it worth every cent.

Diggersite has set up a branch in the West too!

Dig over here for more information on its branch at JCube: www.cheekiemonkie.net/2016/07/diggersite-singapore-jcube-west-review.html

Useful Information

Diggersite @ East Coast
Address: Raintree Cove, 1020 East Coast Parkway, #01-04, Singapore 449878
Opening hours: 10am - 10pm daily
Cost: $7 per ride (5 minutes). Bundle promotion of $18 for 3 rides. Membership Card $50 for 10 rides.
Website: www.facebook.com/diggersite

Diggersite @ JCube
Address: JCube, 2 Jurong East Central 1, #03-17 Singapore 609731
Cost: $7 per ride (5 minutes). Bundle promotion of $18 for 3 rides. Membership Card $50 for 10 rides.

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Feb 26, 2016

These 10 Family-Friendly Activities Are Happening Once A Month & They're All FREE!

If you have been following my blog for some time, you will know that there is no way that Singapore is boring for families! There are places like the parks, beaches and playgrounds that kids can run, play and tumble at... and then there are places, or rather activities, that only happen once a month making it truly special outing for everyone in the family.

From catching a glimpse of a guard changing ceremony and walking down a car-free road to specially-curated activities for kids at museums and sailing in the Marina Bay, mark these events down your calendar and prepare for a year's worth of fun.

And you know what is the best part? They are ALL FREE to enjoy!

1. Changing of Ceremonial Guards Ceremony

On the first Sunday of every month (except July and August), a Singapore tradition since 1969 takes place outside the gates of the Istana - the changing of the Istana Ceremonial Guards.

The main role of the Istana Ceremonial Guards is sentry duty at the Istana Main Entrance along Orchard Road and at the entrance of the Istana Building. A platoon of 20 guards from Singapore Armed Forces Military Police Command would perform duties in the Istana for one month before another unit takes over. The take-over by a new unit is signified by the Changing of Guards Ceremony.

The format of the Ceremony is based on the British Changing of Guards Ceremony at Buckingham Palace, England. The in-coming Guards march from Koek Road (beside OG Orchard Point) to meet the out-going Guards at the main entrance of the Istana. The Changing of the Guards Ceremony is then carried out at the entrance of the Istana with military bands in attendance. Included in the ceremony is a Rifle Precision Drill Performance.

The guards start marching from the starting point at approximately 5.45pm, with the ceremony starting at 6pm in front of the Istana Gate and will end before 6.30pm.

Dates: 6 March 2016 | 3 April 2016 | 1 May 2016 | 5 June 2016 | 4 September 2016 | 2 October 2016 | 6 November 2016 | 4 December 2016
*Note: Dates may be subject to changes.
Time: 5.45pm onwards
Venue: The Istana, Orchard Road, Singapore 238823 (Near Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station)
Admission: FREE

2. Car-Free Sunday SG

On every last Sunday of the month, the Civic and Central Business District will be transformed into a cycle-friendly, walkable and activity-filled public space with something for everyone as roads around the Padang, together with Fullerton Road, will be fully closed to vehicles from 7am onwards.

And the next Car-Free Sunday SG will be taking place on 27 March 2016! The streets will come alive for families, joggers and cyclists who can look forward to activities ranging from fitness group exercises, kid-friendly activities to a breakfast picnic. For full details on the list of activities and timings, visit HERE.

Dates: Last Sunday of the Month
Time: 7am - 11.30am
Venue: Padang and surrounding area
Admission: FREE

3. Saturdays@ACM

On the first Saturday of every month, Asian Civilisations Museum opens its doors to everyone with free and engaging activities for kids! Enjoy storytelling sessions, craft activities and drama performances with the family.

The upcoming Saturdays@ACM will be taking place on 5 March 2016 and will takes on an Easter theme. Celebrate Easter early with ACM and let the kiddos go on a treasure hunt in the galleries and watch a drama performance. Definitely an egg-citing time at the museum!

