A giant slide, a pool and playgrounds galore – this is the airport? If you're jetting off and have a couple of pre-flight hours to kill with the family, or are looking for a cheap day out with the kids, you can't beat Changi Airport (it's one of our secret fave hangouts – shhh!)
Whether you are flying off with the kids to an exciting family-friendly destination, popping out of town on a weekend short escape, or simply need a fun indoor activity to keep the kids amused for a few hours on a rainy day, Changi Airport has a ton of fun in store for all. Here’s the inside story on all there is to see and do with the kiddos at Changi Airport…
THINGS TO DO WITH KIDS AT CHANGI AIRPORT (even if you’ve got nowhere to jet off to!)
1. Spot the planes
We’ve never come across a child who doesn’t love to watch planes taking off and landing, and Changi Airport’s public viewing galleries at terminals 1,2 and 3 are the perfect spots for plane spotters of all ages. Kiddos can also check out the action on the tarmac: there are ideal spots for viewing the ground operations too. Once your future pilots have watched the thousandth plane take to the skies, steer them over to the next fun activity…
Terminal 1 (Level 3) and 3 (Level 4), 24 hours, free. Terminal 2 attractions are currently closed.
2. Hop aboard the Skytrain
A train on a magnet? With no driver? Kids will adore going back and forth on the Skytrain, which connects all terminals via a quick, free rail track. It takes just four minutes to travel between terminals, making it the fastest and the most fun way to travel around the airport and check off our list of things to do!
Terminals 1, 2 and 3, open 5am to 2.30am, free
3. Watch the dancing rain! (closed until further notice)
If your kids love to watch things move and glimmer, then take them over to the centrepiece of Terminal 1: the world’s largest kinetic sculpture! Kids will be rooted to the spot (a rare occurrence indeed) as they gawk at the choreographed movements of Kinetic Rain, a 1,216 aluminium and copper raindrop display which is controlled by individual motors.
Terminal 1, open 24 hours, free
4. Send your fearless kids down the world’s tallest slide in an airport
This is the daddy of all airport slides here in Singapore, standing at an impressive 12 metres high (a whopping four storeys!), The Slide @ T3 can be found on level 1. Sliders need to be aged above seven years and measure between 1.3 and 2 metres before they are allowed to conquer their fear and hurtle down the slide. Psst, sign up to be a Changi Rewards Member (it’s free!) to redeem ten free slides!
Terminal 3, midday to 10.30pm daily, level 1 slide is free with every $10 spent at the airport and basement 2 slide is free for all
5. Kick back and watch a movie
Check out the public movie theatre ST3PS at Terminal 3 where you and the kids can pull up a beanbag for free movie screenings and activities every day! Keep an eye out for live sports telecasts of the English Premier League, Grand Prix, Australian Open and more so you can catch the game on the big screen. Head over on weekends for magic shows and music performances on Saturdays and fitness sessions on Sundays. Check out the weekly schedule here.
Terminal 3, basement 2, movie screening 10am to 1am daily, extended operating hours for live sports telecast, free
6. Burn off some energy at soft play
Let the kids hang out at this themed soft play featuring characters from Cartoon Network’s Ben 10 and The Powerpuff Girls. KinderPlay has soft floors and walls to break any tumbles, so you can be sure that your little ones will be having maximum fun with minimum worry!
Terminal 3, basement 2, open 11am to 9pm, cost from $25 per child for four hours of play (peak) and $21 (off-peak). See the website for more details.
7. Immerse yourself in the cute
We won’t say no to another playground! If you or the kiddos are obsessed with all things cute, then head to the Sanrio-themed playground in Terminal 3 to play together with your favourite mascots like Hello Kitty, Gudetama and Pompompurin. Note. The other playgrounds in terminals 1 and 3 are closed at the min!
Terminal 3, basement 2, free
8. Explore Jewel at Changi
Jewel Changi brings you food and shopping galore! We’ve already visited the massive indoor waterfall, but there are tons more things to explore, from the Shiseido Forest Valley to the insta-worthy Topiary Walk. The Canopy Park is a must-visit with the kids and has tons of attractions that are worth a wander, like the Foggy Bowls where kids can play among the clouds, a Mirror Maze, Manulife Sky Nets and the artsy Discovery Slides.
Also, try and keep the kids up late to check out Jewel’s amazing light and sound show, which runs daily at 8pm and 9pm on Monday through to Thursday, and an additional show at 10pm on weekends and public holidays/eves of public holidays.
9. Changi Experience Studio
Get the kids to check out the Changi Experience Studio on level 4 and see what it’s like to run their very own airport by having a go at over 20 interactive stations. Psst, there are also dedicated holiday programmes for the kids, like ‘A Night at the Airport’ camp!
Jewel Changi, Standard Rate – adult $25 and child/senior $17, Singapore Residents – adult $19 and child/senior -$13. Discounts for CapitaStar and Changi Rewards members. Free admission for children below 5.
10. Changi Airport Connector and Jurassic Mile
It’s not just indoors that’s fun at the airport; make sure you head outside for a roarsome good time along the Jurassic Mile, which connects to Terminal 2 from the ECP. You can cycle over and take a rest at Hub and Spoke cafe. There’s even bike rental there too!
PRE-FLIGHT FUN (for the lucky ducks jetting off on a plane!)
Killing time before a flight? You can drop your bags off at the Left Baggage service located at Level 1 of Jewel before hopping to all the fun Changi. But once you’re in the departure hall, you’ll find there are loads more to do!
