Best museums and exhibitions for kids in Singapore 2019

Laugh, learn and play at these hands-on, educational exhibitions and museums around the Little Red Dot...

Some of us are gearing up for the new school year, while others are hunting for things to do during the holiday period this September. Beat the heat and head indoors to one of these kid-friendly, educational exhibits and museums around the little red dot. There’s something for everyone, including National Gallery’s homage to its roots as City Hall, where it showcases all of the iconic key moments in Singapore’s history. There’s more: go way back with the National Museum and learn about Singapore in the early years in An Old New World.

City Hall: If Walls Could Talk, National Gallery Singapore

Museums and Exhibits in Singapore: City Hall If Walls Could Talk at National Gallery

The walls literally talk in this multimedia installation at National Gallery. Visitors will hear the story of fictional caretaker Encik Awang. Photo: National Gallery Singapore

From 1 September 2019–29 August 2021
Travel back in time in this multimedia experience and get front-row seats to defining events in City Hall: If Walls Could Talk. From the swearing-in of the nation’s first president to the unveiling of the national flag, get an insight into pivotal moments of Singapore’s history through augmented content and an interactive digital wall.
City Hall Wing, Level 3, City Hall Chamber, National Gallery Singapore, 1 St Andrew’s Road, Singapore 178957; www.nationalgallery.sg

An Old New World: From the East Indies to the Founding of Singapore, 1600s–1819

From 21 September 2019–29 March 2020
This year marks Singapore’s bicentennial… yep, we were wondering how that works too since Singapore was technically founded in 1965! The National Museum is running an exhibition on the bustling world of trade in the East Indies that attracted the Dutch and British East India Companies to the port from the early 17th century. The exhibition will go through the early years and lead up to the arrival of Sir Stamford Raffles in the lion city.
National Museum of Singapore, 93 Stamford Rd, Singapore 178897; www.nationalmuseum.sg

Our Istana: A Living Museum, Singapore Philatelic Museum

1 August–1 September at Bedok Public Library
3 September–29 September at Jurong Regional Library
1 October–30 October at Woodlands Regional Library
1 November–1 December at Library@Harbourfront
The Istana is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. The Singapore Philatelic Museum is running an exhibition across Singapore, featuring objects rarely seen in public, including Presidential tableware, official stationery of President Halimah Yacob, recipes and staff uniforms. Bring the kids along and check out the interactive section full of rich flora and fauna of The Istana.
Jurong Regional Library, 21 Jurong East Central 1, Singapore 609732
Woodlands Regional Library, 900 S Woodlands Way, #01-03, Singapore 730900
Library@Harbourfront, 1 Harbourfront Walk, #03-05 VivoCity, Singapore 098585
www.spm.org.sg

Floating Utopias, ArtScience Museum

exhibits in Singapore

Cute or sinister… you decide! Head to Floating Utopias to see for yourself. Photography: Amy Potter

until 29 Sep
Float you and your little ones over to the ArtScience Museum for a visual experience of inflatable objects over the past three centuries. Dive into the history of air-filled objects, get up close to impressive artworks including eight huge sculptures, and partake in a spot of moon-bathing. Bring along your used plastic bags to help create the recycled plastic patchwork balloon that will be launched towards the end of the show.
ArtScience Museum, 6 Bayfront Ave, Singapore 018974; www.marinabaysands.com

Guo Pei: Chinese Art and Couture, Asian Civilisations Museum

These dresses by Guo Pei will capture the imagination of little fashionistas! Photography: Sheralyn Loh

until 15 Sep
If you remember Rihanna’s renowned omelette gown at the Met Gala in 2015, you’ll already be familiar with the designer Guo Pei’s work. In this exhibit, fashionistas young and old will be wowed by Guo Pei’s stunning collection of bridal gowns and modern Chinese couture. Be wowed by 29 embroidered pieces and marvel at how art translates into fashion.
Asian Civilisations Museum, 1 Empress  Place, Singapore 179555; www.acm.org.sg

DinoQuest

until 29 Sep, 2019

News flash: the exhibition run has been extended for another month! Since its world premiere in June, this interactive, multimedia experience has attracted more than 80,000 people – pretty impressive, we think! Join palaeontologist Prof V and her assistant Tex to uncover some dinosaur mysteries through holographic mapping, virtual reality, impressive AR technology and dramatic displays. Not to be missed.
Where: The Annexe, Science Centre Singapore, 15 Science Centre Rd, Singapore 609081
Cost: $18 per adult and $15 per child. Book tickets before you go via Sistic and find out more info here