Dates: First Saturday of the month
Time: 1pm - 5pm
Venue: Asian Civilisations Museum
Admission: FREE
More details HERE

4. Straits Family Sunday @ Peranakan Museum

Every second Sunday of each month, Peranakan Museum invites all families to enjoy an uplifting cultural weekend. Admission is complimentary and families will be able to spend a fun day at the museum learning more about the highlights of Peranakan culture through a specially curated experience.

Discover the meanings behind Peranakan designs and motifs in the special guided tours for children. Dress up with the whole family in batik or a sarong kebaya, and create your own masterpiece inspired by objects on display in the galleries. The next Straits Family Sunday is taking place on 13 March 2016.

Dates: Second Sunday of the month
Time: 1pm - 5pm
Venue: Peranakan Museum
Admission: FREE
More details HERE

5. Gardeners' Day Out

HortPark's signature event, Gardeners' Day Out, is held on a Saturday every month (except July & August 2016 due to Singapore Garden Festival 2016). Lined up with gardening and lifestyle activities for everyone, favourite highlights include a Gardeners' Market, Food Bazaar, free talks and demonstrations, free garden tours of HortPark and kids' activities like storytelling and art & craft! The next edition of Gardeners' Day Out will be happening on 12 March 2016.

Dates: Once a month (except July 2016 and August 2016).
*Check the upcoming edition HERE
Time: 9am - 5pm
Venue: HortPArk
Admission: FREE

6. DBS Marina Bay Public Sailing Programme

Sail in Marina Bay for free! Launched in 2013, the DBS Marina Sailing Programme provides the public with an opportunity to get into the Marina Reservoir and enjoy the view of the bay from a different perspective.

Slots for the following month usually open up for registration towards the end of each month. But do note that slots are always filled very quickly as soon as they are released due to the popularity of the Progamme!  So it pasys to bookmark the booking page HERE or stay updated via DBS' Facebook page. Anyone can sign up!

Dates: One or two weekends every month
Time: Various time slots
Venue: Marina Bay
Admission: FREE


One Friday night of each month, the Red Dot Design Museum Singapore hosts a creative platform, MAAD (Market of Artists And Designers) for enterprising creatives to showcase their works and talents. Expect a quirky marketplace of original creations ranging from mini artisanal postcards, fashion and crafts, to literature, photography and furniture. From 9pm to midnight, home-grown bands take the stage, so take the chance stay up late with the kids and sway to the groove!

Dates: One Friday of every month (Stay updated HERE)
Time: 5pm - 12 midnight
Venue: Red Dot Museum
Admission: FREE
Website: www.museum.red-dot.sg/maad

8. Stargazing at Science Centre Singapore

If your little ones love gazing at stars (and for free!), there is no need to wait once every month! Every Friday night, head to the the Singapore Science Centre Observatory for a night under the stars. Little astronomers can take turns looking through the telescopes at various objects visible in the sky. Some additional activities such as talks and slide shows will be held during special events.

Fun fact: The Singapore Science Centre Observatory is one of the few in the world that is located next to the Equator. As a result, this unique position opens up more vistas in the sky enabling one to view more of the night sky!

Dates: Every Friday
Time: 7.45pm - 10pm
Venue: The Observatory (at the Omni-Theatre building)
Admission: FREE

9. Fire Station Open House

Every Saturday mornings between 9am and 11am, ALL fire stations, except Jurong Island Fire Station, open their doors to the public. Unless you are visiting in a group of more than 10 people, no prior registration is required. Just walk in and let the kids clamber onto a real fire engine, spray the water hose and even take a ride up the mechanical ladder! Definitely an experience to thrill every child. For more information, visit HERE.

