So my suggestion is to bring them to a park, where the area is vast, not confined and social distancing can be kept to a desirable level. But where to bring the kids? In the spirit of GE - that's Go Exercise 🤣 - I've grouped the best outdoor parks to enjoy with the family in the respective GRCs and SMCs!
And yes, all are FREE to enjoy!
So which is your fave? It's time to vote with your legs!!! 😁
Here's the list - in alphabetical order:
(All the GRCs are represented while only some SMCs feature parks within their boundaries)
Bedok Reservoir Park
Location: Along Bedok Reservoir Road
Located in the north of Bedok New Town and a converted sand quarry, Bedok Reservoir Park surrounds the 88-hectare Bedok Reservoir, making it a popular place for families to chill and exercise together. One lap round the reservoir is a mere 4.3km, so it makes good for a leisurely jog or bicycle ride with the family, with its gorgeous sunset a bonus if you are there in the evenings. The track around the reservoir is straightforward, and consists a mix of pavement and pebbly path with the beauty of the route being the fact that the kids are able to stop any time to play, kick a ball, fly a kite or just sit down for a picnic.
|Credit: PUB Singapore|
ANG MO KIO GRC
Bishan - Ang Mo Kio Park
Location: Along Bishan Road and Ang Mo Kio Ave 1
What once was a concrete canal which ran through both of the old Bishan Parks is now a naturalised, meandering river filled with aquatic life. River Plains (formerly Bishan Park 2) consists of a playground, Dog Run and a new addition - an inclusive playground which is an all-access play facility for children with different abilities. Features include a wheelchair-accessible merry-go-round and wheelchair swing, allowing children with special needs to play together with their non-disabled peers.
|Credit: NParks Singapore|
BISHAN-TOA PAYOH GRC
Location: Along Lornie Road
There are two boardwalks at MacRitchie that you can explore with the kids, with each taking approximately one hour. The first is the 1.5 km Chemperai Trail which starts at the western end of the reservoir, left from the car park. It is an easy and relaxing walk as it is mostly on boardwalk from start to finish, skirting the edge of the reservoir – which makes it extremely suitable for families with young children. The trail allows for the easy spotting of thriving dragonfly and damselfly communities, as well as a close encounter with interesting trees and plants along the boardwalk.
At the end of the Prunus Trail, you will arrive at the junction of Petai Trail and MacRitchie Nature Trail. Opt to continue on the boardwalk via Petai Trail, a relatively quiet trail, you will be able to see more wildlife and the occasional glimpses of native birds.
Location: Start the trail from the car park at Venus Drive
The TreeTop Walk is the highlight of several long hiking routes in MacRitchie Reservoir Park. It brings visitors through the different stages of a mature secondary forest. Saunter along the 250m-long freestanding suspension bridge between the two highest points in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve (MacRitchie) - the first of its kind in Singapore. From the suspension bridge, visitors get a bird’s eye view of the forest canopy and may, perhaps, spot a Clouded Monitor Lizard, Common Sun Skink, Plantain Squirrel or Long-tailed Macaque.
The walkway only allows for one-direction traffic, with entrance to the bridge being from the Ranger Station via Peirce track. The distance to the start of the TreeTop Walk is approximately 2.5km (a 45mins to 1hr walk) from the car park at Venus Drive. Therefore, a round trip including the TreeTop Walk is about 5.5 km.
Bukit Panjang SMC
Zhenghua Nature Park
Location: Bangkit Road Entrance, Behind Block 248 Bangkit Road
Located in Bukit Panjang, Zhenghua Park stretches for about 2.5 km along the BKE, linking the Bukit Panjang Park Connector to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. Serving as a green buffer for the reserve, the nature park is also home to a playground for kids.
The playground is situated some distance behind Block 248 Bangkit Road, and it adopts a more rugged theme with climbing structures and slides to keep the little ones happy. In addition, the entire playground is built on a huge sandbox for children to engage in imaginative play.
