Dec 1, 2013

Singapore’s Best Outdoor Parks for Kids

(Daddy compiles)

If you thought Singapore was just about shopping and eating, think again - in fact, nearly 47% of the island is shrouded in green and there is more to our beautiful parks than just colourful flowers. And in times of fine weather, it is the perfect time to get acquainted with Singapore’s parks and have some fun with the family. Better yet if there are playgrounds to keep the little ones busy!

Here is a list of top picks of the best outdoor parks in Singapore. So get ready to run, climb, bike or just simply pack a picnic basket and hunker down for a lazy afternoon.

West Coast Park

Location: Parallel to West Coast Highway

If the East Coast is the King of sandy beaches & cool sea breeze, then the West Coast Park must be the King of playgrounds. It has about SEVEN different types of play areas which cater to different age groups - from the toddlers to even teenagers. And 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. There are also Ninja Warrior-inspired obstacle courses and a Flying Fox installation that is sure 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.

Our Experience:

Bishan - Ang Mo Kio Park

Location: Along Bishan Road and Ang Mo Kio Ave 1

What once was a concrete canal which ran through both of the old Bishan Parks is now a naturalised, meandering river filled with aquatic life. River Plains (formerly Bishan Park 2) consists of a playground, Dog Run and lots of eateries. Pond Gardens (formerly Bishan Park 1) is where the action picks up though – with two exciting playgrounds (one of which is a water play area) and an enchanting Lotus Garden. Kids will also be able to get close to the river bank, and observe the wildlife in the water. Who knows, they may just be able to catch a glimpse of the purple herons (which have been said to make regular appearances at the river) too!

Our Experience:

Jurong Central Park

Location: Jalan Boon Lay junction with Boon Lay Way

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 by using the dice tower built in the park 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!

Our Experience:

Pasir Ris Park

Location: Pasir Ris Park stretches from Pasir Ris Road to Jalan Loyang Besar and can be accessed through Elias Road and Pasir Ris Green. To access the Mangrove Boardwalk, park at Carpark C.

We all know about the giant spiderweb-like structure and other playground amenities that Pasir Ris Park has to offer. But how about a Mangrove Boardwalk? And the good thing about this hidden gem is that it is suitable for people of all ages - even stroller-friendly! This is a definite thrill for families who are up for some crab or mudskipper-spotting. Along the way, get ready to spot peculiar 'humps' in the ground made by mud lobsters, as well as the scampering tree-climbing crabs. Do make sure you walk until the end of the Boardwalk too for it holds yet another gem — a jetty overlooking Sungei Tampines. It is here where kids can try to spot different forms of wildlife; ranging from herons, kingfishers, water monitor-lizards, gliding lizards (otherwise known as 'flying dragons'), fishes like halfbeaks and archer fishes, and even  dog-faced water snakes.

Our Experience:

Gardens by the Bay 

Location: 18 Marina Gardens Drive Singapore 018953

There is more to Gardens by the Bay (read: FREE) other than the ticketed admission to the Cooled Conservatories. Start your exploration at The World of Plants, where a multi-sensory encounter with nature is promised. Enjoy the sights of flowers and fruits in bloom, and venture into the Secret Life of Trees, where visitors will learn how to identify different types of tree species. At the Web of Life, take in the impressive sight of topiary animals such as the orang-utan, pangolin and hornbill. The Heritage Gardens is another highlight, with four themed gardens - Indian Garden, Malay Garden, Chinese Garden and Colonial Garden. Each of these gardens will take one through the history and culture of Singapore’s three main ethnic groups and colonial past. Throughout the Gardens, there are ample exhibits and installations to keep kids occupied; much like the smelling stations at the Colonial Garden where kids will be able to get a whiff of cocoa, coffee, rubber and pepper!

Our Experience:

Tiong Bahru Park 

Location: Bounded by Henderson Rd, Tiong Bahru Road and Lower Delta Road

Just a stone’s throw away from Tiong Bahru Plaza, the centrepiece of this park has got to be the huge tilting train structure in the adventure playground. With an engine and four carriages being in a tilted position, kids can climb aboard and attempt to make their way through the train. There are various entry points and slides leading out of the train as well, making it a must-climb structure for kids! Other attractions at the park include an old-fashioned merry-go-round and mini-maze.

Our Experience:

Woodlands Waterfront

Location: Admiralty Road West

A coastal park boasting a 1.5km long waterfront promenade, a 11-hectare park, a large multi-generational playground and a 400m ex-naval jetty, Woodlands Waterfront is a park worth visiting no matter how off the beaten track it may be. For one, the two-storeys high netted Sky Bridges and Sky Cabins will no doubt make older kids squeal in delight and excitement. There is a mini playground as well, with slides and swings to keep younger toddlers duly entertained. Or families can take a relaxing stroll along the refurbished jetty which offers panoramic views of the park and the Straits of Johor.

