May 23, 2017

Fun Activities Not to be Missed at Army Open House 2017

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UPDATE: Due to overwhelming response, the Army Open House 2017 public days will now be extended to 29 May 2017, Monday from 9am to 8pm!

The last Army Open House (AOH) was held at F1 Pit Building 5 years ago and come this 27/28 May 2017 weekend, it makes a rousing return - bigger and better than before! 

Army Open House 2017 promises to be a fun and immersive showcase of the latest military vehicles, weaponry, action-packed activities... including a heartfelt tribute to 50 years of National Service, in recognition of those who have served National Service over the years.

In fact, the organisers have intentionally made it accessible to everyone from all walks of life - whether you are a toddler, teen, young working adult, parent or senior citizen. And trust me when I say the entire area that AOH covers is HUGE with both outdoor and air-conditioned (phew!) areas.

Here are the happening stuff that you can expect at AOH 2017:

Army Platforms Display

Located right in front of the F1 Pit Building is a long stretch of military vehicles on display.

Featuring the Singapore Army's latest gadgets, weapon systems and of course all the fighting machines that kids (and adults) love, this is the perennial favourite for many to go trigger-happy with the camera.

As an added bonus, most of the vehicles at the Static Display also allow the public to climb onboard for a closer look. Kids will love the experience, especially when they get to sit in the cockpit of this Apache attack helicopter!

Battlefield Zone

Boasting a firing range and urban course, this is where the public can get hands-on with military weapons such as firing the SAR21 rifle or the anti-armour system Matador. There is no clear-cut minimum age, but kids generally have to be able to lift the weapon as a prerequisite.

Battle Rides

Okay, this will definitely be one of the hottest activity of AOH 2017 as the public will be able to hop on six types of warfighting vehicles.

There will be four land vehicles to choose from, the Terrex Infantry Carrier Vehicle, Bronco ATTC, Light Strike Vehicle and Peacekeeper Protected Response Vehicle (below photo).

Water rides include the Light Amphibious Resupply Cargo vehicle (LARC V) and the M3G, a self-propelled military raft utilised by the Singapore Army’s Combat Engineers.

I got a chance sail down the waters of Marina Bay on the M3G military raft, and I can imagine how much this will thrill the kids!

At the previous AOH, queues for the military vehicles got unbearably long so for this year's edition, visitors will just need to head to the Battles Rides Registration tent to register for a ride of their choice at a selected timing. Then they will have to make their way to the chosen ride at that timing - much like Disneyland's Fastpass.

The Battle Rides have a minimum height of 1.2m, and covered shoes are a MUST when going for the rides.

Soldier Strong Obstacle Course

For the first time, there will be a obstacle course which requires participants to clear 7 obstacles. The beauty of the obstacle course is it is suited for BOTH parent and child, with obstacles catering to adults and kids positioned side by side so that they will be able to clear them together.

First up, scale up the Low Wall... which will definitely bring back (painful?) memories of the old Standard Obstacle Course (SOC).

Next, do the Farmer's Walk where participants will be required to carry a 15kg or 20kg sandbag (6kg or 8kg for kids) to and from a distance of 10m.

Then, traverse from one end of the tyres to the opposite end, one after the other at the Tyre Hop.

The obstacle course then gets more physical with the Swing Bar, where participants must get across from one end to the other using the overhead bars. For kids, there is a lower swing bar.

Tyre Flip is next and as the name implies, adults get to flip a 3-tonner tyre for a distance of 10m. That's 101kg worth of tyre in case you are wondering.

Kids have it relatively easier - flipping a land-rover tyre.

Low Rope. The bane of my SOC while I was in the army eons ago, adults will have to climb up a 3.5m-high rope while kids have the luxury of going up a rope ladder.

The final obstacle will see parent and child pulling themselves up on an inclined Ramp and heading down the other side. Very fun!