Granted that the playground equipment is pretty normal compared to other playgrounds in the list but if you are looking for a pleasant retreat (read: playgrounds free from overcrowding with kids) from the hustle and bustle of the usual playgrounds, this will be your best bet.
CHOA CHU KANG GRC
Location: 11 Neo Tiew Lane 2, Singapore 718814
Spanning 56.8 hectares (half the size of Gardens by the Bay), Kranji Marshes is the largest freshwater marshland in Singapore. It is home to a combination of lush, marsh, woodland and grass habitats with more than 170 species of birds, 54 species of butterflies and 33 species of dragonflies lies in the north-western part of Singapore. And not only is it open to everyone, it is FREE to visit!
There are two main areas – one that is open to public and the core conservation area which can only be accessed via guided walks. For the public walk, the start journey begins at Kranji Gate which is located at the end of Neo Tiew Lane 2 (beside D'Kranji Farm Resort).
The walk is a relatively straight-forward linear one, a 1km route which ends at 10-metre tall Raptor Tower which offers a panoramic view of the entire Kranji Marshes. Suffice to say, scaling the tower is the highlight for the kids! To complete an educational day out, be sure to head to the nearby Marsh Station where they can learn more about the birds and their respective bills and feet.
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Location: 301 Neo Tiew Crescent, 718925 (*To access the new extension, enter via the new entrance at Kranji Way)
Make your way through the mangrove forest boardwalks, or watch the birdlife over the freshwater wetlands – especially during the September to March migratory season. Boardwalks keep visitors safe – and their feet dry – as they venture deep into the mangroves to catch sight of tree climbing crabs scuttling up trunks of trees, mudskippers skimming across swamp waters and archerfish shooting insects with jets of water.
The Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve extension is more kids-friendly, with three different boardwalks catering to all nature enthusiasts. The Mid-canopy Walk immerses visitors in the understory of a secondary forest through an elevated, 120m-long boardwalk, where they can spot birds and insects like cicadas that reside in the mid-canopy region and forest floor while the Coastal boardwalk offers a scenic and breathtaking view of the Kranji waterfront with a lookout point where raptors such as the Ospreys and White-Bellied Sea Eagles can be spotted hunting for prey.
At low tide, visitors can even observe crabs and fish foraging for food in the waters. Lastly, the Forest Trail offers visitors the chance to experience the sights and sounds of the reserve up close, and learn more about the plants and wildlife which are unique to the reserve.
Bukit Batok Nature Park
Location: Along Bukit Batok East Avenue 2 and Bukit Batok East Avenue 6
The 36-hectare park offers a trail that meanders through a well-established secondary forest and the chance to see interesting species of trees and shrubs, and their fruits and flowers. This park was once mined for granite but the quarry has since become a large reflecting pool. Walk to the pond that lies at the foot of a high cliff wall and climb the lookout that reaches more than 10 storeys high to catch stunning views of the quarry.
|Credit: NParks Singapore|
|Credit: NParks Singapore|
Changi Beach Park
Location: Along Nicoll Drive and Changi Coast Road
As one of the oldest coastal parks tucked away at the northeastern tip of Singapore, Changi Beach boasts stretches of pristine white beaches dotted with coconut palms, BBQ pits, park benches and shelters. Changi Beach also holds the distinction of being one of the only two remaining natural beaches in Singapore – the other being Sembawang Beach - AND also the unsavoury reputation of being the site of the Sook Ching massacre (search for the World War II Memorial Plaque if you are there).
However, the best part of Changi Beach is it is free from the usual crowds that its East Coast Park cousin is famed for. The park is 3.3km long so the relatively short distance makes it a great place to bring the kids for some cycling, scooting or roller-blading. Feeling hungry? Nasi lemak haven in form of Changi Village is only a pedestrian bridge away.