Future Makers, Science Centre

Ongoing
The new permanent exhibition at the Science Centre is ready to wow all future makers with an object theatre boasting moving screens and a very important missions for all little engineers. Once you’ve been briefed on the mission, you can check out the interactive exhibits and earn secret codes to play an escape room. Put your piloting skills to the test at the special drone-rover arena; you can even bring your own drone or RC car to pilot. It’s a dry-weather activity only so be sure to go when the sun’s out!
Science Centre Singapore, 15 Science Centre Road, Singapore 609081; www.science.edu.sg

I-Opener, Playeum

Until 26 April 2020
Playeum’s sixth hands-on exhibition I-Opener is the brainchild of four artists with a disability: Dr Dawn-joy Leong, Cavan Chang, Sol Pickens and Jo Devadason. One of our favourite hands-on exhibits for little ones aged one to 12 has all sorts of inclusive sensory experiences to spark imagination in kids of all abilities. Expect light projections, spaces to create, holograms and even a space where you can paint using just the movement of your eyes!
Playeum, 47 Malan Road, #01-21/22/23, Singapore 109444, Gillman Barracks; www.playeum.com/current-exhibition

From Singapore to Singaporean: The Bicentennial Experience, Fort Canning Hill

fortcanning the bicentennial experience Honeykids Asia Singapore

Watch Singapore’s history come to life before your very eyes. Photography: Kingsmen Exhibits Pte Ltd

Until 15 September
Journey as far back as 1299, through all 700 years of Singapore’s history in the new exhibit at Fort Canning Park. Kids will be enthralled by the multimedia immersive cinematic experience ‘Time Traveller’ and witness firsthand the key moments in Singapore’s history before following the trail in ‘Pathfinder’ to visit eight pavilions and installations dotted around Fort Gate.
Fort Canning Centre at Fort Canning Park, 5 Cox Terrace, Singapore 179620; www.bicentennial.sg

Floral Fantasy, Gardens by the Bay

Wander through all new floral exhibits at Floral Fantasy. Photography: Gardens by the Bay

Ongoing
We’ve explored every inch of Gardens by the Bay including the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest, which is why we’re excited to have not one, but four new garden landscapes to explore at Floral Fantasy, including a 4D ride as a dragonfly! Dance, drift, waltz or float away on bubbling brooks, past waterfalls, hanging plants and more at this new attraction.
Gardens by the Bay, 18 Marina Gardens Dr, Singapore 018953; www.gardensbythebay.com.sg

Gallery Children’s Biennale 2019: Embracing Wonder, National Gallery Singapore

National Gallery Singapore Honeykids Asia

Our junior reporters loved the wall exhibit in BIG HUG, part of Gallery Children’s Biennale. Photography: Jana Blanco

Until 29 December
This year’s Gallery Children’s Biennale has 11 interactive artworks to visit, including a musical instrument played using wind chimes and 300 balls! And if you loved Firewalk: A Bridge of Embers, you’ll love Mark Justiniani’s third iteration of his bridge installation, Stardust: Soaring Through the Sky’s Embrace.
National Gallery Singapore, 1 St Andrew’s Road, Singapore 178957; www.nationalgallery.sg

Packaging Matters: Singapore’s Food Packaging Story From Early 20th Century, National Museum of Singapore

Museums and exhibits Honeykids Asia Singapore

Get the lowdown on Singapore’s history through packaging material at National Museum of Singapore. Photography: Sheralyn Loh

Until 15 September
Ever wonder what cans and wrappers from the late 19th to early 20th centuries looked like? Step into this exhibit to find out the stories behind Singapore’s food packaging history and what can be done to improve packaging with sustainable practices today. Guess the goods inside the hands-on ‘feely’ boxes, solve puzzles, play a recycling game and get the lowdown on the future of food packaging.
National Museum of Singapore, 93 Stamford Rd, Singapore 178897; www.nationalmuseum.sg

Wonderland, ArtScience Museum

Get lost in ACMI’s Wonderland. Photography: ACMI, Phoebe Powell

Until 22 September
ACMI’s Wonderland is coming to ArtScience Museum with interactive environments, props, optical illusions, art and puppets. Step through the looking glass into the magical world of Alice and her adventures through Wonderland and explore the various interpretations of this timeless classic in popular culture. Don’t worry, we’re all mad here!
ArtScience Museum, 6 Bayfront Ave, Singapore 018974, www.marinabaysands.com/museum.html

