Top animal attractions in SG

Top animal attractions in SG

If you’re looking for a place for your kids to meet new furry friends, there’s no shortage of fun-filled animal attractions in Singapore to choose from. Pick between some of the incredible events Mandai-based Singapore Zoo has to offer, from their safari-zone which you can wander around at night, to their one-of-a-kind river experience where you can witness wildlife up close from a boat. If you’re up for even more aquatic fun, visit the world-famous S.E.A. Aquarium on resort island Sentosa, or head west to Jurong Bird Park to learn about the lives of feathered friends.

Night Safari

This fun experience is the world’s first nocturnal zoo, the perfect place to meet nighttime critters from around the world. You can choose to explore the park by foot, or most recommended, by a 40-minute tram ride. The zoo is split into six regions, representing everything from jungles to mountain foothills, so your little ones can learn all about the habitats of different animals. The wildlife park is home to close to 900 different animals, from around 100 different species, and focuses on threatened species in a quest to aid biodiversity work. You can see the fruits of their breeding programme thriving here - including endangered Malayan tigers, Asian elephants, fishing cats and Asian lions. Located at the same site as Singapore Zoo, in Mandai, it’s worth sticking around till the evening to experience this one of a kind attraction.

Singapore Zoo

Unique as one of the world’s top rainforest wildlife parks, a visit to Mandai’s Singapore Zoo allows you to visit some of the world’s most incredible tropical wildlife in their natural habitat. The zoo houses more than 300 different species, arranged according to an "open concept" where animals live in areas landscaped to mimic their natural environment. This includes the world’s first free-ranging orangutan habitat in a zoo, an experience you can’t miss. If you’re looking for a special experience to wow your kids while providing an educational experience, book onto their daily Jungle Breakfast with Wildlife event. Held from 9.30am - 10.30am daily, you can have breakfast alongside curious orangutans at the Ah Meng Terrace Restaurant.

S.E.A. Aquarium

Take the monorail over to resort island Sentosa, and visit the famous S.E.A. Aquarium at Resorts World Sentosa. This incredibly designed space houses more than 1,000 different marine species, including Hammerhead and Nurse sharks and the Giant Moray Eel. Amphibian-enthusiasts can get close to brightly-coloured Poison Arrow Frogs - and don’t miss a chance to seek out the Giant Pacific Octopus hiding in the tanks. Kids will love their Ocean Dreams event, where they can take part in a sleepover at the aquarium, in order to learn about the nocturnal habits of the aquatic inhabitants, as well as having fun. Participants camp in tents under the magical blue light of the Open Ocean Gallery and can witness a special Manta Ray feeding session in the morning.

River Safari

Another incredible attraction located next to Singapore Zoo, River Safari focuses on representing the wildlife of freshwater ecosystems around the world. Housing threatened species from the Amazon, the Nile, the Yangtze and the Mississippi rivers, you can witness manatees, giant pandas and the Mekong Giant Catfish in their natural environments. Don’t miss a chance to explore the array of habitats here on the river boat ride, Amazon River Quest, following it with a wander through the magical Giant Panda Forest. The Amazon Flooded Forest exhibit is also well worth a visit - a stunning 22m viewing panel allows you to witness South American fish and manatees in a world-first aquarium exhibit - the largest viewing panel in the world.

Jurong Bird Park

Head west to peaceful Jurong, to wander around its celebrated bird park, located in the stunning area of Jurong Hill, the highest point of the region. This is the largest bird park in the world in terms of number of specimens, and houses 400 different species, including 29 threatened species as part of its biodiversity program. Don’t miss World of Darkness, Asia’s first nocturnal bird exhibit with incredible species like the North Island brown kiwi, night herons and snowy owls. The Windows of Paradise section is also renowned, featuring amazing birds-of-paradise from Papua New Guinea, which will wow you with their incredible plumage and dancing displays.

Best playgrounds in Singapore

Best playgrounds in Singapore

If you're looking to take kids on an active day out where they can take part in some independent play, you couldn't have picked a better city than Singapore. The government's engagement with new design and architecture means that wherever you are, you're sure to be near an innovative and sensory playground that children will love. From sunny outdoor play areas in Pasir Ris Park, to quirky, beachfront areas in Marine Cove, sit back and relax while knowing your child will be well entertained.

Marine Cove Playground (photo)

Head over to sunny East Coast Park, and take your children on a visit to Marine Cove Playground to keep them amused. The 3,500 square metre playground here is located close to the ocean and a sandy beach. It's also right next to a variety of cafes and restaurants, perfect for parents, from The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf to Hill Street Coffee House. Children of all ages are catered to here; older children, from five to twelve, can explore the play tower in the centre, with three levels and a rope bridge, while younger children, from two to five, have their own dedicated play area with a drum seat and fun mirrors.