Changi Beach is also home to two playgrounds for kids. One is situated near to Carpark 4 and is pretty much standard playground equipment for younger kids. But if you have kids who yearn for more climbing and adventure, then the playground closer to the northeastern tip of the park (near Carpark 1) will be the one to gravitate towards.
Changi Point Coastal Walk
Location: 51 Lorong Bekukong, Changi, Singapore 499172
This boardwalk hugs the scenic Changi coastline from Changi Beach Club to Changi Sailing Club. The boardwalk is made up of six segments:
- Sunset Walk for a splendid view of the sunset, flanked by a hill of lush greenery on one side and the sea on the other.
- Kelong Walk: a stretch of the boardwalk with kelong stilts built over water.
- Cliff Walk: built slightly inland, this part is a path through lush greenery. Viewing decks along this stretch at vantage points provide panoramic views.
- Sailing Point Walk: the longest stretch of the boardwalk, and provides open views of the sea.
- Beach Walk: second longest stretch of the boardwalk and faces the Serangoon Harbour and Changi Beach.
- Creek Walk: this portion lies on the southern bank of Sungei Changi.
With marine life and birds being sure visitors here, the best time to visit is in the late afternoon to catch the sunset. The boardwalk totals 1.2 km and is extremely easy for children. Continuing the walk from Changi Beach Club to Changi Village covers a total of 2.6 km and forms the Changi Point Coastal Walk.
Pulau Ubin brings one back to the kampong days, showcasing what Singapore was like in the 1970s. The best way to explore Pulau Ubin is to rent a bicycle and ride around the Island. And the most famous attraction on the island is the rich ecosystem of Chek Jawa Wetlands where families can catch a glimpse of extremely rare ecosystems, animals and plants. Stroll along the 1km-long boardwalk and marvel at the different species coexisting with the mangroves. Be sure to check tide times and go during low tide periods!
At low tide, take a closer look at some of the strange animals that live among the rocky shore, including barnacles, crabs and fierce shell-drilling snails. In fact, there are so many species that dwell in Chek Jawa that each return visit is likely to stumble onto new discoveries! The landscape, too, is constantly changing with the tide.
HOLLAND-BUKIT TIMAH GRC
Dairy Farm Nature Park
Location: Along Dairy Farm Road
The 63-hectare Dairy Farm Nature Park serves as an alternative recreational venue to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve with two biking trails, with catering to the intermediate level of riding, and the other for beginners who wish to have the thrill of mountain biking. Be sure to end your biking trail at the south-western end of the park where the Singapore Quarry lies. Here, it has been transformed into a wetland habitat and boasts a magnificent view of the quarry.
For something less relaxing, go on the Wallace Trail at Dairy Farm Nature Park. The 1-km long Trail is a relatively easy trek, taking visitors through a dense forested area which used to house a kampung community. In fact, you can still see signs of past ‘civilisation’ – remnants of walls of houses, and wells. You will also come across a number of little meandering streams with crystal clear water. Kids will have a field day treating their tiny feet to a cool dip, and trying to spot pond skaters skipping on the surface too!
Also, be sure to make a stop at the Wallace Education Centre, Singapore’s first field study hub for schools. Located in a restored cow shed, the Centre now houses the Wallace Environmental Learning Lab (WELL), as well as an interpretative centre, where visitors can learn about the changing landscapes of Dairy Farm and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve through various exhibits.
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
Location: End of Hindhede Drive
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is the only hill dipterocarp forest in Singapore. This is where Singapore’s tallest hill - Bukit Timah Hill - stands at 163m. It is home to more than 840 flowering plants and over 500 animal species. It also boasts Singapore’s highest peak and several winding forest trails. Aside from the four coloured trails, try the out-of-the-way Durian Loop for a much quieter junglewalk.
|Credit: NParks Singapore|
NOTE: Certain areas at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (including Kampong Trail) are closed for development as part of Rifle Range Nature Park until 2nd Quarter 2021.
