We love water play! Could FEO Children's Garden at Garden's by the Bay be Singapore's best free water play destination?
Got a sunny, sweaty arvo up your sleeve and you’re looking to fill the gap? Here’s your plan. Slip on your bathers, sunscreen and a smile and hightail it to Gardens By The Bay water play area – Far East Organization Children’s Garden.
It can get pretty scorching out there, so this itinerary has you arriving around 4 p.m. – once the heat has subsided. From the Visitor Centre throw the little ones on a scooter or pram and make a beeline for the FEO Childrens Garden. On route make sure to take a gander up at the Super Tree Grove – vine entwined sculptural depictions of trees – and stand truly awed in the shadow of their 16 storey-high beauty.
Now you have arrived at the Children’s Garden, ditch your clothes and dive straight in to the water play area. It technically suggests it is “suitable” for 6 to 12 year olds, but who’s checking? Lockers are also available for squirrelling away valuables at the cost of a gold coin.
This outdoor wet-venture playground is a stellar example of what this great lion city does best – free, immaculate, well designed and perfectly executed children’s recreational areas. Speakers boom out classics like “Under The Sea” from The Little Mermaid in sync with the choreographed water fountains. Be still, my fluttering heart.
If your little companions happen to be on the somewhat smaller side, don’t despair, there’s a toddler play zone. They will delight in the exploration of water without the fear of a shot in the face. Add to that a playground with swings and the standard fare, and they are all sorted.
Cast your eye immediately adjacent to the water areas and pop over to the rainforest tree houses and surrounding cornucopia of equipment. Admittedly it’s for older kids, but 3 to 5 year olds can manage most of it without a broken arm or flood of tears. Think secret garden meets Robinson Crusoe and you get the picture.
Round up your entourage and re-group in the Children’s Garden Café for a refreshment break. Or if you prefer, pack a picnic in advance and take shade in the amphitheatre with covered canopy.
Once you are satisfied the kids have reached the ultimate balance between acquiring developmental skills, like climbing, sliding, balancing and jumping, and being on the verge of a melt down, then that’s your cue to leave.
Get showered, re-dress, and re-energise the juniors with a short scoot (read: a couple of hundred metres) down to Satay By the Bay. It’s time for some good old-fashioned hawker fair beside the bay. Cue the lime juice, fried rice, grilled meat on a stick with peanut dipping sauce and BBQ chicken wings. Halleluiah, Satay by the Bay is open 8am to 10pm.
Now the only problem is, you’ve got to get all the way back to the car. Thank goodness they’ve got those scooters!
Gardens By The Bay, 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore 018953;
Images: Choo Yut Shing Flickr