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 cool for kids, too. Thanks to 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 (thanks to popular events like the Singapore Night Festival too!) 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. We also highly recommend Play at level 3 of the museum – the dedicated area for children packed with hands-on activities. There’s even a special machine that embosses an image of a local dish onto paper for them to colour in, or they can pretend to cook the dish at the impressive toy stove. The National Museum is also a fab spot for enjoying Chinese New Year celebrations too – there’s a lion dance for the kids, craft tables and costumes to dress up in for a family photo shoot!
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!). What we like best, though, are the special activities that accompany every exhibition, tailored especially for kids. Until 27 October, the littlies can immerse themselves in the magic behind Dreamworks’s animated films or learn about the wonderfully weird marine critters that live deep beneath the ocean’s surface.
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, the annual Art Garden (usually from May to August), held in conjunction with Children’s Season, promises contemporary art fun for the young, and young at heart! We’re looking forward to more interactive exhibitions like the wildly popular Imaginarium: A Voyage of Big Ideas.
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 artifacts, 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 Saturdays at ACM 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
Singapore Science Centre
Though technically not a museum, 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.
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 one of the newest museums in Singapore. 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 Sundays program. Exploring different themes of Peranakan culture every second Sunday of the month, the four-hour workshop includes a craft activity, a guided tour, music and dance!
Peranakan Museum, 39 Armenian Street Singapore 179941, p. 6332 7591; www.peranakanmuseum.org.sg
Children’s Little Museum
Previously known as Ah Kong Tiam (Grandfather’s shop), this antique museum nestled in the heart of Kampong Glam remains fairly unnoticed, except for its unofficial mascot – a man-sized robot guarding the door! While the collection is not as extensive as the MINT Museum of Toys, the intimate vintage-charm found here warrants a visit with the little tykes.
Children’s Little Museum, 42 Bussorah Street, Singapore 199460, p. 6298 2713.
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