JALAN BESAR GRC
Gardens by the Bay
Location: 18 Marina Gardens Drive Singapore 018953
I have not heard of anyone living in Singapore who doesn't know about Gardens by the Bay! So aside from the ticketed Cooled Conservatories attractions, there are more to Gardens by the Bay (read: FREE) for families to explore. Start your exploration at The World of Plants, where a multi-sensory encounter with nature is promised. Enjoy the sights of flowers and fruits in bloom, and venture into the Secret Life of Trees, where visitors will learn how to identify different types of tree species. At the Web of Life, take in the impressive sight of topiary animals such as the orang-utan, pangolin and hornbill. The Heritage Gardens is another highlight, with four themed gardens - Indian Garden, Malay Garden, Chinese Garden and Colonial Garden. Each of these gardens will take one through the history and culture of Singapore’s three main ethnic groups and colonial past.
Oh, and how can a child resist the Children's Garden @ Gardens by the Bay? The Children's Garden is specially targeted at children up to age 12 and seeks to further encourage interaction with nature, together with integrated play equipment and water play features spread over four main play zones - Adventure Trail, Rainforest Treehouses, Toddler Play Zone and Water Play Areas. All amid a luscious garden setting, no less. There are obstacles to conquer, treehouses to climb, slides to whiz down, and a sprawling water play area with water splines, a hydro vault, and orchid-shaped splash buckets. Toddlers will not feel left out too, as they will be contented with a dedicated Toddler Play Zone and mini Water Play area.
Jurong Lake Gardens
Address: Along Yuan Ching Road and Boon Lay Way
The new 53-hectare Lakeside Garden is one huge park that will be more than enough to offer a day of fun and activities whether it is for families, couples or individuals. Kids will no doubt love Forest Ramble which is the largest nature playgarden in the heartlands. The 2.3-hectare playgarden is HUGE and comprises of 13 adventure stations for kids to explore, while being set in a natural environment consisting of streams and plants.
Most interestingly, the playgarden's stattions are designed to emulate the movement of animals which inhabit a freshwater swamp forest. What this means is the play structures are designed to allow kids to mimic the movements of a monkey, frog, heron, crab, squirrel and even an otter!
There are also water play areas in the park - the Tidal Play Pool and Sand Play Pool. Kids can enter the Tidal Play Pool by walking down a gentle slope. Periodically, water will gush out from the steps, making the water level rise (up to 30cm in depth) which gives kids the opportunity to learn about natural tide cycles! At the Sand Play Pool, kids can experience the varying textures of sand while observing how water movements create wave-sculpted ripples in the sand.
Visitors can also head to Rasau Walk, a 300-metre meandering boardwalk along the water’s edge or zoom towards Grasslands which is dominated by tall grasses and small hills - AND totally made for Instagram!
Kebun Baru SMC
Thomson Nature Park
Location: Off Old Upper Thomson Road
Even though there isn't a playground for kids, Thomson Nature Park is home to the ruins of an old Hainanese village that was there from the 1930s which offers adults and kids a glimpse into life in a Singapore kampung back in the 1960s.
Located to the east of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR), between Old Upper Thomson Road and Upper Thomson Road, Thomson Nature Park complements existing nature parks including Springleaf and Windsor Nature Parks to extend the green buffer for the CCNR. This 50-hectare buffer park is unique for its rich cultural heritage as the site of a former Hainan Village as well as housing a rich array of biodiversity and is notably a key conservation site for the critically endangered Raffles’ Banded Langur.
There are a total of five walking trails spanning 3.8 km around the former village's road network - Ruins & Fig Trail (1.5km), Stream & Ferns Trail (1.4km), Rambutan Trail (0.4km), Langur Trail (0.15km) and Macque Trail (0.35km). All of them are relatively short distances which means kids will be able to go on them pretty effortlessly!
The trails have been specially curated to provide visitors insight into the ways of life during the kampung days as well as into the variety of floral and faunal species found in Thomson Nature Park.