Our Experience:

Punggol Waterway Park

Location: Along Sentul Crescent Road

Designed with four themes to cater to everyone of all ages, Punggol Water Park has something in store for every visitor. The Nature Cove features a picturesque view of the Waterway, with a lawn area for families to spend lazy weekends. The Heritage Zone offers gorgeous greenery along the stretch of the old Punggol Road while the Green Gallery is home to the mature trees which are conserved together with the natural terrain of the park. But it is at the Recreation Zone where kids can go wild at the huge water play and sand play areas. And if there is still energy to be expended, head down to the nearby 5km long waterfront Punggol Promenade where it links up to the Lorong Halus Wetland via a bridge – a biodiversity haven.

Our Experience:

Dairy Farm Nature Park

Location: 100 Dairy Farm Road

Situated next to the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, the Dairy Farm Nature Park is unique in the way that it does not have any playgrounds for kids. Rather, it consists of two walking trails - one trail leads to the Wallace Education Centre while the other goes to the Singapore Quarry. The Wallace Education Centre route (Park at Carpark B) is relatively easier due to the flatter terrain and takes about 10 minutes one way (200 metres) from the carpark. For older kids, the other trail (Park at Carpark A) leads to the Singapore Quarry and takes approximately 30 minutes one way (1km), with the sights and sounds of the butterflies, birds and many varieties of plants along the way.

Our Experience:

Sembawang Park

Location: At the end of Sembawang Road

The newly furbished Sembawang Park re-opened with a huge surprise in store for kids – a Battleship Playgound. Presumably as a nod to Sembawang's naval history, the Battleship comes complete with gun turrets, smoke stacks, propellers and even a rudder. I have to admit; I myself did a double take when I first saw the playground simply because for as long as I can remember, I can't recall the last time when a playground made me go 'WOW!'. There are loads of rope ladders, rock walls and grid nets for kids to navigate and keep them duly occupied. To top it all off, there are the red climbing net reminiscent of a naval flagstaff and insanely fun pendulum swing beside the Battleship too!

Our Experience:

Alexandra Canal Linear Park

Location: Parallel to Strathmore Avenue (Block 83)

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! And 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.

Our Experience:

Children's Garden @ Gardens by the Bay

Location: Gardens by the Bay, along the waterfront of Bay South Garden and adjacent to the Cloud Forest Conservatory.

Gardens by the Bay make yet another appearance in the list, simply because of its kick-ass Children's Garden. Not only is it Singapore's newest outdoor playground for kids, it is by far the largest one! The Children's Garden is specially targeted at children up to age 12 and seeks to further encourage interaction with nature, together with integrated play equipment and water play features spread over four main play zones - Adventure Trail, Rainforest Treehouses, Toddler Play Zone and Water Play Areas. All amid a luscious garden setting, no less.

There are obstacles to conquer, treehouses to climb, slides to whiz down, and a sprawling water play area with water splines, a hydro vault, and orchid-shaped splash buckets. Toddlers will not feel left out too, as they will be contented with a dedicated Toddler Play Zone and mini Water Play area.

Our Experience:

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SengkangBabies said...

Singpapore is indeed blessed to have so many greens and playgrounds :)

You can add Sungei Buloh for croc-spotting too, today Newspaper got a 3m crocodile suntanning :p

cheers, Andy

Cheekiemonkies said...

Hi Andy,

Yes, we are blessed indeed... and all of them are free for kids to have fun!

Anonymous said...

thank you for all the postings, I love reading them. it's so fun and adventurous. it's like taking me to these places thru reading your blog and seeing the beautifully taken photos. thank you once again.

Cheekiemonkies said...

Hi Anon,

Thanks for dropping by, and your kind words! :)

Diesel said...

Hi, thanks for the wonderful sharing. This is one of the most comprehensive site I,ve seen . Edmund Seah

Cheekiemonkies said...

Hi Edmund,

Thanks so much for your kind words! I am glad that you have found our blog to be useful! :) Happy CNY to you and your family!

Adele said...

This blog is amazing!!! It's an answered prayer! I'm temporarily working in Singapore and brought my 5 yo son for a 4 week visit :) I hope you never get tired to doing this awesome blog!

Cheekiemonkies said...

Hi Adele,

Thanks too for your kind words! I'm really happy to know that my blog has been useful for you and your son. Hope you have a great time here in Singapore! :)

Unknown said...

Fantastic job on the not-your-average-sg Playgrounds and Parks listings and pictures. Been surfing the Web for reliable posts for fun and free children activities. Best blog I've found thus far. Thanks man.

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