This guest post is written by Keith, a Singapore resident and one half of the couple behind Zip Up and Go, a travel blog that takes you to explore the best nature spots, food places and watering holes.
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Free things to do in Singapore with kids
Traveling to Singapore is often touted as an expensive holiday, since Singapore is one of the most expensive cities in the world. And what about travelling with kids in tow? Does that make the costs double or triple?
Don’t worry, Singapore can be a very affordable travel destination! Mind you, this is coming from someone who has lived here their whole life. Today I will show you the best things to do in Singapore with kids for free! In this post you can read about:
- Why you should visit Singapore with kids
- Awesome free activities for kids in Singapore
- Best places to eat in Singapore with kids
- Best places to stay in Singapore with kids
- Tips and tricks for traveling Singapore
Why you should visit Singapore with kids
- Singapore has 2 days dedicated to children, respectively the Children’s Day on 1 October and Youth Day on the first Sunday of July.
- The Singapore Kindness Movement is all about spreading kindness, and this is a great opportunity to educate the kids while on vacation!
- Singapore was the birthplace of the World Toilet Organization, which means you can be sure toilets here are well maintained (aka clean!), including Nursing Rooms for you to tend to your child.
5 fun and free activities to do with kids in Singapore
- Nature Garden at Hort Park
- Children’s Garden at Gardens by the Bay
- Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
- The Artground
- Marina Cove @ East Coast Park
1. Nature Garden at Hort Park
Like to surround your child with nature? Make sure you do not miss this educational nature garden situated at Hort Park. This garden is made up of outdoor playgrounds that is suitable for children between the ages of 3 to 6. But hey, even if your little ones are slightly older, what’s stopping them from having some fun?
The garden is made up of numerous sections, such as Building Huts, Singing Seeds, Magical Woods, The Stream, The Kitchen, The Big Fig Adventure, The Log Valley and The Secret Den.
In each of these sections, children can learn about various aspects of nature, and get to observe species of plants and birds. They can also learn to climb and improve their balance through some of the logs placed around the garden. Altogether it’s a great place for your kids to improve their motor skills.
When they’ve had their fill of fun here, check out what else Hort Park offers and walk through the cute little themed gardens spread across the park.
Notes and tips for visiting Hort Garden with children
- Hort Garden is closed on Mondays.
- As the area is only lit by natural light, please do not visit when it is raining and at night.
- Pack some snacks and plenty of water for your kids and for yourself. There are no convenience shops around and only one restaurant (at the entrance of the park).
- Hort Park is served by a number of bus services (51, 61, 93, 97, 100, 166, 963, which you can take from the nearest MRT station, Labrador Park Station (CC27, Circle Line)
2. Children’s Garden at Gardens by the Bay
This is an excellent addition to the playscape of Singapore. Why? It is super fun and best of all, it is free!
Can you imagine bringing them to a one hectare playground that offers your child both a dry and wet play area. Children of all ages will be able to find something suitable for themselves and have a wonderful time.
The main aim of the garden is to encourage children to interact with nature through the integrated equipment and water play spread across 4 main zones. All of these are set within the beautiful Gardens by the Bay, which in itself is an excellent choice for a day out and picnic in the park.
There are lots of opportunities for the kids to have fun here, including features such as stepping springs, swaying bridges, water tunnels and treehouses.
For parents, you can join in the fun, or alternatively you can opt to sit and relax under the canopy of the amphitheatre. If you are there at the right time, there are free performances held here regularly too!
Notes and tips for visiting Children’s Garden at Gardens by the Bay
- The Children’s Garden is closed every Monday.
- Swimwear is not necessary, but do remove footwear before playing in any of the water features.
- Shower facilities and nursing rooms are spread across the garden. Make sure to download a map to plan your trip accordingly.
- Bring a picnic basket and a mat along. There are lots of open spaces for picnics!
- Take the train to Bayfront MRT (CE1/DT16, Circle and Downtown Line) and follow the signs to Gardens By The Bay.
3. Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Located in the North Western corner of Singapore is this amazing wetland that is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. Sungei Buloh is the first wetland and also the largest in Singapore and your children are sure to be amazed by the biodiversity. It is the perfect getaway spot from the city!
In this wetland reserve, your family and you can take part in nature walks, go crazy taking photos of the area, and watch birds feeding in some of the rarest mangroves in the world.
Along the Migratory Bird Trail, you will find 5 hides, which are essentially watch towers, to observe the birds in their natural habitat. During the months of September to March, bird species such as the Eurasian Wigeon, Black-Backed Kingfisher and Himalayan Swiftlet passes through during their migration passage to feed on the rich supply of food.
Other residents of the reserve are the giant mudskippers, estuarine crocodiles, monitor lizards and super cute otters! It may be tempting to get close and personal to the animals, but since these guys are wild and untamed, make sure to keep a close eye on your kids and not allow them to poke or agitate the animals.
Respect for nature is of the utmost important!
Notes and tips for visiting the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve with children
- Bring along insect repellents to prevent/reduce insect bites.
- As the reserve is an open area, bring along raincoats or umbrellas in case of the occasional showers.
- There are free educational sessions held regularly, so check out the main site before going.
- From Kranji MRT (NS7, North South Line), take the bus service 925 from right outside the station (do not cross to the other side of the road) and alight at Kranji Reservoir Carpark B. It is a pretty short walk in to the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve Extension’s Visitor Centre.
4. The Artground
Wanna groom the next Picasso? Or maybe the next Warhol? Art is something that does not have any age restrictions, and over here at The Artground is where you can bring your children to release their creativity and talent!
At the Ground Floor, kids can take part in interactive art installations. Each year, it hosts 3 different installations to keep the content fresh.
Another area of the Artground is known as Baby Space which, as you might have guessed, is the best spot for toddlers from 0-2 years old. Here they can explore funky art exhibits suitable for their young age.
The entire setup of the Artground is to bring children closer to the arts, and provides an avenue for them to learn and express themselves. Filled with unique and whimsical visual art pieces, this is the right place to bring your child to to nurture their talents!
Notes and tips for visiting The Artground with children
- The activities here are more suitable for kids aged from zero to twelve.
- Check out their website for an updated list of events and shows.
- Take the train to Mountbatten MRT (CC7, Circle Line) and use Exit B. Walk about 7 minutes to Goodman Arts Centre.
5. Marina Cove @ East Coast Park
East Coast Park is one of the favorites for locals to enjoy a day out in the sun and be near the beach. After going through a series of revitalizing, the area is now replete with eateries and most importantly for the kids, a huge outdoor playground!
This new installation boasts space of 3500 square metres, and right in the middle of it lies the 3 story high tower. There are rope bridges connected to the tower and kids can slide down 3 different slides. As they move inside of the tower, they can climb their way up to the top of the tower using a funnel net in the middle.
Across the playground, children can also play on the swings and sensory play panels, or make fun of each other with the taling tubes. This playground provides hours of fun for the young ones! What’s more, it’s a great way for them to pick up motor skills, hand eye coordination, as well as movement.
Notes and tips for visiting Marina Cove @ East Coast Park with children
- Marina Cove is part of the larger East Coast Park. The whole family can rent bicycles or rollerblades and whizz through the 15km of coastline it offers.
- Food and drinks are widely available so there is no need to pre-pack.
- Shower facilities can be found across the par, so bring a change a clothes along.
- Take a train to Bedok MRT (EW5, East West Line) and board the bus service 401 from the bus interchange. Please note that this bus service is only available on Saturdays, 2.00pm to 10.00pm and Sundays 10.00am to 08.00pm.
Recommended family friendly restaurants in Singapore
Singapore is known for it’s incredible food scene, but with kids its important to find a place to eat which they will enjoy as well. Here are some excellent restaurant options for families.