If you love nature, then go on the Stream and Ferns Trail which enables visitors to appreciate the freshwater habitat in Thomson Nature Park and observe the great diversity of ferns and aquatic animals present. Personally, I think the Ruins and Figs Trail is the most interesting trail of the lot because it will bring visitors along a trail where there will be plenty of abandoned and old buildings to spot, giving them a chance to experience the heritage highlights of the Hainan Village through carefully conserved ruins.
Thomson Nature Park is unlike your usual nature parks in Singapore. The presence of an abandoned Hainanese village with its ruins scattered throughout the park definitely makes it an intriguing day out with the kids, giving them a glimpse of what life was like there in the past.
MARINE PARADE GRC
East Coast Park
Location: Along East Coast Parkway and East Coast Park Service Road
East Coast Park is certainly no stranger to almost everyone on the island, with its beach being the default chill venue for friends and families who wish to mingle together. For families with kids though, the super big playground at Marine Cove is a must-go.
Or head to the newest attraction to open at East Coast Park - the 5.4-hectare Cyclist Park boasts two new cycling circuits targeted at learners and experienced cyclists, a nature playgarden, as well as F&B and retail outlets for families.
Located within Area D of East Coast Park, at the previous site of Goldkist Chalets (or UDMC Chalets if you are as old as me), Cyclist Park is a one-stop hub for cyclists where visitors can practise cycling techniques at the two cycling circuits, as well as purchase and repair bicycles.
The 280m-long Learner Circuit is designed for beginners to train their clanace and stamina, with gentle slopes and slight narrowing of tracks at certain points of the circuit. The 500-metre long Advanced Circuit, with its undulating tracks, sharp turns, gradual granite steps and narrow bridge, provides a fun challenge for more experienced cyclists. Cyclists can first test their balancing skills at the zig-zag columns and then take on the curvy tracks. There are even extremely narrow tracks and a Wave Bridge to finish everything off!
Not cycling? No problem. Families with children can enjoy a new nature playgarden at East Coast Park within the Cyclist Park too. The playgarden uses natural materials such as upcycled wood to create curated play features for children to engage in spontaneous play amid nature, much like the one at HortPark.
MARSILING-YEW TEE GRC
Location: Woodlands Centre Road adjacent to Bukit Timah Expressway
After a 22-month makeover, Marsiling Park re-opens with plenty of activity areas and amenities for families with kids. Popular elements of the park - such as the viewing tower, Chinese pavilions and stone bridge - have been retained and improved, including the addition of boardwalks which extend to the water at certain parts around the perimeter of the reservoir.
For kids, the main highlight of the park has got to be the inclusion of three new playgrounds - the first being a butterfly-shaped playground with climbing ropes!
There is also a ninja warrior-style playground located just opposite the butterfly playground, which might just appeal to older kids.
Got younger kids? Then head to the Fun Play area located at a short walk away (nearer to the car park entrance). Here, kids get to hit on play equipment with musical elements for an interactive play experience. If you are feeling peckish after all the play, there is a 24-hour F&B outlet at the park.
Bay East Garden
Location: Via Tanjong Rhu Road
Part of Gardens by the Bay, Bay East Garden is the second largest of the three gardens and offers a tranquil respite from the bustling city and a stunning view of the Singapore skyline.
Set amidst beautiful pavilions, wide open lawns, and amazing views of the iconic Conservatories and Supertrees against the Marina skyline, Bay East Garden is the perfect place to chill out with a good book, enjoy a quiet stroll, or have a family picnic.
NEE SOON GRC
Sembawang Hot Spring Park
Location: Accessible via Gambas Avenue
Sembawang Hot Spring Park re-opended early this year with new cascading hot spring pools, a hot spring water collection point, educational panels, a F&B outlet and even enhanced accessibility for wheelchair users! This is Singapore’s only natural hot spring and its water used to be bottled commercially by Fraser and Neave, under the brand name of Seletaris.
