While Singapore might be known as the “Island City”, there’s still plenty of ways for the whole family to get some sun and enjoy the great outdoors. For the more adventurous, take to Singapore’s many parks or perhaps hit easy hiking trails and try spotting some of the island’s fascinating wildlife. And for curious little ones, there are also educational outdoor activities in Singapore to participate in like exciting kayak tours along the coast and even as far as Pulau Ubin. Here are nine exciting ways to explore the great outdoors with the whole family.
1. Breakfast at the zoo
Looking for unorthodox company over breakfast? Singapore Zoo’s signature breakfast has returned after a two-year hiatus. The programme began as Breakfast with Ah Meng, an charismatic orangutan who was an iconic part of the zoo. The relaunched Breakfast in the Wild will give you and the whole family an opportunity to dine with several of the zoo’s friendly residents including orangutans, macaws and tamanduas (lesser anteaters).
The meals themselves feature local and international flavours and are made with sustainability in mind – dishes are cooked with sustainably sourced palm oil and served with wildlife-friendly OWA coffee. Beef is also omitted from the menu because of its high environmental impact.
After the meal, you’ll also get to interact with the animals and take home a photo keepsake of your new friends.
2. Take them for a slide at Admiralty Park
Admiralty Park holds the honour of having more slides than any other park in Singapore – a whopping 26 of them – including the longest and widest ones. Head to the Junior Play area if you have toddlers between two- to five-years-old, where they can amuse themselves with the cargo nets, tube slides and sand play area, as well as a wide Family Slide that can accommodate up to four people at the same time.
The Family Terracing Play area is best for those between five to 12 years old and boasts a pair of double-barrel metallic tube slides that whoosh down nine meters, while the Adventure Play area’s highlight is a pair of roller slides. Additionally, a suspension bridge, swings and a Flying Fox ride round up the adventure.
3. Go wild at Jurong Lake Gardens
Whether it’s a casual stroll through gardens, nature trails and grasslands, or embarking on the 36km, coast-to-coast cycling trail that extends to Coney Island Park, Jurong Lake Gardens in the west of Singapore has it all. You can even kayak, or walk on the meandering Rasau Walk boardwalk along the edges of a freshwater swamp habitat.
Dog lovers can let their pups run free at a large dog run, and the kids will enjoy the Forest Ramble, a 2.3-hectare nature-inspired playground with structures that resemble treehouses and bird’s nests, ideal for children between five and 12. With 13 play areas designed to encourage children to mimic the behaviours of otters, herons and other creatures, it’s bound to keep them entertained.
4. Play and learn at Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden
The first of its kind in Asia, this nature-themed park has been specifically created for children 14 and below. With its theme – Life on Earth Depends on Plants – the space not only aims to create a fun environment but also cultivate a love for the great outdoors.
Naturally, there are plenty of zones for the little ones to play and engage with nature: a farm, an orchard and a forest with its own stream and ponds. They can climb into treehouses, explore the suspension bridge and journey through a garden maze. They also get to pick up knowledge about the surrounding flora and fauna as well as their ecosystems. At the farm zone, for example, children can learn more about how vegetables and fruits are grown as well as how to reduce food waste.
5. Zip through town on a Singapore Sidecars tour
Get a fresh new perspective by going on a breezy sojourn around the city seated in the sidecar of a vintage Vespa. Singapore Sidecars offers various daytime and night-time tours, as well as those focused on particular heritage sites, such as Tiong Bahru, Tanglin, Joo Chiat and Katong. For a snappy overview, go for the popular Singapore in a Nutshell itinerary that involves stops through key areas and a view of the city skyline.
Want something more unconventional? The Crazy Rich Asians tour will take you around some of the movie’s locations, including Chijmes, site of the lavish wedding scene, before finishing off with a meal at a hawker centre. If you have kids who are 10 or older, this will be a ride to remember.
6. Try Segway tours
Prefer travelling around Singapore via a more unorthodox mode of transportation? ORide offers a guided two-hour segway tours through well-known Singapore tourist spots such as Marina Barrage and Gardens by the Bay. This journey is a fun and laid-back alternative means for exploring the island and prior experience is not required – kids simply need to be above the age of five.
7. Go kayaking
Paddle the waterways of Mandai Rivers with tour company Kayakasia, and explore one of Singapore’s most important mixed mangrove areas. While there, spot the world’s largest resident population of mangrove horseshoe crabs and see if you can find remnants of the old Kampong Fatimah, one of the last kampongs in Singapore, located near the Causeway.
Other family-friendly tours include Sungei Khatib Bongsu, where you get to paddle under vast leafy canopies along the natural river, or Seringat Trail, where you traverse from the beaches of Sentosa to Seringat Island to laze on a deserted white-sand beach. These tours require that children be at least four years old.
8. Go bird-watching on Coney Island
For a family day of biking, beach time, wildlife spotting and obstacle courses, try Singapore’s own Coney Island. Though land reclamation for it began in the 1970s, the 133-hectare island was officially opened to the public in 2015. The rustic, relatively untouched park boasts a myriad of nature-centric areas such as coastal forests, grasslands, mangroves and beaches.
Cyclists can journey along a bumpy but easy 2.5km sandy path. If you prefer to walk, the mangrove boardwalk is an ideal place for a scenic stroll. Kids will love the Casuarina Exploration Playground, a mini obstacle course constructed out of uprooted casuarina trees. Home to endangered wildlife, Coney Island is also where you may spot unfamiliar birds – over 80 species have been spotted so far.
9. Mountain bike at Chestnut Nature Park
At 81 hectares, Chestnut Nature Park is Singapore’s largest nature park. Consisting of a northern and a southern region, separated by the narrow road of Chestnut Avenue, this green lung has separate trails for hiking and mountain biking to ensure safety. You can choose to walk the 5.6km path which leads you directly to Dairy Farm Nature Park or explore the 8.2km trail on wheels and stop by Singapore’s first pump track if you’re into more adventurous biking stunts.
Look out for native tree species such as the Singapore Walking-Stick Palm and Braided Chestnut and threatened species of birds such as the straw-headed bulbul and the brown-chested jungle flycatcher. If you don’t have your own wheels, you can rent bikes from the kiosk there as well as stock up on some snacks.
For advisories and opening information please visit each location’s homepage.