Small in size but big on history and culture, Singapore boasts a number of child-friendly museums with exciting interactive exhibitions and galleries to keep your kids entertained all day
When it comes to museums, Singapore packs a punch – and they aren’t just for grown-ups. The Lion City really knows how to make culture, art and history inspiring for kids, too. Thanks to a little dose of technological magic and plenty of innovation, museums are back in business with the little people! Packed with loads of interactive exhibitions, cool art galleries, art and craft corners and play areas, they’ve rightfully earned themselves a cool reputation. Check out our guide to the best (and most fun!) museums for children in Singapore. Mums and dads, you’re in for a good time too…
National Museum of Singapore
An oldie but a goodie (it’s been around since 1887!), the National Museum of Singapore (pictured top) is one of the best ways to learn about, well, Singapore. Enjoy family time every last Saturday of the month with fun activities including interactive tours, storytelling sessions, family workshops, drop-in craft activities, captivating performances, and plenty more. Perfect for a rainy day activity! The National Museum is also a fab spot for a photoshoot, both outside and in our fave exhibit in The Glass Rotunda.
National Museum of Singapore, 93 Stamford Rd, Singapore 178897, p. 6332 3659; www.nationalmuseum.sg
The fun at ArtScience Museum begins even before you set foot through the door. Get your kids to guess what inspired its giant lotus flower building (bananas, as well as various plant-type Pokemon, are pretty good guesses!) for starters. What we like best though, are the special activities that accompany every exhibition, tailored especially for kids. The interactive Future World exhibit also ranks high on our list of favourite exhibits ever. And the best new? It’s permanent and just got a revamp, woohoo!
ArtScience Museum, 10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018956, p. 6688 8328; www.marinabaysands.com
Singapore Art Museum
Home to Singapore’s national art collection, Singapore Art Museum (SAM) has bragging rights to the largest collection of 20th century South-East Asian art. Plus, only 200 (out of 8,000!) works can be showcased at once, so the little tykes will never be bored on repeat visits. What’s more, it always has great offerings during the annual Children’s Season, even over at the other building, SAM at 8Q, and always promises contemporary art fun for the young, and young at heart! We’re looking forward to more interactive exhibitions like the wildly popular Imaginarium.
Singapore Art Museum, 71 Bras Basah Road, Singapore 189555, p. 6332 3222; www.singaporeartmuseum.sg
Mint Museum of Toys
With a world-class collection of vintage toys and childhood memorabilia from more than 40 countries, this private museum has just the right mix of play, history, culture, and education. Take the littlies back in time by dining on 1920s inspired cuisine at the Mr. Punch restaurant! Come back (without the tots!) for a tipple at the Mr. Punch rooftop bar for that same nostalgic feel.
Mint Museum of Toys, 26 Seah Street, Singapore 188382, p. 63390660, www.emint.com
Asian Civilisations Museum
Occupying more than 14, 000 square metres of space and housing 11 galleries of artefacts, the Asian Civilisations Museum is – in a word – HUGE. It might seem a little overwhelming for the kiddos, but this culture hub has a number of gallery workshops and trails to break down the learning process. Check out the [email protected] program, which falls on the first Saturday of each month. Expect fascinating performances and storytelling, and kids can make their own masterpiece!
Asian Civilisations Museum, 1 Empress Place, Singapore 179555, p. 6332 7798; www.acm.org.sg
National Gallery Singapore
Housed in two of Singapore’s national monuments, the City Hall and former Supreme Court, National Gallery Singapore features Singapore’s largest collection of Southeast Asian art. We do love how easy it is to get to this gorgeous museum (it’s just a five-minute walk from City Hall MRT), but navigating the museum itself is a whole other ball game. Prepare to get lost in the gorgeous architecture where the modernity of the City Hall wing meets the preserved chambers of the Supreme Court wing. Within the museum, there’s something adults and the kiddos, including the Keppel Centre for Art Education which features kid-friendly art installations all year round, art workshops and drop-in activities to stimulate the imagination. Pop up to the Ng Teng Fong Roof Garden Gallery for a breath of fresh air and a stunning view.
National Gallery Singapore, 1 St. Andrew’s Rd, Singapore 178957, e. [email protected], p. 6271 7000; www.nationalgallery.sg
Malay Heritage Centre
The Istana Kampong Glam was built in 1840, intended to be a palace for the Malay royalty. Today you’ll find this building located at Sultan Gate as the Malay Heritage Centre. Step in to escape from the heat (you’ll have to remove your shoes) and have a wander to learn more about the history of Singapore’s Malay community, get a glimpse into classrooms of the past and learn about traditional and modern Malay music and theatre.
Malay Heritage centre, 85 Sultan Gate, Singapore 198501; malayheritage.org.sg
Singapore Science Centre
Though technically not a museum but still oodles of fun, this tactile heaven where kids can touch, discover, and create to their heart’s content houses 14 galleries. Spreading over 20, 000 square metres of space, your kids are set for an educational day out exploring topics such as the genome, the solar system, and even candy. The coolest things, in our opinion, are the daily Tesla Coil Demonstration and the Fire Tornado Demonstration. And that’s not even counting the outdoor waterplay area, indoor play centre KidsStop and winter wonderland Snow City.
Singapore Science Centre, 15 Science Centre Road, Singapore 609081, p. 6425 2500; www.science.edu.sg
Singapore Philatelic Museum
Kids and stamps? Who’d have thought? The folks at the Singapore Philatelic Museum have done a great job with the interactive displays and current exhibits like Spice is Nice to get any boy or girl stuck on the art of stamps. The museum organises birthday parties for kids aged five to nine years too! The birthday boy or girl, and guests, can enjoy educational (but really fun) activities like treasure hunts and stamp designing.
Singapore Philatelic Museum, 23B Coleman Street, Singapore 179807, p. 6337 3888; www.spm.org.sg
Maritime Experiential Museum
Connected to the S.E.A Aquarium, the Maritime Experiential Museum is where to get all your sailing kicks. Kids experience Asia’s rich maritime history, and discover Singapore’s past as a trading port in this multi-sensory and interactive space. We love the life-sized ship replicas, the collection of drums that kiddos can bang away on, and most of all, the thrilling ride ‘on board’ a sailing ship in the Typhoon Theatre!
Maritime Museum, 8 Sentosa Gateway, Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore 098269, p.6577 8899; www.rwsentosa.com
Discover the culture of Peranakan communities in Southeast Asia at the Peranakan Museum. While the place is very child-friendly, what we love best about it is the Straits Family Sunday program. Exploring different themes of Peranakan culture first Sunday of the month through a variety of activities including arts and crafts, a guided tour, music, dance and more!
Peranakan Museum, 39 Armenian Street Singapore 179941, p. 6332 7591; www.peranakanmuseum.org.sg
Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum
If you’ve got Jurassic World obsessed kids, expect all jaws to drop upon seeing the stars of the show: The three 150 million year old diplodocid sauropod dinosaur skeletons. Divided into two storeys, the main floor is about history and diversity of life on earth, while the floor above features iconic specimens from the original Raffles Museum at the Heritage Gallery and Singapore’s geology over at Singapore Today. Unlike other “free and easy” museums, tickets have to be booked via sistic to ensure a completely immersive experience with the wonderful works of history and science on display.
Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, Faculty of Science, National University of Singapore, 2 Conservatory Drive, Singapore 117377; lkcnhm.nus.edu.sg
Trick Eye Museum
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, especially using the immersive Augmented Reality Technology. 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
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, or pose like Iron Man in the Marvel exhibit. 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
Top image: National Museum of Singapore, Choo Yut Shing via Flickr
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