The park's centerpiece attraction is the Cascading Pool where water emerges at the top at 70°C and cascades down one tier at 60°C, then 45°C and finally at 40°C at the foot of the pool. Here, visitors can rest on the built-in seats at the edge of the 40°C pool and enjoy a foot bath.
If you prefer to soak your feet in hotter water, head to the Main Water Collection Point. This area allows for different sizes of water collection containers or buckets to be used. And specially for kids, there is also an Educational Zone which consists of an interactive water play feature which allows kids to learn more about the groundwater cycle, as well as play safely with the hot spring water.
Read my review HERE.
Oasis Waterpark @ Nee Soon East
Location: 307 Yishun Ring Road, Singapore 760307 (10-min walk from Yishun MRT Station); 10am - 10pm daily
Now this isn't exactly a nature park but since it's free entry for all, why not include it? 😁 This is the first community water park set within a housing estate in Singapore, and consists of three main zones of water play.
The first is a circular 3.5m-tall water curtain, which sprays mist and water at the same time while the main play centrepiece is the water playground which has your usual spray poles, water guns and jet spray curtains. Younger kids can flock to the smaller play zone which has a mini water slide and other water play features. The third water play zone comprises of various water play features like a water fountain and wading pools.
Lower Seletar Reservoir Park
Location: Yishun Ave 1, Lower Seletar Reservoir Park, Singapore 769139
Calm and peaceful with turquoise waters and balmy breezes, Lower Seletar Reservoir Park is a pleasant place for leisure activities, both on land and in water. That includes a Family Bay area which comes with a water play area with small fountains and meandering “rivers”! The wading pool is perfect for kids to frolic in as the water level isn't that deep.
PASIR RIS-PUNGGOL GRC
Coney Island Park
Location: Beside Punggol Promenade Nature Walk
Head to Coney Island Park, Singapore's rustic nature 'playground' for young and old, for a day of fun with the family. Visitors can enter the island through the East Entrance by Pasir Ris Coast Industrial Park 6, off Lorong Halus or through the West Entrance at Punggol Promenade.
Do NOT expect to find any kids' playgrounds or any other artificial structures here. Everything is deliberately kept rustic on the island, with many of the natural elements being retained so that it is ecologically sustainable. One example is the use of the timber from uprooted Casuarina trees, which were collected and recycled into park signage, seats, benches, boardwalk, and exhibits.
Being rich in history, the 50-ha Coney Island Park is home to a wide variety of habitats, with many interesting and diverse flora and fauna. Veer from the main path and step onto the many earth tracks for a chance to explore what the natural environment has to offer.
Location: Along Sentul Crescent Road
Designed with four themes to cater to everyone of all ages, Punggol Water Park has something in store for every visitor. The Nature Cove features a picturesque view of the Waterway, with a lawn area for families to spend lazy weekends. The Heritage Zone offers gorgeous greenery along the stretch of the old Punggol Road while the Green Gallery is home to the mature trees which are conserved together with the natural terrain of the park.
But it is at the Recreation Zone where kids can go wild at the huge water play and sand play areas. And if there is still energy to be expended, head down to the nearby 5km long waterfront Punggol Promenade where it links up to the Lorong Halus Wetland via a bridge – a biodiversity haven.
Pasir Ris Park
Location: Pasir Ris Park stretches from Pasir Ris Road to Jalan Loyang Besar and can be accessed through Elias Road and Pasir Ris Green. To access the Mangrove Boardwalk, park at Carpark C.
We all know about the giant spiderweb-like structure and other playground amenities that Pasir Ris Park has to offer. But how about a Mangrove Boardwalk? And the good thing about this hidden gem is that it is suitable for people of all ages - even stroller-friendly! This is a definite thrill for families who are up for some crab or mudskipper-spotting. Along the way, get ready to spot peculiar 'humps' in the ground made by mud lobsters, as well as the scampering tree-climbing crabs.