Dempsey/Tanglin – Huber’s Bistro
22 Dempsey Road, Singapore 249679
Tel: (+65) 6737 1488, www.hubers.com.sg
Dempsey/Tanglin – TBB Safari
130E Minden Road, Singapore 248819
Botanic Gardens – Fusion Spoon
Singapore Botanic Gardens
Tanglin Gate, 1 Cluny Road, Botany Centre
#B1-00 Singapore 259569
Fairways Bukit Timah – Picotin Express
60 Fairways Dr, Singapore 286966
Bugis – Thyme@Aliwal
28 Aliwal Street #01-07
Aliwal Arts Center, Singapore 199918
Tel: (+65) 6444 6400, www.thyme.sg
Robertson Quay – Three Buns
Quayside 60 Robertson Quay
#01-01 Singapore 238252
Chinatown/Duxton – Little Creatures
Mohamed Ali Lane 36 Club Street, Singapore 069469
Sentosa – Trapizza
10 Siloso Beach Walk, 098995
Tel: (+65) 6376 2662, www.shangri-la.com/singapore
Recommended family friendly hotels in Singapore
Pan Pacific Singapore Hotel
Check out the Fun-mily Escapade Package offered by Pan Pacific Singapore Hotel, which features super cute bedding, a tee-pee for the little ones and amenities like plush toys and bathtub toys to keep them entertained.
Weekend treasure hunts are organised for kids below the age of 12, they will receive a special treat upon completion!
Shangri-La Hotel Singapore
If you are looking for a family room that is huge, this is the hotel you have to stay in. The luxurious Themed Family Suites at Shangri-La Hotel Singapore are designed to cater for families.
And let me let you in on a tiny secret: the room is actually bigger than a standard 2 bedroom apartment in Singapore! Or choose the 2 bedroom suites for more privacy for both parents and kids alike.
Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa
Water activities rule the day here and your kids are not going to leave the pool! Once checked in, ask the concierge for the daily schedule as they organize activities such as “walk on water”, swimming like a mermaid or the whole family can join the aquatic exercise classes.
Sentora Resorts World: Ocean Suites (underwater!)
I can barely think of anything more special than one of these Underwater Suites anywhere in Singapore.The Ocean Suites at Resorts World Sentosa are a unique option for those who want to be pampered and sleep next to amazing underwater animals. A top choice for marine lovers!
Check out the epic underwater rooms here but be warned, this suites come with a hefty price tag…
The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore
Yet another excellent option for families with kids in tow. The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore, will spoil your little ones with tonnes of kids amenities such as special pool toys and cute pint-sized robes. The family rooms offer a great deal of privacy and play area so that the whole family needs gets fulfilled.
Beyond the bedroom, kids can get access to activity books at Chihuly Lounge’s High Tea, and make sure to finish the day with a soak in the bubble bath complete with Ritz-style rubber duckies!
Some final tips about visiting Singapore with kids
Singapore has built up diplomatic relationships with the majority of the countries out there, which makes it very simple for you and your family to come visit. To be sure, check out the immigration guidelines to see if you do need a visa.
Best time to visit Singapore
The best time to visit Singapore is anytime. Really! We have tropical weather and although you can check out weather forecasts online, the truth is that the weather can be unpredictable.
As I wrote this article, it was scorching at 33 degrees Celsius, and the next thing I knew was that it started pouring. However, most of these showers are passing only, and clear skies will emerge soon after.
What to pack for your Singapore family visit
Make sure to pack light clothing and a change of outfit in your day pack. Toilets are easily found in most parts of the island and are considered good by international standards. Don’t leave out the sun block if you don’t want to be burnt and always have insect repellent with you. Remember your sunnies too!
How to get around in Singapore (with kids)
Get around the island with public transport. My favorite apps to use are the MyTransport (see the Google Play Store and Apple Store) and StreetDirectory apps (also available in the Google Play Store and Apple Store). Of course, Google Maps are suitable too but the above two are more localized.
WiFi in Singapore
WiFi is easily available everywhere, by logging on to the national Wireless@SG network at selected places. If you are out of range, chances are you can get free WiFi at cafes and restaurants. If all else fails, go to the nearest McDonald’s!
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