Thursday, April 12, 2012

Top 5 Things to Do in Singapore with Kids

I am basically a 5 year old in a 27 year old body. I was blessed to have a trip to Singapore for Easter and I used this trip to explore the city. When I told all my friends in Hong Kong that I was coming to Singapore they said, "You're going to go shopping?" Ew... No. I hate shopping. I'm a broke artist. What can a broke artist do in Singapore when shopping is beyond their means? I think that a broke artist can get down with their inner child and explore the city the way a kid can; with wild abandonment and an open mind for learning.
Merlion Park from the view of the boat tour!

On my trip I made sure to ask Mom's and Dad's on their trips what they thought of what they were seeing. What their favorite parts of the city were and why? You would be surprised to find that family concerns for trips are the same for struggling artists: cost and how much they learn.

Here are my Top 5 great to do in Singapore with Kids. If I liked them your children will love them. (As long as they are not jilted.) Overall, I thought Singapore had a lot of great options for kids especially in the museum area. But I thought they could have had more helpful audio and visual guides to help kids understand things. Especially, at the National Museum of Singapore where the child's audio guide was mostly sound effects a very little facts. All the museums of Singapore were great and overall much better than what we have to offer in Hong Kong but I felt that two were better than the others so they made the top 5.

Also, a huge thanks to the country of Singapore for making all the national museums FREE on public holidays. It was a great surprise and I got to see so much more than I had originally planned. It was really nice to see the country offer up knowledge for free to the public on a day where families could have a fun day of learning at the museum!
5.River Cruise

The river cruise is a boat that runs down the bay of Singapore. It has two major drop off points, 1) Merlion Park and 2)Marina Bay. You can be picked up at Merlion and dropped off at Marina at no extra cost which is what I did. It allowed me to see Singapore from the boat's vantage point. It is the best way to view the harbor and other parts of the city. Price ranges from 12-17 Singapore dollars. Children under 3 ride free which is great for big families. You can see many different things, learn about the history of Singapore, get out of the sun and drink a beverage included in your ticket price.
Very informative, kids enjoyed the boat ride, no bathroom on the boat which was an issue for one family but overall a great holiday activity for kids of all ages.
Where the boat picks up at Marina Bay! Right beside the Art and Science Museum!

4. Botanical Gardens

The Botanical Gardens, including the children's garden are free of charge and easily accessible by the Botanic Garden stop on the circle line. (This info is missing from the most recent edition of Lonely Planet.) It is a huge botanical garden, lots of shade from trees and lots of places to sit. 

Go early in the morning before it gets too hot. The national orchid garden is also beautiful but has a 5 dollar entry fee for adults, kids are free! I would recommend it if your kids enjoy looking at flowers. There is also a big lake full of swans and ducks. Early in the morning the garden is full of joggers, tai chi groups, yoga groups and has a very relaxing atmosphere.

3. National Museum of Singapore

The National Museum of Singapore includes cultural and historical information about the country of Singapore. They have a great kids section with awesome docents dedicated to creating fun learning activities about the exhibits. The main exhibit in the museum on my visit was on the history of the cheongsam. So kids were designing their own cheongsam and some kids were trying on traditional chinese clothing for adorable photo ops. No adult sizes... :(

They have an audio tour included in your price of admission which was FREE because it was a national holiday. (Yea!) The kids audio tour had more sound effects then facts and the fact placards were placed too high so most kids couldn't read them. This lead to some boredom. I thought the adult audio guides were wellmade and easy to understand. If you have a teen give them the adult audio guide.
The very cool swinging chandeliers at the museum. Notice how rainy it is!

Your kids will also LOVE the swinging chandeliers at the museum. I could have watched them for hours! Very cool!

2. Zoo/Night Safari

It rained something feirce on my visit to the Zoo. That did not stop me and my travel partner, Lisa from having fun. Singapore Zoo is totally worth the money. Go ahead and get the dual pass that allows you to visit both on the same day. It's only 8 dollars more and it more than doubles your fun. Who didn't once have a fantasy about being locked in the zoo after it closed?

A lot of animals are nocturnal by nature so you get to see them at their most active. You also got to see some animals that were not at the zoo like hippos, servals and the chinese fishing cat. The Zoo is very well set up, you need 3-4 hours to do the whole thing. I would suggest 5 hours if you have really small kids as they walk slower and get tired more easily. There are a lot of feeding times in the map and the show times for the elephant show and the seal show. Both are fun and great fun for kids!

For the hour between the zoo closing and the night safari opening there is no need to worry about finding something to do. All the night safari restaurants are open and the BAR! There is also a fire dancing show and plenty of restrooms. The one thing they need more of is seating! 
White tigers at the Singapore Zoo

1. Art/Science Museum of Singapore

Art and Science are all about creation. They are not as different as some people would think. So the Art and Science Museum of Singapore helps blend the two together with a permanent exhibit dedicated to great thinkers of both mediums and smaller special exhibits. I went to the Andy Warhol:15 minutes exhibit which was fabulous and kids really responded well to pop art. After all, "Pop art is for everyone..."- Andy Warhol
My screen printing teachers! Thanks for the free workshop!

There are also free workshops on Friday, Saturday and Sundays at the museums. The free workshops at my visit were about screen printing and shrinky dinks. Both were awesome. The screen printing teachers were awesome. Thanks to Sarah and the girls for teaching me all about screen printing!

And for your information: Singapore was not that expensive. You can do it very cheaply especially in the eating and drinking dept. I came home with over 1,000HK left in my wallet from the travel budget I had set up for myself.

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