11. Go for a dip
If you have time to spare before you jet off to somewhere fabulous, then why not start your holiday cooled off and chilled out with a dip in the pool at the Aerotel Airport Transit Hotel? This Balinese-themed swimming pool, jacuzzi and poolside area are perfect for getting the holiday started, and the kids worn out nicely before the flight.
Terminal 1, open 12noon to 9pm daily, $20 per person; www.myaerotel.com
12. Keep the kids busy at the Entertainment Deck (closed until further notice)
Our love for Changi Airport deepened all the more when we discovered the Entertainment Deck at Terminal 2 (and yes, there’s one in Terminal 4 as well with retro arcade games). We are talking four fabulous activities that will quieten the kiddos beautifully while you relax before the flight…
1. Xbox Kinect room: Yes, we know we are always telling the kids off for ‘too much screen time, but with an arduous journey ahead (because, let’s face it, flying with kids can be hard work), who are we to deny ourselves some peace and quiet while the kids are kept busy on Kinect Sports? Plus, this particular gaming experience will wear them out a treat with fun virtual sports to play, including table tennis, beach volleyball, track & field events, bowling, boxing and soccer.
2. Movie theatre: A cinema experience in an airport? Yes, please! Keep the kiddos busy at the movies 24h with some family-friendly blockbusters.
3. Xbox 360 / PlayStation 3: More game console choices and a large range of action-packed games to pick from will make the kids happy and parents relaxed for a moment or ten.
4. Food! All that fun leads to hungry, thirsty kids. Refuel at the Entertainment Deck’s cafeteria, where delicious local and international fare is served up.
Terminal 2, Level 3, Departure Transit Lounge (next to the Sunflower Garden) and Terminal 4, Level 2, Departure Transit Lounge
13. Discover playgrounds galore! (currently closed)
Playgrounds are a tried, tested and approved way for kids to burn off some energy before boarding a plane. Kids aged one to 12 can have a heap of fun in the indoor, air-conditioned playgrounds in departure lounges in all three terminals. There are plenty of seats around the areas and decent coffee, too, so sit back, have a cuppa and watch the kids wear themselves out before taking to the skies.
Terminal 1, Departure Transit Hall East, next to Discovery Garden, Level 2, Transit Area
Terminal 3, Departure Transit Hall Central next to Louis Vuitton Duplex Store, Level 2, Transit Area, free
14. Get back to nature (note: some gardens are temporarily closed)
While gardens and nature might not immediately spring to mind when thinking about an airport, Changi boasts seven areas brimming with green…
1. Sniff out the gorgeous blooms in the Water Lily Garden, which features these beautiful flowers in a natural, aquatic garden space at Terminal 1.
Terminal 1, Departure Transit Hall, Level 2, Transit Area, free
2. Try not to get too prickly with the kids at The Cactus Garden, which showcases more than 100 types of cacti and arid plants from around the world. (Psst: there’s a bar up there, too…).
Terminal 1, Departure Transit Hall, Level 3, Transit Area, free
3. If you are departing from Terminal 2 then the colours of The Orchid Garden are definitely worth checking out. There are over 700 orchids on display to represent the four elements of nature (earth, water, fire and air) here.
Terminal 2, Departure Transit Hall, Level 2, Transit Area, free, (temporarily closed)
And there are even more gardens to explore…
4. Are the small humans driving you nuts before you’ve even boarded the plane? Cheer yourself up instantly with a visit to the bright and happy Sunflower Garden! This spot is also top-notch for the kids to spy planes from. There are rooftop views are directly over the runway and parking bays.
Terminal 2, Departure Transit Hall, Level 3, Transit Area, free, (temporarily closed)
5. Enchanted gardens are always a hit with the littlies, and the one at Changi is truly enchanting! The interactive area is full of nature sounds and huge flowers which are lit up by fibre-optic and LED lighting; plus, we are always impressed at the giant glass bouquet centrepiece, which is decorated entirely with mosaics and stained glass. Real flowers entwine with the glass versions to give a truly magical feel.
Terminal 2, Departure Transit Hall, Level 2, Transit Area, free, (temporarily closed)
6. A butterfly garden? In an airport? You couldn’t make this stuff up! This is a world-first of its kind in an airport, and the garden is designed as a tropical butterfly haven with over 1000 flying beauties from 40 different species brightening up your pre-flight hours. We are talking six-metre grotto waterfall, a heap of flowering tropical plants, and lush greenery. There are even educational corners where kiddos will love getting up close to watch the butterflies feeding (and breeding, too: good luck explaining that!).
Terminal 3, Departure Transit Lounge, Level 2 & 3, Transit Area, free
7. Head to the Piazza Garden (not to be confused with a pizza garden), where seasonal and thematic displays are changed throughout the year. Check out special displays during Singapore’s cultural and ethnic festivals for plants and flowers to represent the celebrations happening at that time.
Terminal 1, Departure Transit Lounge, Level 2, Transit Area, free
15. Catch some cartoons (temporarily closed)
Head to the Family Zone, where the whole fam can chill out at the small playground or zone out watching some cartoons. You’ll find nappy changing rooms and nursing rooms here too.
Terminal 2, Departure Transit Lounge, Level 2, Transit Area, free
16. Indulge in a pampering session (some spas are temporarily closed)
Send the kids off with dad to the Entertainment Deck or the playground, and check yourself in for some pre-flight decadence with a hair or beauty session at one of Changi’s seven spas! Check out the full list here!
We’ll see you at the airport!
Top image: Changi Airport