Southeast Asia in the World, Asian Civilisations Museum

Guess what this bad boy was used for! Photography: Makara palanquin ornament, Asian Civilisations Museum

Ongoing
The Asian Civilisations Museum is opening three brand new permanent galleries on Christian Art, Islamic Art and Ancestors and Rituals to highlight the importance of Southeast Asia in the World. The exhibits focus on art that demonstrates an exchange of ideas and cultural interactions within Southeast Asia and between Asia and Europe. Grab one of the colourful activity booklets (complete with stickers and postcards) and try out the new museum trails to discover how faith and belief have spread across Asia through religious art.
Asian Civilisations Museum, 1 Empress  Place, Singapore 179555; www.acm.org.sg

Wandering in Black and White, Art Playscape, National Gallery Singapore

Ongoing
We’ve already checked out the woods and enchanted forests over at Art Playscape, and now homegrown artist, Tang Ling Nah, has introduced cool new works at the Keppel Centre for Art Education at National Gallery Singapore. Wandering in Black and White will take kids on a journey through fantastical cities where they’ll be able to explore and even build their own cities, and discover the relationship between light, object and space. Perfect for little kids with big imaginations.
National Gallery Singapore, 1 St Andrew’s Road; www.nationalgallery.sg

Phobia, The Science of Fear, Science Centre Singapore

Ongoing
Most of us have a phobia (spiders, yuck!) and this addition to Science Centre Singapore is a permanent exhibit exploring fear from a historical, cultural and psychological perspective. Kids will be taken on a journey through the different types of fears, from the fear of being buried alive to monsters under the bed and even every student’s worst fear – exams! Better prep the kiddos for some hair-raising moments.
Singapore Science Centre, 15 Science Centre Road, Singapore 609081; www.science.edu.sg/exhibitions/Pages/Phobia2.aspx

Digital Life Canvas, Marina Bay Sands, The Shoppes

Digital Life Canvas Marina Bay Sands Honeykids Asia Singapore

teamLab has done it again! Their mesmerising work of art comes to life in this fantastic installation. Hope it’s here to stay. Photography credit to Marina Bay Sands

Ongoing
We may have lost (for now) one of the few ice skating rinks we have in Singapore, but we’ll let that go because its replacement is really pretty awesome! Where there was once fake ice, there is now an amazing light sculpture and LED floor, all part of Digital Life Canvas, a collaboration with teamLab. Expect some pretty impressive light imagery – birds flying through the light sculpture while fish dart about beneath your feet, and flowers blooming underfoot are all part of the fun.
Marina Bay Sands, The Shoppes, 10 Bayfront Ave, Singapore 018956, p. 6688 8888; www.marinabaysands.com

The Maritime Experiential Museum

Ongoing
The Maritime Experiential Museum has reopened, having undergone a massive overhaul and complete reconceptualisation. Featuring all new exhibits that integrate technology and interactive exhibits, older kids will love admiring the ships, encountering pirates, and experiencing a typhoon in all its 4D multi-sensory sound and fury. We especially liked the little surprise ending after the typhoon!
8 Sentosa Gateway, Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore 098269, www.rwsentosa.com

Omni-Theatre — SE Asia’s First 8K 3D Digital Dome Theatre

Ongoing
Asia’s first ever 8K 3D Digital Dome is screening five fantastic shows in a totally immersive experience across a 23m seamless screen: a learning journey like no other! Venture into the wilds of the rainforest in this showing of Great Bear Rainforest.
Singapore Science Centre, 15 Science Centre Road, Singapore 609081, www.science.edu.sg

Singapore City Gallery, Urban Redevelopment Authority

Museums-and-exhibits URA

Kids will love checking out their ‘hood in miniature at the Urban Redevelopment Authority

Ongoing
If you’ve ever wished for the ability to see into the future then you’re in luck! Head over to the Singapore City Gallery exhibit, where you’ll find the fascinating story of Singapore’s massive urban renewal and also get a look at the future plans for our small, but mighty city. Kids will love getting a bird’s eye view of large-scale architectural models where they will keep busy trying to find their home on the island-wide model! Our personal highlights? Interacting with the old and new streetscapes while discovering the history behind some of Singapore’s heritage gems at the ‘A Brush With History’ exhibit, and journeying through Singapore’s hidden urban systems in ‘How Our City Works’. Family winner for sure.
The URA Centre, 45 Maxwell Road, Singapore 069118; www.ura.gov.sg

Malay Heritage Centre

Ongoing
Head over to Istana Kampong Gelam (aka the Malay Heritage Centre), the former home of the Sultanate of Singapore, for a cool history lesson and to check out the permanent exhibits showcasing the colourful history and culture of the Malay community in Singapore. There are six galleries spread over two levels, so plenty to keep everyone busy with!
Malay Heritage Centre, 85 Sultan Gate Singapore 198501; www.malayheritage.org.sg

The Glass Rotunda: Story of the Forest and Singapore, Very Old Tree, National Museum of Singapore

Story-of-the-Forest museums and exhibits

Story of the Forest will have kids mesmerised for HOURS!

