It’s time to discover some fantastic and FREE things to do in Singapore with the kids. We’ve already saved some cash by signing up for the great annual family-membership offers at some of Singapore’s best loved attractions, and we’ve been making the most of the restaurants where kids can score free eats, so now we’re turning out minds to the fun-packed activities that aren’t going to leave a child-sized hole in our wallets…
A whole day of water play
You can barely blink without breaking a sweat under our blistering sun, so where do you go to escape the heat in Singapore? Forget about staying huddled around the air-conditioner – bring the kids to one of the city’s fantastic water parks to cool down and have fun. Topping our list is Gardens by The Bay’s Far East Organisation Children’s Garden (pictured top). It’s no wonder this is a fave destination for sunny days. There’s a designated area for tots, a main water play area with sensors that detect movement to create a corresponding water effect sequence and Disney tunes constantly streaming in the background.
Far East Organisation Children’s Garden, 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore 018953. Open Tuesday-Sunday from 9am-9pm (closed on Mondays); www.gardensbythebay.com.sg
Young shipmates should walk the plank over to the free water play going on at the Palawan Pirate Ship. The former Port of Lost Wonder has re-opened with all of the fun but none of the cost. Hurrah!
Palawan Pirate Ship, Palawan Beach, Sentosa; www.sentosa.com.sg
Cycling or scooting in Coney Island
Coney Island is now a wildly popular spot for families in Singapore, due to its untouched greenery, rustic terrains and wildlife. Pack a picnic and bring along your own bikes or scooters for a weekend adventure of bird-watching and animal-spotting. Tip: Bring along plenty of insect repellent and dress in covered clothing if you’re planning to spend a lot of time at the beach, as they are a hot spot for sandflies. Don’t have your own bike? No worries. Simply rent one at Jomando, located at Punggol Settlement. Check out our full guide to Coney Island before setting out on your adventure.
Coney Island, Punggol Promenade Nature Walk, Singapore 829325
Singapore Airforce Museum
For a high-octane day out, you can’t do any better than the Airforce Museum. Sprawling over almost 11,000 m² of land, the kid-friendly exhibitions spread across an outdoor gallery plus eight air conditioned indoor galleries. Who knows, maybe while you’re daydreaming about Maverick and Iceman, your little one might have found a vocation.
RSAF Museum, 400 Airport Road, Singapore 534234, Tues-Sun, 8:30am-5pm (Closed Mondays and Public Hols), Free.
Want a quick beach getaway without actually leaving Singapore? Hop on a boat and head to Singapore’s offshore islands. Relax on Kusu Island’s pristine beaches, trek the forests of St John’s Island, and cycle amongst the villages of Pulau Ubin. Just remember to pack a whole load of sammies, sunscreen and bottled water. Note that the ferry rides to these islands aren’t free, but usually cost a nominal fee of about $12 (two way). Hop into our guide to the islands around Singapore before setting sail.
Friday Night Stargazing
If your kids are old enough not to turn into pumpkins once darkness descends, kick off the weekend at the Science Centre Observatory. Your junior astronomer will leave starry eyed and full to the brim with telecscope skills and planetary facts.
The Observatory (Omni-Theatre Building) 15 Science Centre Road, Singapore 609081, Every Friday night 7:50-10pm, Free.
Watch free concerts
Love the feel of live concerts but simply can’t bear to fork out heftily-priced tickets for the whole fam? Head to the Esplanade for free concerts at the Concourse, Concert Hall and Outdoor Theatre. If you’d prefer a picnic in the park while enjoying classical music, the Singapore Botanic Gardens regularly hosts concerts by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.
The Esplanade, 1 Esplanade Drive, Singapore 038981; www.esplanade.com
Singapore Botanic Gardens, 1 Cluny Road, Singapore 259569; www.sbg.org.sg
Get to know Singapore’s history and arts scene – for free! Explore the massive National Gallery and Keppel Centre for Art Education, where you can find the largest public collection of modern art in Singapore and Southeast Asia, as well as displays and interactive activities kids of all ages will love. For the younger ones, the National Museum’s interactive exhibits are designed to help kids learn through play (and keep them entertained the whole day!) Note: Admission fees are free for all Singaporeans and PRs, and children below six years old. Foreign visitors aged 60 and above and foreign students enjoy 50% off admission or a special admission rate. Read more about Singapore’s kid-friendly museums here.
National Gallery, 1 Saint Andrew’s Road, #01-01, Singapore 178957; www.nationalgallery.sg
National Museum of Singapore, 93 Stamford Rd, Singapore 178897, p. 6332 3659; www.nationalmuseum.sg
Visit Singapore’s oldest religious landmarks
One of the reasons why we love this city is its multi-cultural backdrop. Start the temple trail at Little India with a visit to one of Singapore’s oldest temples, the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, to marvel at the colourful and intricate statues and detailing. Then, head over to Chinatown and make a pit stop to Thian Hock Keng temple, an architectural masterpiece of colour and history carved from stone, tiles and wood. Finally, head to Masjid Sultan, a prominent mosque and landmark in the Kampong Glam district. With its massive golden domes and expansive prayer hall, this is a must-see of Singapore’s religious buildings. Don’t forget to check out the child-friendly vibes of Haji Lane while you’re in the area.
Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, 141 Serangoon Road, Singapore 218042;
Thian Hock Keng Temple, 158 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068613; www.thianhockkeng.com.sg
Masjid Sultan, 3 Muscat Street, Singapore 198833; www.sultanmosque.sg
Spend an action-packed day at the prettiest parks around Singapore. Bring along a picnic basket and scoot, ride or amble along the pathways before going nuts at adventure playgrounds. Woodlands Waterfront Park’s towering adventure playground is equipped with netted Sky Bridges, Sky Cabins and ropes galore with slides and swings too to entertain the small explorer – reminiscent of playgrounds of old. West Coast Park is where you’ll find climbing equipment, zip lines, slides, and even a little fire truck and other stations to keep toddlers busy. In the mood for a bike ride, barbecue or playing by the sea? Head to family fave, East Coast Park.
Woodlands Waterfront Park, Admiralty Road West, Singapore 759956
West Coast Park, 71 West Coast Highway, Singapore 126844
East Cost Park, East Coast Park Service Rd, Singapore 449876
Or discover more of Singapore’s playgrounds of old.
Fire Station Open House
Learn all about the stellar job of the brave fire fighters of Singapore at a Fire Station Open House. Every Saturday, the Singapore Civil Defence Force opens up shop to show us citizens what it’s all about. Your kids will love trying a fire hose, scrambling aboard emergency vehicles and scaling to dizzying heights on a rescue ladder. We love visiting the oldest remaining Fire Station on Hill Street where you can also take a trip around the Heritage Museum. Read our review of the Changi Fire Station where the kids had a blast.
Fires stations islandwide (except Jurong Island), Every Saturday 9–11am, Free.
Storytelling, craft and singing at the library!
There is nothing quite like a trip to the library to ignite young imaginations. Most neighbourhoods have a local library for you and the family to browse books and hang out for hour reading stories (in the free air con!). Most libraries also run some great free storytelling sessions for little ears to listen in on, and craft sessions, too (in Chinese or English). Spaces are limited so do check for details at your nearest library for sign up procedures and availability. Jingle, Read and Rhyme, organised by the National Library Board, is another fun free session running island-wide which involves reading and singing for the younger kids. Check out Our Tampines Hub, home to one of our fave children’s libraries and plenty of family-friendly things to do over the weekend.
Witness wildlife in action at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Book ahead for free guided walks amongst this beautiful natural landscape. A site of importance for migratory birds, it is also a place to spot estuarine crocs and other weird and wonderful wildlife or just go for a pretty wander and watch along the revamped walkways and viewing pods. Free guided walks are conducted every saturday covering topics like, What’s in my sky?, What’s in my mud, and What’s in my mangroves? You can also check out a prawn and fishing demo or paint alongside artists in the great outdoors. Another free and fab way to hang out with animals? A visit to the Animal Resort Farm, where you will come face-to-face with rabbits, geese, guinea pigs, fishes, peacocks, horses, a stork and even the exotic grey crowned crane.
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, 301 Neo Tiew Crescent, Singapore 718925; www.nparks.gov.sg/sbwr
The Animal Resort, open daily 10am-5pm, Seletar West Farmway 5, Singapore 798061; www.theanimalresort.com/home
Bollywood Veggies: Paradise on Earth
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and reconnect with nature at Bollywood Veggies, a 10 acre countryside retreat. You’ll feel refreshed rambling around the lush farm with your fam spotting all varieties of veggies and wildlife. Learn about the history of food culture in the Museum of Food, and for a super-healthy lunch, stay and taste the produce.
Bollywood Veggies, 100 Neo Tiew Road, Singapore 719026 (Kranji); www.bollywoodveggies.com
Visit Singapore’s neighbourhoods
Take a tour of Singapore’s culture-rich neighbourhoods like Little India, Chinatown and even Ang Mo Kio with the help of our handy guides. Immerse yourselves in the sights and sounds and explore the heartlands on a wallet-friendly walkabout with the kids. You can even hop on a public bus if you want to try sightseeing on a budget around the island. Spend the morning at Haw Par Villa and get on bus 10 for a quick ride to Our Tampines Hub.
Whether you’re planning on jetting off for a well-deserved vacay or not, Changi Airport has loads of free fun to be had for families. From the mesmerising Kinetic Rain sculpture at Terminal 1 to plane watching and free playgrounds, there’s loads to occupy the kids with, including plenty of wide open spaces for them to run about. Don’t forget to pop into the newly-opened Terminal 4 to see the giant LED display of Singapore’s skyline and other great destinations to go in Asia. Check out our full guide to things to do at Changi Airport with kids.
Splish and splash at the public pools
If there is one thing that Singapore has got spot on – it’s local swimming pools. And for an entrance fee as low as $0.80 per person, it’s practically free! Enjoy a big day out with your kids, splashing, speed sliding, catching a wave and letting life float you by on a lazy river. Pencil this in ever so often, especially during the school holidays, and you’ll score best parent of the year award for sure.
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