Dates: Every Saturday morning
Time: 9am - 11am
Venue: All fire stations, except Jurong Island Fire Station
Admission: FREE
Website: www.scdf.gov.sg/content/scdf_internet/en/scdf_247/others/visit_our_fire_stations.html

10. Footprints Walking Tour

Did you know there are FREE walking tours that trace Singapore’s roots from her humble colonial trading port beginnings along the Singapore River to the modern home we have today? Best of all, the tours take place EVERY weekend, instead of once per month!

Led by a team of enterprising, enthusiastic and passionate walking guides from the Nanyang Technological University’s Tourism and Hospitality Management Club, Singapore Footprints organises walking tours that allow participants to marvel at the modern developments around Marina Bay and venture off the beaten track onto a cultural trail to appreciate how the different races and religious communities co-exist harmoniously in our multi-racial society.

There are currently two tours available: Singapore River.Bras Basah.Bugis Tour which brings participants down the scenic banks of the Singapore River and through the monumental enclaves of the Bras Basah & Bugis Precinct AND Chinatown Tour:Footprints of our Forefather Tour where stories and experiences of our pioneers will be shared.

The great thing about the tours is NO registration is required for the Singapore River.Bras Basah.Bugis Tour. All you need to do is turn up at the meeting point and join in the fun! The tours last slightly over 2 hours, and are FREE.

Dates & Time:
Singapore River.Bras Basah.Bugis Tour
Every Saturday and Sunday, Rain or Shine
Meeting Point: Raffles Place MRT Exit B, street level
Meeting Time: 4:15pm
Tour departs at 4.30pm sharp
*No sign ups required – just show up!

Chinatown Tour: Footprints of our Forefathers
Every Saturday morning
Meeting Point: In front of Chinatown Visitor Centre
Meeting Time: 9.15am
Tour departs at 9.30am
*Sign up at Chinatown Visitor Centre, or email singaporefootprints@gmail.com.

Website: singaporefootprints.com


Then there are some activities for families that do not take place every month. Rather, they spring up once every few months, or in some cases whenever the public holidays roll along.

Singapore Really Really Free Market

The Really Really Free Market is a temporary market based on the concept of giving and building a community based on sharing resources, caring for one another and improving the collective lives of all. No need to bring your wallet along as EVERYTHING IS FREE! Apart from the books, CDs, toys and goods, there will be people cutting hair, doing tarot card reading, singing and writing poetry too. You are encouraged to share your own stuff as well by giving them to others who need them!

The upcoming one will be taking place this Sunday, 28 February 2016 at Jurong Central Park (near Jurong Point) between 2pm and 6pm. For future editions, stay updated via its Facebook page.

Istana Open House

The Istana Grounds is open to the public in celebration of Chinese New Year, Deepavali,  Hari Raya Puasa, Labour Day and National Day. There will be a variety of performances on the grounds during the Open House. For an entrance fee of $2, visitors could tour selected function rooms in the Istana building and view a special display of gifts presented to the President and the Prime Minister. There are also guided tours of the Istana building, conducted by the Preservation of Sites and Monuments (PSM) volunteers. Istana souvenirs are also sold at the Open House. All proceeds from the sale of the souvenirs and the entrance fees collected are donated to charity.

Dates: Chinese New Year (2nd Day) 9 February 2016 | Labour Day (Actual Day) 1 May 2016 | Hari Raya Puasa (Actual Day) 6 July 2016 | National Day 30 July 2016 | Deepavali (Actual Day) 29 October 2016
Time: 8.30am - 6pm
Venue: Istana (Entrance to the Istana grounds is via the main gate at Orchard Road)
Admission: FREE for Singaporeans and Singapore permanent residents.  Other visitors are required to pay an entrance fee of $2 per person.

Tanjong Pagar Railway Station Open House

The old railway station at Tanjong Pagar opens its doors on public holidays. The public can enter the railway station using the main entrance along Keppel Road or through the side entrance along Spottiswoode Park Road. Read about our previous experience HERE.