Ongoing
Our kids can’t get enough of the larger-than-life interactive installation, Story of the Forest at the National Museum of Singapore! The installation mimics the sights and sounds of Southeast Asia’s lush tropical rainforests by transforming 69 drawings (from the William Farquhar Collection of Natural History Drawings collections) to life in a virtual experience that will blow the whole family away. Get up close and personal with awesome flora and fauna: watch out for our favourite, the Malayan Tapir! Once you’re done with interactive heaven, do check out Singapore, Very Old Tree: a phenomenal photography exhibition by renowned local artist, Robert Zhao. The 17-piece collection explores the nation’s identity as a ‘Garden City’ by shining the spotlight on some of the most iconic trees across the island.
National Museum of Singapore, 93 Stamford Road, Singapore 178897, www.nationalmuseum.sg

Butterflies Up-Close, Science Centre Singapore

Get up close with the butterflies at the Science Centre’s interactive kid-friendly exhibit

Ongoing
Hands up if your kids made you read one of the all-time favourite classics, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a gazillion times as part of the bedtime routine? Little ones LOVE following the story of that greedy little critter all the way through to its transformation into the prettiest butterfly in the garden. They can meet a small army of caterpillars and butterflies (more than 500 at the last count) that have crawled and fluttered their way over to the Science Centre’s colourful, interactive display: www.nationalmuseum.sgScience Centre Singapore, 15 Science Centre Road, Singapore 609081; www.science.edu.sg/exhibitions/Pages/ButterfliesUp-Close.aspx

Madame Tussauds

Ongoing
Are your kids big fans of football stars and heart-throb boy bands? Take them on a trip to celebville at Madame Tussauds, where they can share the stage with One Direction, test their sporting skills against heroes like David Beckham or shake hands with the world’s biggest political leaders. For a nice breather after an afternoon of fawning over wax versions of your idols, take a boat ride through an enchanted Singapore forest where you’ll be treated to mini Singapore in its all swanky splendour.
Madam Tussauds, Sentosa, 40 Imbiah Road, Singapore 099700; www.madametussauds.com/Singapore

Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

The museum’s three dinosaur fossils are sure to excite dino-lovers. Photography: Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum.

Ongoing
The two-storey gallery is the place to go if you’re keen to learn more about the Earth’s history and diversity, plus get up close and personal with iconic specimens of Singapore’s geology and ecosystem. From a slice of the rare (and now locally extinct) Changi tree, to the Singapore sperm whale, examine the weird and wonderful from our very own shores. Did we mention there’s dinosaur fossils?
Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, Faculty of Science, National University of Singapore, 2 Conservatory Drive, Singapore 117377; www.lkcnhm.nus.edu.sg

Amazon Flooded Forest, River Safari

Ongoing
Travel to the Amazon, the second longest river in the world, at River Safari’s Amazon Flooded Forest exhibits. This enormous freshwater aquarium transports you straight into the flooded waters of the river and offers different immersive experiences thanks to its multi-levels of viewing. We’d also suggest ending the day with a boat ride down the Amazon River Quest for an exciting, scenic end to the day.
River Safari, 80 Mandai Lake Road, Singapore 729826; www.riversafari.com.sg/wild-amazonia/amazon-flooded-forest.html

Trick Eye Museum

Trick Eye Museum Guide to Sentosa Honeykids Asia Singapore

Optical illusions galore at Trick Eye Museum. Photography: Tracy Tristram

Ongoing
For an afternoon of giggles and optical illusions, head to the Trick Eye Museum. This place is all about the art of turning two-dimensional paintings into three-dimensional scenes – just watch how the surfaces of the museum walls, floors and ceilings come alive! Arm yourself with a camera, get creative with your poses and go nuts creating the wackiest visual narratives at the various themed galleries. We’ve taken too many hilarious photos here to count.
Trick Eye Museum, 26 Sentosa Gateway, Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore 098138; www.trickeye.com/singapore

Top image: Gallery Children’s Biennale. Photography: Amy Potter

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