Jul 16, 2019

12 Best (& FREE!) Outdoor Playgrounds in the West of Singapore (UPDATED)

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With the opening of the massive Forest Ramble outdoor playground at Jurong Lake Gardens, I think the western part of Singapore now houses some of the most fun outdoor playgrounds for kids, and these include huge climbing structures, tall slides, a tank and even a Snakes-and-Ladders life-sized boardgame!


So if you are planning for some outdoor fun with the kids, why not head down to these outdoor playgrounds located in the West?

1. Lakeside Garden @ Jurong Lake Gardens


The new 53-hectare Lakeside Garden is one huge park that will be more than enough to offer a day of fun and activities whether it is for families, couples or individuals.

Kids will no doubt love Forest Ramble which is the largest nature playgarden in the heartlands. The 2.3-hectare playgarden is HUGE and comprises of 13 adventure stations for kids to explore, while being set in a natural environment consisting of streams and plants.


Most interestingly, the playgarden's stattions are designed to emulate the movement of animals which inhabit a freshwater swamp forest. What this means is the play structures are designed to allow kids to mimic the movements of a monkey, frog, heron, crab, squirrel and even an otter!


There are also water play areas in the park - the Tidal Play Pool and Sand Play Pool. Kids can enter the Tidal Play Pool by walking down a gentle slope. Periodically, water will gush out from the steps, making the water level rise (up to 30cm in depth) which gives kids the opportunity to learn about natural tide cycles! At the Sand Play Pool, kids can experience the varying textures of sand while observing how water movements create wave-sculpted ripples in the sand.


Visitors can also head to Rasau Walk, a 300-metre meandering boardwalk along the water’s edge or zoom towards Grasslands which is dominated by tall grasses and small hills - AND totally made for Instagram! Read more about Lakeside Garden in my review HERE.


Address: Along Yuan Ching Road and Boon Lay Way
Opening hours: Always open
*Forest Ramble & Water play areas are open from 8am to 10pm, and closed on Mondays except for Public Holidays
Admission: FREE

2. West Coast Park


The King of Playgrounds in the West has got be West Coast Park, home to SEVEN different types of play areas which cater to different age groups - from the toddlers to even teenagers. Standing at the core of the park is the Adventure Play Area with a giant spiderweb-like structure that allows kids (and adults) to scamper up to dizzying heights.


Scampering up the giant spiderweb-like structure is a no-brainer but there’s more – the Ninja Warrior-inspired obstacle courses and Flying Fox installations are a hit with any one seeking to challenge one’s agility.


The little ones do not get left out too - there are two non-sand areas which cater to the youngest of toddlers.


Address: Parallel to West Coast Highway

3. Jurong Spring Playfields

Instead of just the usual kids' playground and fitness corner found at most HDB estates, the Jurong Spring Playfields incorporate playgrounds, fitness corners, a basketball court and open green spaces to encourage residents as well as families to go outdoors and keep fit together.


For starters, kids will not be disappointed as there are a total of THREE playgrounds to choose from! The ever-popular Vertical Playground is here, in all its cheery yellow glory... and with a slight twist too. Kids will be able to climb up to the top of the structure and descend quickly via a tube slide.


Just beside it lies a giant rope structure which promises to offer lots of climbing fun for kids.


Younger kids need not feel left out, thanks to a smaller playground designed just for them.


And while the kids are kept busy at the playgrounds, parents can work up a sweat storm too at the fitness corner which consists of resistance bands and even weights!

Address: In front of Block 549 Jurong West St 42, Singapore 640549

4. Jem Shopping Mall Dry & Wet Playground

The playground Jem Shopping Mall at Jurong East Central was closed for upgrading works and good news, it has re-opened! And even better news, it looks much MORE fun than the previous version!


Inspired by honeycombs, the sheltered outdoor playground is located on Level 5 and just outside of the foodcourt. Taking centrestage is the huge web canopy, where kids can climb to their hearts' content.


There is also an amazing water play area. Just hit the switch and watch streams of water cascade down into a mini pool!


This has got to be one of the more orginal playground designs that I have seen - a playground that combines both dry and wet play elements into one play structure.


Address: Jem Shopping Mall Playground, 50 Jurong Gateway Road, Singapore 608549, Level 5 (Beside the foodcourt)

5. Jurong Central Park


Besides sporting a huge 8-hectare area for kids to run themselves silly, Jurong Central Park is the first park in Singapore to have life-sized board-game features in a park - Snakes and Ladders playground and Ludo Garden. The pavement around the playground area is marked with numbers and visitors can move around just like on an actual game board.


But how does one move on the boardgame without dice? The answer: use the dice tower built in the park which generates random die number for game play!


Rules for the Snakes and Ladders playground is just like its namesake board-game: landing on a ladder will see one climbing across the obstacle to reach a higher board space while landing on a snake will allow one to descend to a lower board space via a slide. It just could not get more fun than this - and a fantastic way to bundle boardgame fun with physical activity!