Do make sure you walk until the end of the Boardwalk too for it holds yet another gem — a jetty overlooking Sungei Tampines. It is here where kids can try to spot different forms of wildlife; ranging from herons, kingfishers, water monitor-lizards, gliding lizards (otherwise known as 'flying dragons'), fishes like halfbeaks and archer fishes, and even dog-faced water snakes.
Radin Mas SMC
The Southern Ridges
Location: Off Henderson Road
Hike through the great outdoors andenjoy the serenity of the Southern Ridges. Comprising 10km of hill trails that connect Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park, HortPark, Kent Ridge Park and Labrador Nature Reserve, these ridges are one of the best spots in Singapore to enjoy panoramic views of the city, harbour and the Southern Islands. If you have time, walk through Forest Walk and Canopy Walk along the bridges cutting through the Adinandra belukar, a distinct secondary forest, and enjoy the rich variety of flora and fauna on display.
The most photographed location has got to be Henderson Waves, which connects Mount Faber Park and Telok Blangah Hill Park. Standing 36m above Henderson Road, it is the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore, and is best known for its distinctive wave-like structure consisting of a series of undulating curved ‘ribs’.
Location: At the end of Sembawang Road
Sembawang Park has a huge surprise in store for kids – a Battleship Playgound. Presumably as a nod to Sembawang's naval history, the Battleship comes complete with gun turrets, smoke stacks, propellers and even a rudder. I have to admit; I myself did a double take when I first saw the playground simply because for as long as I can remember, I can't recall the last time when a playground made me go 'WOW!'.
There are loads of rope ladders, rock walls and grid nets for kids to navigate and keep them duly occupied. To top it all off, there are the red climbing net reminiscent of a naval flagstaff and insanely fun pendulum swing beside the Battleship too!
Location: Admiralty Road West
A coastal park boasting a 1.5km long waterfront promenade, a 11-hectare park, a large multi-generational playground and a 400m ex-naval jetty, Woodlands Waterfront is a park worth visiting no matter how off the beaten track it may be. For one, the two-storeys high netted Sky Bridges and Sky Cabins will no doubt make older kids squeal in delight and excitement.
There is a mini playground as well, with slides and swings to keep younger toddlers duly entertained. Or families can take a relaxing stroll along the refurbished jetty which offers panoramic views of the park and the Straits of Johor.
Location: 31 Riverside Rd, Singapore 739087
Now this certainly needs no introduction. With 26 slides – the most number of slides in any park in Singapore - the outdoor playground at Admiralty Park has got to be the largest and best one in the northern part of Singapore!
The playground capitalises on the undulating terrain to site the three main play areas – Junior Play, Adventure Play and the Family Terracing Play – catering to children of all ages and featuring diverse play equipment that encourage group and multi-generation interactions. Yes, even teens and adults are welcome to go on the slides!
In fact, the widest slide and the longest slide in a public park can be found here. At the top of the hill, you can also find a flying fox that whizzes around a circle which will be a hit with the older kids.
The 20-ha nature area also encompasses a diverse mix of secondary forest, mangrove, riverine and open grassland habitats, and is home to more than 100 species of flora and fauna. With several trails within the 20-hectare nature area, families can discover the different species living in the forest, spot hordes of dragonflies and observe monkeys in their natural habitat.
Sengkang Riverside Park
Location: Anchorvale Street abutting Sungei Punggol
Featuring a constructed wetland and rich biodiversity, Sengkang Riverside Park is made up of three areas along Sungei Punggol River—the Visitor Centre, the Civic Event Lawn and Singapore’s largest man-made wetland, Sengkang Floating Island. Hike on the park’s trails to view the marshes and get close to the inhabitants of the marshland. Home to many aquatic plants, the wetland doubles up as a
wildlife habitat and attracts a variety of mangrove birds and damselflies. Alternatively, embark on an educational journey to explore the fruit trees planted around the park such as the starfruit, chiku and dragon fruit trees.