Dates: Public Holidays.
*Stay updated regarding the Open House dates via Singapore Land Authority's Facebook Page.
Time: 9am - 6pm
Venue: Tanjong Pagar Railway Station
Admission: FREE

Do you know of any more events or activities that take place only once a month or on an ad-hoc basis? Share them with me in the comments below!


Speaking of the Fire Station Open House mentioned in the article, there is a NEW PLAY-DOH product in town - Town Firehouse!

Create an emergency fire scene with the stackable PLAY-DOH cans, and help the firefighter prepare by designing a wild hairstyle for him and putting on his hat after that! Help him to battle the flames and put the fire out with the water canon extruder, or make a hose with the fire hydrant, or simply chop the flames out with the firefighter's axe!

Don't forget to take his dog out for a walk before it faces its own emergency. Yes, you can make the dog poop out PLAY-DOH... and it tickled Ale so much!


Congratulations to the following 2 winners who have each won a set of PLAY-DOH Town Firehouse!

1. Lee Pei Si
2. Roger Lim

Please email me at kelvin@bloggerati.me by 14 Aug 2016 for prize collection details. Thanks!

And I have TWO sets to giveaway!

For a chance to win, all you have to do is do the following:

1. LIKE Hasbro Singapore's Facebook page HERE.

SHARE a PLAY-DOH memory that you had with your kids. Leave your comment below in the blog post OR on our Cheekiemonkies' Facebook corresponding post HERE.

NOTE: You have to complete both steps in order to qualify for the giveaway.

SHARE this blog post of the giveaway on Facebook for another bonus chance! Remember to set your profile to public so that I can see the shared post.

Giveaway ends on 5 August 2016, 2359 hours.

Good Luck! :)

PLAY-DOH Town Firehouse can be enjoyed among children aged 3 years & above, and is retailing in major toys' departmental stores at S$49.90.

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Feb 25, 2016

6 Reasons Why Kids (& Parents) Will Love Holiday Inn Pattaya

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Media Review

After our two nights at Mercure Pattaya Ocean Resort which houses its own mini waterpark, I thought family-friendly resorts in Pattaya could not get any more amazing for kids.

I was wrong.

Just WOW.

How AWESOME is it to snooze in the mouth of a whale???

Actually I need not be surprised. We first had a taste of Holiday Inn's family-friendly facilities when we visited Holiday Inn Resort Mai Khao Beach and Holiday Inn Resort Phuket (Patong) in 2014, and the monkies were blown away by their respective Kids Rooms.

Similarly, Holiday Inn Pattaya is a family-friendly and child-oriented hotel in North Pattaya and situated beside Mercure Pattaya Ocean Resort. The beachfront hotel features two towers - the Executive Tower geared towards business travellers and the Bay Tower more suited for couples and family holiday-makers.

To be honest, the colourful Kids Rooms at Holiday Inn Pattaya is enough to make the monkies fall in love with the hotel. But just in case the parents need a little more convincing, here are a few more reasons:

1. Spacious & Comfortable Rooms with a Fantastic Sea View

All accommodation at Holiday Inn Pattaya's Bay Tower features great views of Pattaya Bay and floor-to-ceiling windows, complete with free sea breezes on your own private balcony.

Just. take. a. look. at. that. kick. ass. view.

I could seriously just lie in bed the whole day.

Or in the bathtub.

2. Moby Dick-themed Kids Rooms

To ensure that your kids squeal in delight, book the Ocean View Family Suite (only on the 25th and 26th floors of the Bay Tower) which essentially consists of 2 interconnected rooms - one for the parents and a specially designed room with whale beds and colourful sea motifs for the kids.

To top everything off, the Kids Room also comes equipped with this.

Cue more squeals of delight then.

As you can probably guess, the monkies were over the moon with the themed room.

Oh, and I do not suggest trying this at home. Try this at a kid-friendly resort instead.😂

3. Swimming Facilities

Holiday Inn Pattaya has total of 4 unique swimming pools - one Infinity Pool at the Executive Tower, two Pools at Bay Tower and one dip pool beside Havana restaurant.