Dynamic Defence Display Show

The highlight of AOH 2017, the show will take place at the seating stands area in front of the Flyer. The 30-minute show will be held twice each day during the weekend at 10am & 3pm on Saturday & Monday and 10am & 4pm on Sunday. Seating capacity is 3,000 and is at a first-come-first-served basis.

The show kicks off with a display by military dogs who are put through their paces by their handlers.

The adrenaline then pumps up a few notches after that, with a mighty display of the Army's armoured vehicles, such as the Terrex infantry carrier vehicle and the Leopard 2 armoured engineer vehicle.

A terror drill, simulating a bomb situation, will also be held during the show, involving the Special Operations Task Force for the first time. And if you are a fan of the Red Lions, be sure to look up into the sky at some point during the show too!

At 7.30pm on both days, there will also be a Central Band Performance which will showcase the SAF Central Band, MP Drill Squad and the SAF Music and Drama Company.

NS50 Showcase

To celebrate 50 years of National Service, an experiential exhibition where visitors can learn about the evolution of NS over the past 50 years, as well as achievements of our national servicemen in defending and safeguarding Singapore has been set up at the F1 Pit Building.

Other than the fact that it is entirely air-conditioned (yay!), the exhibition is one of the most interactive and immersive I have experienced. Consisting of three zones, visitors will be able to have plenty of photo opportunities like these 2 “trick art” installations of recruits doing log PT and recruits toss their jockey caps into the air after the Passing Out Parade.

While the first zone captures the spirit of Basic Military Training (BMT) over the years, the second zone zooms in on the operations and capabilities of the SAF and Home Team. Do check out the ultra-cool interactive table and dress up in virtual combat gear there!

Steady pom pi pi

The final zone is a place for pledges and self-reflection, which calls for all Singaporeans to renew the commitment to Singapore and National Service.

Oh, and see if you can spot our contribution too!

Kids Zone

Remember what I said about AOH 2017 being suitable for everyone, from the young to the pioneer? Fret not if you child is not able to go on the Battle Rides or try out the firing of the weapons due to height restrictions. Just head up to the second level of the F1 Pit Building for one designed specially for kids. Plus, it's all air-conditioned!

Here, kids will be able to dabble in Art & Craft activities, don kid-sized army uniforms, experience camouļ¬‚age face painting, and even try a mini obstacle course! By the way, I think the low wall is super cute.

Can't hit the 1.2m height for Battle Rides? Younger kids can go on a kiddy version ride of their own here!

Other Activities on Level 2

Visitors can also try their hand at virtual war games in a room located just beside the Kids Zone.

If you are game enough, you can even try flying a drone indoors or use night vision goggles to navigate a darkened course at the Night Walk Zone.

So if you are planning to head down to AOH 2017 with the family this weekend, here are a few tips:

- AOH is open on 27 and 28 May from 9am to 8pm, admission is FREE.
- There is only ONE entry point and 3 exit points. The entrance is located just before the Singapore Flyer (bottom right in the map below).

Click to enlarge

- NO parking available onsite at F1 Pit Building. Nearest parking is at Flyer, or Marina Square.
- Food and drinks are sold onsite, in an huge air-conditioned tent.
- Toilets are available at the F1 Pit Building.
- It can get really hot so bring plenty of water and sunblock.
- For a chance to win exclusive AOH souvenirs, download the Army Open House 2017 mobile app via the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Play an Army Hunt game where you can hunt for army vehicles scattered around AOH (like Pokemon Go) for a chance to redeem gifts! The app also provides news and contains a map of the various exhibits at Army Open House 2017.

- If you cannot make it to AOH 2017 this weekend, it will travel to the heartlands on a smaller scale at the following locations and dates: Punggol (open field beside Punggol MRT Station): 2 - 4 June 2017 (10am - 10pm) & Jurong East (open fields beside Jurong East MRT Station): 9 - 11 June 2017 (10am - 10pm).

Useful Information

Army Open House 2017
Venue: F1 Pit Building
Dates: 27, 288 & 29 May 2017
Time: 9am - 8pm
Admission: FREE. All rides and activities are FREE.

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