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.

Five days out for active families in Singapore

Five days out for active families in Singapore

If your idea of the perfect family day out involves breaking into a sweat or experiencing the outdoors, you'll be spoilt for choice in Singapore. From outdoor adventures, like jungle bike rides in idyllic island Pulau Ubin and treetop adventures and ziplines near Bedok Reservoir, to indoor fun, like the huge trampoline parks located around the island, you'll be sure to entertain your kids while staying active during your visit to Singapore.

Pulau Ubin

Located off the north coast of Singapore, Pulau Ubin is a ten minute bumboat ride away from Changi Pier. Once here, you can choose to walk or rent a bike - either way, you'll be immersed in a rural and bucolic island paradise, evoking the Singapore of days past. You'll pass wild boar, monkeys and beautiful tropical birds - which if you're lucky, may include Oriental-pied hornbills - and if you choose to walk around the Chek Jawa Boardwalk, octopuses or fiddler crabs. If you're cycling, don't miss the Ketam Mountain Bike Park, an eight kilometre long trail that meanders through open meadow and thick jungle.

Forest Adventure (photo)

This treetop adventure course is the largest in Singapore, and is located around the stunning Bedok Reservoir, the perfect place to get active. The course takes you 2.5 hours to complete, and along the way will thrill and challenge you with more than 44 different obstacles, including three zip lines. If you're travelling with younger children, the course offers shorter versions, including a kids course and junior course. The highlight is the 300m long zipline, where you'll feel like you're flying over the jungle beneath you.

AMPED Trampoline Park

One of the best trampoline parks in Singapore, AMPED is located centrally in River Valley. Focused on creating a family-friendly experience, head first of all to the central court, where kids and parents can bounce together. If you're in need of a break or just want to shake things up, the park also hosts other activities - from a climbing wall and basketball hoops to a dodgeball court. It's the perfect combination of healthy activity and a huge amount of fun, and creates safe spaces for your children to run wild.

Skyline Luge Sentosa

Located on Singapore's favourite resort island, Sentosa, the Skyline Luge whizzes you out of the jungle to the beaches downhill. To get to the start of the Luge track, you can opt to walk or combine it with another fun activity - a Skyride - an open air ski-style chairlift, which gives you fantastic views around the island. There are four winding tracks to choose between - Dragon, Jungle, Expedition and Kupu Kupu (which means butterfly in Malay.) It's extra special too - and little cooler - to ride the Luge at night. It opens until 9.30pm and the track is colourfully lit up - if you're really lucky you'll even see nearby fireworks.

Zoom Park Singapore

For the largest trampoline park in Singapore, visit Zoom Park in Tampines. More than 80 different trampolines are housed in the building, which is divided into seven different zones. Don't miss the Xtreme Dodgeball Zone, where you can bounce and play at the same time - and if your kids are younger, there's a separate section for them to frolic with the same age group. The Wall Run zone is also worth a visit - it's a place where you can practice your parkour skills in a perfectly safe environment.

Wild Wild Wet

If you want an active day out while still staying cool, head to Pasir Ris' Downtown East resort complex and spend the day at Wild Wild Wet, one of Singapore's best water parks. You'll be spoilt for choice with water slides, wave pools and a lazy river. If you're travelling with toddlers, the water playground here is a great place to let them run wild, and with older children, the Kidz Zone recreates smaller versions of some of the bigger rides here, creating a safe space for your children to have an adventure.

Family-friendly hotels in Singapore

Family-friendly hotels in Singapore

Singapore is renowned for being a safe, efficient and family-friendly destination, and while most hotels will offer fantastic kids facilities, there are a select few which go above and beyond your expectations. From rustic villas in the rural north-west corner of the city, to the whimsical fantasy-land of Tanglin's Shangri-La Hotel, you'll be enthralled by some of the fantastic choices of family-focused hotels which will keep you relaxed and your kids entertained.

Gallop Kranji Farm Resort

Nestled in the greenest area of the city, Gallop Kranji Farm Resort allows your kids to get close to nature while enjoying the ease of the luxury facilities the hotel offers. The area is set in a verdant space 50,000 square metres in size, in an idyllic area of north-west Singapore surrounded by more than 100 farms. Wander around onsite vegetable, fruit and herb plantations, bee farms and bird nest farms, and in the day make use of the resort's shuttle service, which will ferry you to famous farms in the surrounding area, from Bollywood Veggies (a fruit and vegetable farm) to Hay Dairies (a goat farm.) Accommodation is in rustic but cozy villas and onsite restaurants prepare local and Western dishes made from locally sourced ingredients.

The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore

Very few hotels could rival the ‘Ritz Kids' facilities for guests with families. From its outstanding location in Marina Bay, this hotel offers in-room camping with mini-safari tents, an inhouse playground - Playland - with games, toys, books and their very own movie theatre. Feel free to pick from the concierge's epic selection of kids DVDs - they'll also be more than happy to book you family-friendly attractions around the city. Kids between the ages of four and twelve can have an expedition around the hotel with the Ritz Kids Adventurer Passport - the lobby on level three is home to secret animal stamps - if children find them all the prize is a scoop of luxurious ice cream.

Shangri-La Hotel Singapore (photo)

Located in the safe and leafy streets of Tanglin, the Shangri-La Hotel has some of the best kids facilities around. From their ‘buds by Shangri-La' indoor and outdoor playgrounds - an epic and colourful feat of architecture stretching 1,872 metres around the hotel - to their themed family suites, which need to be seen to be believed. It's hard to pick between the safari themed suite, where your kids can set up camp with a colourful and luxurious tent inspired bed, and the tower room, where an impressively-sized kids castle houses bunk beds. Each themed family suite is also home to a tunnel which interconnects kids and parents bedrooms. For luxury with more than a hint of whimsy, the Shangri-La Hotel is an ideal place to be your home away from home.

Furama Riverfront Hotel

In the historic area of Chinatown, near the Singapore River, Furama Riverfront Hotel embraces the concept of themed suites to brilliant effect. Striking wall murals combine with fantastical furnishings - choose between their Pirates, Castles or Underwater decorations to create a magical experience your child won't forget. All rooms also come with an Xbox console, and for outdoor fun, the pool area hosts an inflatable bouncy castle. Onsite children's play areas PAWS and Waka Waka are also worth a visit, followed by the complementary international buffet with plenty of kids favourites available for dinner.

Shangri-La's Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa

If you're looking for a family-friendly hotel with easy access to the water and white sands of resort island Sentosa, the Shangri-La's Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa is an ideal choice. All rooms feature stylish balconies which overlook expertly landscaped tropical gardens and a swimming pool. If your kids are into outdoor activities, particularly water sports, there's no better option in the city. The hotel has onsite water slides, kids pools, a water sports centre with kayaks, pedalos and stand-up paddleboards, and even a flying trapeze. The hotel is right next to Siloso Beach, with its own private section of beach open to hotel guests only.