Of course, the only pool that mattered to the monkies was the Kids Pool.

With only one water slide and a few water fountains, it is definitely no waterpark but it still offers a great respite from the heat... especially if parents are not too keen on hitting the beach.

4. Kid's Club

What is a family resort without the presence of a Kid's Club?

From the indoor ball pit, play toys, art & craft tables, to the Wii and computer terminals, the Kid's Club is FREE for all hotel guests' kids to enjoy and I have no doubt that every single child will be duly kept entertained in the colourful premises. At least mine were.

The Kid’s Club also offers a wealth of activities throughout the day ranging from candle making, Thai costumes, model painting, greeting card making, doll painting and more. Some of the craft-making activities are chargeable and parents are able to obtain a calendar of events and activities during their stay, and select the time slots for their kids to attend.

If your kids are aged between 4 and 12, they can be left to the Kid's Club team staff's care while parents sneak off to enjoy Holiday Inn Pattaya's other recreational facilities in the form of a steam room, sauna, Fitness Center and even Yoga classes!

Parents with older kids may wish to head to the Kid's Club at the Executive Tower instead, where a table tennis table, ice hockey table and football table await.

5. Kids Stay and Eat Free at Holiday Inn Pattaya!

At Holiday Inn Pattaya, kids are the kings. Not only will children (age 12 years and under) enjoy a complimentary stay if they share the same room as their parents, they also receive a complimentary meal with every meal that their parents order!

And speaking of meals, Holiday Inn Pattaya recently revamped its Kids Menu in partnership with Nutrition Australia, a non-profit organisation inspiring healthy eating through nutrition education, information and advisory services. Featuring flavourful and playfully-presented dishes to appeal to the small ones’ big imaginations, the new menu has been created with nutrition at the heart, so parents can rest assured knowing their kids are being fed well.

Some of the menu criteria included ensuring that all meals contain a nutritious balance of foods from the core food groups; are low in saturated fats, added sugar and salt; promote food variety; and reflect current standards and dietary guidelines.

All meals will provide a balance of vegetables, meat and wholegrain foods plus fruit or dairy where relevant, offering a variety of colours, flavours and textures to educate and encourage kids to enjoy healthy eating.

Ale had the Fish & Chips, which was not deep-fried but baked instead. It turned out that she loved it so much more than the usual fried Fish & Chips that she polished off everything! Erm, everything except the salad. Heh.

6. Location, Location, Location

Occupying a beachfront location at North Pattaya, Holiday Inn Pattaya is far away from Pattaya's infamous night entertainment. It offers direct access to the beach just 300 meters away, and has plenty of restaurants and cafes right at its doorstep. But if you know us, we will choose 'hawker-style' food anytime and happily for us, there is an open-air food court located just behind the hotel!

The beef soup noodles and chicken wings are really delicious by the way!

The hotel also offers a FREE shuttle service to the nearby CentralFestival Pattaya Beach Shopping Mall (a 5-minute ride), billed as Asia's largest Beachfront mall and Pattaya's largest shopping mall. In addition, it is nearby to many other attractions: Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum (10 min); Underwater World Aquarium (17 min); Pattaya Sheep Farm (20 min); Pattaya Floating Market (22 min) and Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden (37 min).

Fresh, funky, family-friendly with a fabulous Kids Room to boot, I cannot recommend Holiday Inn Pattaya enough if you are thinking of holidaying with the family in Pattaya.

The wifey and I loved the scenic ocean views of our rooms while the monkies adored their colourful whale room (as they call it) and played themselves silly at the Kids pool or at the free Kids’ Club - testament enough of a perfect holiday resort!

Useful Information

Holiday Inn Pattaya 
463/68, 463/99 Pattaya Sai 1 Road, Nongprue
Banglamung, Pattaya Chonburi 20150, Thailand

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