Address: Jalan Boon Lay junction with Boon Lay Way

6. Alexandra Linear Park


How often can one find FIVE playgrounds along a stretch of ONE park? The Alexandra Canal Linear Park is one of the most unique parks in Singapore, thanks to it being built on top of a covered canal. It starts from Queenstown MRT Station, passing by Strathmore Estate all the way to Tanglin Road.

And if that sounds like an awfully long distance to bring your kids, it actually isn't - it is only a 1.4km stretch, which is easily doable for a nice stroll.


Comprising of 5 playgrounds - a Rope Bridge Playground included - the park also hides the bonus of a Water Terrace and Skate Park!

Although some of the 5 playgrounds along the park are the usual playgrounds that one can find near most HDB estates but put them collectively together, these band of 5 serve as a good incentive to bring your kids on a morning's worth of leisure stroll and get some exercise going for the family.


Address: Parallel to Strathmore Avenue (Block 83)

7. Keat Hong Quad (Choa Chu Kang)


Sembawang has the Battleship play structure and now, Choa Chu Kang has its own Tank play structure. I can already foresee plenty of kids clambering on the tank to play!

Internally, the tank has rope nettings within to encourage even more climbing and scurrying, something which I think kids will never say no to.


Oh, and it also has a Vertical Playground too!


This Vertical Playground looks entirely different from the rest of the other public ones. While the rest are encased in see-through grills, this new playground is covered with grey metal meshing and sports a colour different from the usual orange.

The playground also has a swing netting, as well as a play area for younger children.


Address: 815C Choa Chu Kang Avenue 1, Singapore 683815

8. Keat Hong Mirage


Sandwiched between Blocks 818B and 818C at Choa Chu Kang Ave 1 (Keat Hong Mirage), the most eye-catching play structure is undoubtedly the bright green army truck.


Much like the Crooked Houses playground in Yishun, the structure is designed by MONSTRUM, a danish company famed for reinventing the notion of kids' playgrounds through artistic and design-related thematic areas that fascinates and inspires both kids and adults. Kids will be able to clamber onto the truck and get into the driver's seat or scamper to the back of the truck where a green slide awaits.


Of course, the other highlight at the playground is the lookout tower which pays homage to the military lookout posts of yesteryear. Kids will be able to climb up via the rope ladder or rock wall, and whizz themselves down the fireman pole. It is pretty high though, so a huge dose of adrenaline rush is guaranteed.


Address: 818B & 818C Choa Chu Kang Avenue 1, Singapore 683818

9. Zhenghua Nature Park


Located in Bukit Panjang, Zhenghua Park stretches for about 2.5 km along the BKE, linking the Bukit Panjang Park Connector to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. Serving as a green buffer for the reserve, the nature park is also home to a playground for kids.


The playground is situated some distance behind Block 248 Bangkit Road, and it adopts a more rugged theme with climbing structures and slides to keep the little ones happy. In addition, the entire playground is built on a huge sandbox for children to engage in imaginative play.

Granted that the playground equipment is pretty normal compared to other playgrounds in the list but if you are looking for a pleasant retreat (read: playgrounds free from overcrowding with kids) from the hustle and bustle of the usual playgrounds, this will be your best bet.


Address: Bangkit Road Entrance, Behind Block 248 Bangkit Road

10. Westgate Wonderland


Adopting a Fantasy Garden Theme, Westgate Wonderland is Singapore’s largest thematic outdoor playground featuring three zones - one dry play area each for those aged below 5 years and for older children, and a wet play area for all.

Flowers that respond to touch with musical sounds and lights are just but one of the many interactive elements found in the playground. Older kids can scale a 10-metre high tree house and come whizzing down via a meandering tube slide. 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.


The magical surroundings come alive at night with special lighting and sound effects. That, and the presence of a Changing Room located just beside the wet area is music to parents’ ears too.


Address: 3 Gateway Drive, #04-00, Westgate, Singapore 608532
Opening hours: 10am – 10pm daily

11. Bt Batok East East Playgrounds


The newest outdoor playgrounds to open in this list, the Play Tower at Block 283 Bukit Batok East Ave 3 boasts a splendid climbing design where kids have to climb up through a tower via a spiral netting at one end of the structure. After crawling through a slanted wooden bridge and navigating through a series of platforms and climbing ropes, the slide awaits.


If you have extra time to spare, take a short stroll to Block 266 at Bt Batok East Ave 4 where kids will be able to play on the newest Vertical Playground to open in Singapore!


Bukit Batok East Playground
Address: 283 Bt Batok East Ave 3. Singapore 650283

Bukit Batok East Vertical Playground
Address: 266 at Bt Batok East Ave 4, Singapore 650266

12. Firefly Park


Surrounded by five thematic gardens, Firefly Park at Clementi Ave 4 consists of two playgrounds for toddlers aged two to five years old and kids aged six to 12 years old.


The play structure has a tall slide, complete with a high walkway which children will relish in climbing up. Add a cool obstacle course and mini rock climbing wall to the mix and the kids will pretty much play themselves silly. Oh and do I spy a set of old-school swings too?