Jacob Ballas Children's Garden

Located in the stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site, Singapore Botanic Gardens, the Jacob Ballas Children's Garden is the first garden in Asia designed especially for kids. Located in the Bukit Timah Core of the Gardens, it aims to develop an interest in nature in its little visitors. It's the perfect setting to let kids run wild, and unleash their inner explorer while having adventures in the farm, orchard, and forest sections. A suspension bridge and tree-houses allow children to interact with the physical environment, while the garden area teaches budding growers how to nurture their own plants. Download the ‘Explorer' map onto your phone if you want to use one of their dedicated trails around the area, or let your children explore on their own accord to have an adventure they'll never forget.

Pasir Ris Park

Located in the bucolic east of Singapore, Pasir Ris Park is one of the city's biggest and most peaceful parks. Fittingly, the playground here is one of the largest in Singapore, and is located in a beautiful area - right next to the sea and under the shade of palm trees. Sit back on a bench or at the beach and let your kids explore the playground - they'll be enthralled by the range of different play equipment housed here. From traditional swings and slides, to climbing nets and walls, your kids will be immersed in educational play.

Canopy Park

One of the centrepieces of brand new airport architectural wonder, Jewel Changi, Canopy Park is one of the most forward thinking children's playgrounds in the world. With multiple fun-filled features, blending high-tech architecture with play, you can let you kids run free - or explore with them - as you wander around this incredible park. First of all, visit Sky Nets, with two different thrilling aspects - the walking net five stories above ground level, and the bouncing net, a trampoline-style feature with an eight-metre high lookout at one end. The Canopy Mazes are two peaceful attractions, with mirrored and hedge versions designed to help you while away your time. Don't miss taking your kids to the Discovery Slides, where sculptural slides meld into the area around it, their mirrored surfaces creating a space that's both beautiful and fun to explore.

Pororo Park

This adorable indoor playground is located in shopping mall Marina Square, and is the first character based venue in Singapore. Pororo Park stretches out across the second floor of the mall, and hosts areas for kids of all ages. For very little ones, head over to Hinoki Pit, a unique sensory play environment, where instead of sand, an area is filled with aromatic hinoki wood chips imported from South Korea. Kids will love Pororo's House, copied straight from the screen and translated into real life, and can explore the famous penguin's home and play around with the sensory music wall. Make sure you visit Pororo Bouncy Castle too, a permanent inflatable fun area where kids can bounce around to their heart's content.

Best museums for families

Best museums for families

Home to some incredible family focused museums, there's no shortage of educational days out for kids in Singapore. From the MINT Museum of Toys, an incredible treasure trove of vintage toys, to the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, home to some of the best natural history exhibitions in Asia, there's something available to keep every little one entertained. For an artistic and interactive learning experience, head to the ArtScience Museum in the stunning Marina Bay area, or for a quaint and historic day out, Singapore Philatelic Museum - close to heritage site Fort Canning Park - is a great bet. Even the National Museum of Singapore has incredibly clever curation which makes learning about Singapore's past a fun-filled experience.

Singapore Philatelic Museum

Housed in a spectacular colonial era building, the Singapore Philatelic Museum (in photo) is home to a charming collection of postage stamps and memorabilia, teaching kids about the postal history of Singapore by using a well-preserved collection of characterful vintage stamps. The museum houses a changing array of travelling exhibitions too, recent displays have included The Little Prince: Behind the Story, where the colourful life of renowned author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is illuminated through stamps, personal letters, illustrations and books, bringing the well-loved story into focus in a charming way. The permanent Heritage Room is also worth a visit, which tells the story of Singapore's colourful cultural heritage in a unique philatelic way.

MINT Museum of Toys

Head to this incredible building at 26 Seah Street, in the historic Bras Basah neighbourhood, to explore a charming collection of vintage toys and collectibles. The building itself has won awards for its contemporary architecture, seamlessly updating the heritage area with a complimentary 21st century style. Take the lift up to level five to begin your tour, and take in the charming pieces which make up the Outerspace section - from 1950s Japanese robot toys to vintage Star Wars action figures. Next, visit the Characters section - where antique collectables of beloved characters like Batman, Tintin and Astroboy are displayed. From there on, you'll be treated to the Childhood Favourites area, where Mickey Mouse and Betty Boop toys are housed, and the Collectables level, where everything from 1960s Beatles memorabilia to toys celebrating Queen Elizabeth II's coronation are on display. Both kids and adults will be enthralled by this charming museum.

Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Even seeing this contemporary Natural History Museum from the outside is an experience you won't want to miss - inspired by nature, it combines a rock-like outer structure with a landscape deck overflowing with tropical plants. Built to house spectacular tropical pieces from the historic Raffles Collection, the institution is still involved with research into biodiversity and is regularly updated with new discoveries. The highlights of the museum include the Slice of the Changi Tree, a rare species of tree that is believed to be locally extinct, and the Dinosaurs exhibit, with three diplodocid sauropod fossils on display - they were discovered in the last decade in the tiny town of Ten Sleep, in the United States.

ArtScience Museum

One of the best museums for children in Singapore, the ArtScience Museum is housed in a spectacular lotus-shaped piece of architecture designed by Moshe Safdie as part of the Marina Bay Sands complex. The museum contains a series of incredible interactive exhibitions which seamlessly blend art and science. Your kids will be sure to have a unique educational experience here, particularly at the permanent exhibition space, the ArtScience Gallery. Part of this gallery is ‘Future World: Where Art Meets Science' - a must visit, it's the world's first permanent digital art gallery, where 16 interactive installations allow kids and adults to immerse themselves in art. Sketch Aquarium, one of the installations here, populates a digital aquarium with the creativity of its visitors, as everyone is invited to draw their own sea creature and then watch it swim and interact with other digital fish.

National Museum of Singapore

The oldest museum in Singapore, this beautiful colonial-era space is kept updated with contemporary exhibitions and technology, creating an educational and impressive exhibition space. Focusing on stories about Singapore, don't miss taking a look around their permanent exhibitions. The Singapore History Gallery charts the narrative of Singapore's history, using a mixture of historic and contemporary art, ancient and modern objects, sound recordings and compelling written descriptions - which together tell a unique and fascinating story of how today's Singapore came to be.

Transport tips for families

Transport tips for families

Singapore is a famously efficient city, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the transport system. You'll be able to travel easily with kids thanks to easy bus and MRT routes, car hire and taxi services. If you're interested in the best ways to ferry your family around the city, here's a guide to transport tips for adventures with little ones.

1. For cheap public transport, purchase an EZ Link card

Your first step in starting your adventures by public transport is to purchase an EZ Link travelcard. These can be used on all bus and train services, and easily purchased and topped up at a number of different venues. To first purchase your card will cost you around S$12, with S$5 for the card and S$7 credit. If your child is under seven, they're eligible for free travel, so apply for a Child Concession Card in order to get this. EZ Link card's can be initially purchased from MRT Passenger Service centres, 7-Eleven stores and most Transitlink ticket offices. You can also purchase them from EZ Link's online shop.

2. Try out the MRT, one of the best public transit systems in the world

MRT stands for Mass Rapid Transit, and is a citywide train service that covers all corners of the island, and is clean, fast and cheap. There are over 142 stations dotted around Singapore, with more still to come, and is one of the safest ways you can travel around the city. The stations are very well designed and are stroller and wheelchair friendly, with ample lifts and ramps. All stations have toilets and are well staffed - so there's plenty of help available should you need it.

3. Take the bus to see hidden corners of Singapore

Similarly clean, safe and efficient, Singapore has an extensive bus network which will take you to all four corners of the island. Simply top up your EZ Link card and tap in and out to enjoy cheap travel across the city. It's brilliant even for parents with strollers, as they don't need to be collapsed to be taken on board, and there are plenty of transport apps available that will give you bus updates in real time, from the IRIS (Intelligent Route Information System) app to international transport app Citymapper.

4. Try out homegrown taxi brand, Grab, and their family-friendly option, GrabFamily

Catering to all kids over four years old, taxi firm Grab is an app-based cab company that's renowned for being safe, user friendly and affordable. GrabFamily taxis come kitted out with legal and safe booster seats, which cater for children aged four to seven, and only cost $2 extra. Simply download the app onto your phone, select the pick up point and your desired destination, and select the GrabFamily option. You'll be given a price up front and can pay by card via the app. It's a fuss-free way to travel around Singapore.

5. If your kids are younger, Uber Seat might be the taxi choice for you

While GrabFamily is the best option for parents with slightly older kids, international taxi company Uber has a great choice for families with children one and above. Uber Seat provides customers with an IMMI Go booster seat, a fantastic and well-reviewed car seat that's suitable for children between ages one and ten. It's an additional S$5 for this upon booking, but well worth it for the safety features it provides. To book, simply download the Uber app, add your card details, destination and pick up points - and sit back and relax.

6. In it for the long haul? Rent or purchase a car in Singapore

Anyone staying in Singapore for under a year can use their foreign drivers license to lease or buy a car. (It's worth noting that beyond this, you will need to convert your license into a Singaporean drivers license by taking a local theory test.) It's a great option for those ferrying their kids around the city regularly, and for those who have to travel further afield more regularly. However, make sure you use a legally approved booster seat for your children and swot up on local road safety rules, highway acronyms and local driving laws.