If you and the kids are (understandably) disappointed that your year-end holiday plans have all but stopped, why not recreate your own mini vacation at home in Singapore? With its world-class attractions, year-round calendar of noteworthy events and plenty of nature and culture to sink your teeth into, there’s no better time to be a tourist in your own city and rope in your little ones along for the fun.
From visiting Singapore’s last remaining kampong to exploring a traditional Balinese garden, we’ve outlined eight kid-friendly activities that’ll let you feel like you’re faraway on holiday, even if for a moment.
1. Wander about a Balinese garden in Fort Canning Park
Did you know that Fort Canning Park is home to its own slice of Bali? Nestled on the top of the hill, Sang Nila Utama Garden is inspired by the 14-century palace gardens the namesake Palembang prince used to wander in. Step through the Javanese split gates and immerse yourself in the flora within. The garden is designed in the traditional symmetric layout typical of palaces then and boasts meditative pools filled with lily pads. Tip: the scenic backdrop makes for a great holiday-worthy photo op with the family, so be sure to have your camera ready. Close by, the Pancur Laranan (Forbidden Spring) is a freshwater feature that will whisk you away to Bali’s storied holy springs.
2. Enjoy a horseback ride in Bukit Timah
While a horseback ride in the great outdoors of Queensland or Mexico remains a dream (for now), you can still however enjoy a gallop amidst Singapore’s lush greenery at Gallop Stable in Bukit Timah. The stable, which first opened in Pasir Ris Park with the goal of offering affordable riding opportunities in Singapore, offers small group and private riding lessons for both adults and kids, with prices starting at S$45 per session. Not into horseback riding? There are also stable tours, pony rides, feeding sessions and photo ops with horses you can opt for.
3. Explore Singapore’s last remaining kampong
A kampong might not be a typical sight in Singapore’s modern cityscape, but did you know it was once ubiquitous only mere decades ago? Step into a page of history by spending an afternoon with your little ones at Kampong Lorong Buangkok, Singapore’s last surviving kampong and one of the remaining vestiges of its past. Located just off Yio Chu Kang Road, roughly 30 families still reside in the cluster of homes within the village today. You can choose to visit on your own or through guided tours with local operators such as Let’s Go Tour – residents are accustomed to visitors, as long as you’re mindful of their space and privacy. On your visit, keep your eyes peeled for the Muslim prayer hall and the sign bearing Kampong Buangkok’s old four-digit postal code.
4. Visit London’s iconic wax museum in Singapore
Madame Tussauds is arguably one of London’s most iconic and recognisable tourist attractions. It has since expanded to other major cities, including Singapore, allowing visitors across the globe a chance to view their favourite pop culture and political icons in wax form. At Madame Tussauds Singapore on Sentosa Island, spot the wax figures of Barack Obama, the late Lee Kuan Yew, and international superstars like David Beckham, Marilyn Monroe and Beyonce. Your little ones will also delight over the life-sized wax versions of their beloved Marvel characters and indulge in a 4D cinematic experience. Fun fact: in 2015, the museum unveiled its first wax figure of an SIA stewardess, Nur Surya, one of the more localised offerings you can look forward to in its Singapore outpost.
5. Have a ball of a time at Snow City
While a wintry sojourn is unfortunately not possible right now, sunny Singapore has its fair share of indoor snowy playgrounds and ice-skating rinks. Escape the heat for a day of snow-filled fun at Snow City, its first ever indoor snow centre. Deck your little ones in winter gear (you can rent them on the premises) and have a ball of a time at the slew of family-friendly activities on offer. Highlights include sliding down a 60-metre snow slope, engaging in an exciting game of winter-themed paintball, drifting on ice in a bumper car or cosying up in one of the igloo homes.
6. Discover impressive dinosaur fossils at the natural history museum
The natural history museums in London and New York are some of the world’s most famous tourist hotspots, and a must-see on your travels to the city. While you’re camped out in Singapore, why not visit our very own? Having reopened earlier in July following the transition into Phase Two of the circuit breaker, the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum is perfect for your wildlife-loving tots. Featuring fifteen themed zones displaying over 2,000 specimens that run the gamut of dinosaur fossils, sperm whale skeletons and more, it’s a fun and educational activity you can enjoy with your kids.
7. Spend a day at the world’s best airport
Even with majority of flights grounded, there’s still plenty to do in Singapore’s Changi Airport. Awarded Skytrax’s Best Airport for eight consecutive years, this world-class airport is very much a destination itself, and boasts some new kid-friendly offerings that’s worth checking out.
Within the airport itself, Jewel Changi’s sprawling indoor wonderland, the top-floor Canopy Park, is a must-visit for kids. Boasting mindboggling mazes, thrilling bounce nets, slides and an incredible view of the HSBC Rain Vortex on a partially glass-bottomed bridge, it’s a fun-filled experience that’s bound to excite even your inner child. Check out the Pokemon Merch Store after and get your fill at the hugely popular Shake Shack or any of the numerous F&B options available.
8. Play hide-and-seek in Singapore’s oldest museum
If art is more your thing, why not spend an enriching day exploring the National Museum of Singapore? Get your kids excited about discovering Singapore’s heritage through a slew of onsite and virtual programmes for its annual Children’s Season. Themed around the timely topic of change, onsite activities include a gallery hunt to “collect” various icons; a gallery trail with audio clips to learn fun facts about the artefacts and an inter-generational music workshop. Those joining from home can also embark on games such as a virtual hide-and-seek within the museum premises with Ai, a local character created by homegrown creative artist Peter Draw, or enrol in art-jamming and story-telling sessions, craft workshops and more.
Please check the establishments’ respective websites for opening hours as well as booking and seating requirements before visiting, and remember to adhere to safe-distancing measures while out and about.