After four years, Marine Cove is back at favourite family destination, East Coast Park! We love trying new outdoor activities in Singapore with the kids, so we took HoneyKids’ toughest critics (our kiddos) over to check out what the $18 million face-lift has given to the area, and whether rumours of Singapore’s best outdoor playground are to be believed. We road tested the equipment, hit the child-friendly restaurants, and even checked out the more practical facilities on your behalf. You’re welcome! So what did we grown-ups love about Marine Cove, and what did the little monkeys make of it? Read on…
The playground: swings, monkey bars, slides, climbing nets and more!
National Parks has outdone itself with the enormous 3,500sqm children’s playground, with features suitable for ALL kiddos, regardless of age and abilities. Our kids literally stopped in their tracks with their mouths dropped open when they first caught sight of the endless array of slides, climbing structures and swings (yep: swings!), before running off to bounce around every last inch of the equipment. There’s a LOT to do here, folks!
For smaller tots age two to five years, steer them over to the play area designed specifically for little ones. They will have a ton of fun with the talking (or, rather, shouting) tubes, fun mirrors and drum set. There are also plenty of less-daunting slides, a roundabout, bridges and wide spaces for them explore too.
For braver nippers age five to 12, the sky really is the limit! Mum might have to peek from behind her fingers while kids scale the lofty heights of the three-storey play tower, which has no less than three slides to zip down once they have conquered the obstacles! But kids will love navigating the climbing nets, wobbly bridges and ropes in their quest for adventure. And once they are done scaring parents half to death with their dare-devilry, there are still the monkey bars, triangle climbing frame, see-saw, balance beam, swings and mini-climbing wall to check out too.
The massive outdoor playground gets an extra thumbs up from us for having inclusive elements within the area so that children of all abilities can join in the action. Special play equipment includes sensory play panels, lots of musical instruments dotted around, interactive games and also a fantastic swing that has an accessible seat for less mobile kiddos, and an extra safety harness for added security.
The cafes and restaurants
All that excitement is thirsty and hungry work, but with five new watering holes at Marine Cove to take a break in (and take advantage of the air con!), there’s something for the whole family, from local favourites to Western cafe food. We took our pit stop in Babalicious, where we were lured in by the fab kids’ area (an indoor corner with a small slide, rockers, puzzles, Duplo and a mini-basket ball hoop, plus gorgeous wall murals). Delicious chicken rice sealed the deal for our famished kids. Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, McDonalds (with its own ‘make-your-own dessert’ counter), My Briyani House and Hill Street are also on site to keep you fuelled for all that play.
Note: At the time of writing, not all of the food and beverage outlets have thrown open their doors. McDonalds is opening on Saturday 2 July!
The need-to knows
We love that NParks has retained the mature trees in the area to provide some shade, which works well in the late afternoon and early evening times. The main play structure has canopies to help with shade too, but be warned that it still gets really hot over there, so make sure you take plenty of water, lather on the sun screen and pack hats! The peak sun times can make the unshaded parts of the playground unusable, and equipment too hot to play on, so do time your visit according to the weather. More canopies and shade please NParks!
The area also scores extra points from us for being right on the beach (you can’t beat those views from the top of the play structures: we know because we had to scramble up there to rescue a child), plus the efforts to integrate the area with the surrounding greenery really adds to the fabulous too. There is plenty of seating for mums to take a breather while watching little ones run riot, plus brand new public toilet facilities with family-friendly loos, sinks and showers, also score highly on our ‘perfect afternoon out’ checklist.
We’ve always loved East Coast Park, and the new Marine Cove addition to this sunny stretch of Singapore scores a massive thumbs up from adults and kids alike. Weekends and after-school outings just got a whole lot more fun with this choice to add to the ‘things to do with the kids’ repertoire, and we can’t wait to go again! (Although maybe next time we will wear trousers: the rescue mission up the scramble net in a dress was not a pretty sight). Our advice? Go early in the day before the sun gets too fierce, or in the cooler evening time. Take sunscreen, hats, water, snacks, mozzie spray and most importantly, a great big sense of adventure!
Have you explored all of Singapore’s amazing playgrounds yet? Check out our guide to West Coast Park; great playgrounds in Singapore’s heartlands and HDBs; playgrounds with sand and Singapore’s coolest retro playgrounds!