Address: 304 Clementi Ave 4, Singapore 120304



Do share if you know of any other cool outdoor playgrounds in the West!


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Jul 12, 2019

Cirque du Soleil’s KURIOS's Steampunk Fun left me Gobsmacked + Tickets Giveaway!

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Media Invite

After watching a few Cirque du Soleil shows in the past years, I have yet to be disappointed. That's because every Cirque du Soleil show is unique - not only from other acrobatic or circus shows, but also from one another. But they all share a common trait: they are all jaw-dropping, visually stunning and promise a fantastic time out for the family.

And why should KURIOS be any different?


KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities is playing under a brand-new white-and-grey Big Top on Bayfront Avenue, next to Marina Bay Sands from now until 18 August 2019... and did you know that Singapore is only the third country in the world after USA & Japan to host KURIOS? It is that new a production!


KURIOS tells the tale in which time comes to a complete stop, transporting the audience inside a fantasy world where everything is possible. In this realm set in the latter half of the nineteenth century, reality is quite relative indeed as our perception of it is utterly transformed.


But  let's face it - I didn't go to a Cirque du Soleil show expecting to be wowed by a storyline.

I want to pick my jaw up from the floor, chew on my nails and clap my hands until they are sore.

And boy, did KURIOS deliver all that... and MORE.


I will go into the acts in a bit but first, can I just say how much I love the costumes and props of KURIOS! The wonderful combination of highly detailed set and props and wildly imaginative costumes enveloped us into a surreal world of steampunk fun.


I particularly love the Accordion Man's costume which ripples with every move. To make the Accordion Man’s attire, the costume-maker spent an entire week sewing inside the costume!


In all, more than a hundred costumes were created to dress the cast of KURIOS. In addition, there are 426 props in the show, the most of any production in Cirque du Soleil’s history.


Here's a TIP: go early to be seated for the show and you may just end up having the opportunity to go on the stage for a walk across the rope bridge!


Acts-wise, I love how they took the usual circus acts and reimagined them into something even more thrilling.

Like how a trio of wriggling contortionists execute a series of incredible displays at an astonishing pace using the Mechanical Hand as a platform.

Like how performers bounced and rebounded off of a gigantic net-like trampoline and flew so high that I thought they were going to hit the lights at the top of the tent.

Like how an aerial cyclist who cycles upside-down and dangles from a wheel.


But the stand-out acts for me were "Rola Bola" and "Upside Down World".

If you think balancing on top of a plank and cylinders is easy, you haven't seen “Rola Bola,” which is the same act BUT done on a giant platform which is swinging THROUGH THE AIR. 😱 Absolutely thrilling stuff!

"Upside Down World" is also one of my faves because of the ingenuity behind it. The act starts off typically as a balancing act where the perfomer builds a tower of chairs and balances on them to reach a chandelier dangling above. As he climbs higher and higher, a parallel universe with a mirror image of the dinner table and chairs appears from the ceiling! All I can say is you have to watch it for yourself.





Adorable characters such as the Microcosmos, who wears a towering hat and carries the amazingly petite Mini Lili within his huge metallic belly, bring balance to show. Rima Hadchiti, the artist who plays Mini Lili is 3.3 feet tall and weighs 41 pounds. She is one of the 10 smallest people in the world!


Indeed, KURIOS is not all about spectacular athleticism. There is also a theatrical element which makes the show captivating, as shown in “Invisible Circus,” in which a ringmaster presided over a series of traditional circus acts but the people supposedly performing these feats were left to the imagination.  I also loved “Theater of Hands,” a delightful piece of mixed-media performance art where the characters were portrayed by a performer’s hands. Intimate, funny and all too charming.


There are not many more words that I think can give TOTEM real justice. Just listen to the thunderous applause at the end of the show!


All of us walked out of the show completely gobsmacked by the sheer showmanship and magic. And all of us agree - KURIOS is the best Cirque du Soleil show we have ever seen!


GIVEAWAY CLOSED

Want to catch KURIOS with your family? I have FOUR tickets worth $540 to give away to one lucky family, thanks to Sliding Doors Entertainment!

Congratulations to GINNIE QUEK! You have won FOUR tickets worth $540 to catch KURIOS!

*PLEASE email me at kelvin@cheekiemonkie.net for prize collection details. Thanks!

IMPORTANT: The tickets are strictly valid for the 8pm show on 25 July 2019.


To participate, all you have to do is the following:

1. LIKE Sliding Doors Entertainment's Facebook page HERE.

2. Tell me why you wish to win the tickets. Leave your comment either in the corresponding Facebook post HERE or in this blog post.


TWO WAYS TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING!

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


2. Head to my post on Instagram to score more bonus chances!


Giveaway ends on 18 July 2019, 2359 hours.

GOOD LUCK! 😊


Useful Information

KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities
Now until 18 Aug 2019
Tues - Fri: 4.30pm, 8pm | Sat: 4.30pm, 8pm | Sun: 1.30pm, 5pm
Under the Big Top, Bayfront Ave, Beside Marina Bay Sands
From $95
Tickets



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