And it's a great park for kite-flying too! From the Visitor Centre, head inwards to the park where a large field awaits. Here, the wind blows rather consistently as there are no visible obstructions nearby.
Tampines Eco Green
Location: Tampines Avenue 9 and Tampines Avenue 12
Tampines Eco Green is probably the most underraated park in Singapore because it is unlike any other nature park we had visited. For starters, it is a sprawling 36.5-hectare ecological park resembling a savannah with marshlands, secondary forests and freshwater ponds. Not only that, the park was designed with minimal intrusion, leaving most of the land untouched and in its original state. In fact, the park is NOT lit at night - so go before 7pm! - so as to minimize disturbance to its wildlife inhabitants.
But if you are looking for playground structures to keep the kiddos occupied, there are NONE here. What is present in the park is plenty of flora and fauna to keep the little ones fascinated. And the main difference here compared to other nature parks is the footpath is carpeted with Manila Grass rather than concrete or gravel, making it a unique walking experience.
The park offers three trails weaving through the forest: Diversity Trail, Forest Trail and Marsh Trail. In total, one loop of the park covers 3km, with a walking time of between 1.5 to 2 hours. The terrain is flat throughout, making it extremely easy for kids.
TANJONG PAGAR GRC
Singapore Botanic Gardens
Location: 1 Cluny Rd, Singapore 259569
The only tropical garden to be honoured as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Singapore Botanic Gardens boasts an impressive oasis of greenery, which has been developed along a 3-core concept: The three cores are Tanglin (the heritage core retaining the old favourites and charms of the historic Gardens), Central (the tourist belt of the Gardens) and Bukit Timah (the educational and discovery zone). Each core presents a different and exciting range of attractions.
If you are bringing the kids, two extensions of the Gardens will be specifically of interest to them. Firstly, the Learning Forest features a network of boardwalks and elevated walkways that allow visitors to explore habitats ranging from a freshwater forest wetland to a lowland rainforest. Kids will love the Canopy Web which allows visitors to experience being in the canopy of a forest from a height of about 8m!
Once done, visit the new Gallop Extension, an extension of the Tyersall-Gallop Core of the Singapore Botanic Gardens and the only location in Singapore where visitors can see a curated interpretation of various habitats that are representative of forests in the region. The Mingxin Foundation Rambler's Ridge will be perfect for that short morning or evening nature walk while Rambler's Ridge has a ridge-top hiking trail which leads to the highest point in the Singapore Botanic Gardens. Okay, so it is only 40m above sea level which is hardly Bukit Timah Hill standard but it is a trail that even younger kids can complete on their own.
Jacob Ballas Children's Garden
Location: 481 Bukit Timah Rd, Singapore 259769
This is Asia’s first garden dedicated to children and since its refurbishment in 2017, it is now Asia's largest children's garden and even has a new Forest Playground! The 4-hectare garden is packed with interesting features and stations such as the Sensory Garden where kids learn about nature by engaging their senses of smell and touch. Other top attractions include the water play area and an awesome tree house furnished with a spiralling slide.
But the fave attraction for kids has got to be the forest playground where they can explore a tree top canopy and finish it off with the flying-fox!
Jubilee Park @ Fort Canning Park
Location: Bounded by Clemenceau Avenue and River Valley Road
Beyond the rich history that Fort Canning Park offers, the park also has wide green spaces for kids to run amok... as well as a brand new playground space.
Jubilee Park is situated opposite Liang Court, and sits on the western slope of Fort Canning Park, which used to host a range of recreational options for Singaporeans, such as River Valley Swimming Pool, Van Kleef Aquarium and the National Theatre in the 20th century. Now, the open space has been restored as a family-friendly node with lots of play structures for kids. For one, they will love putting their balancing skills to the test at this log obstacle course!
There are also bouncy nets, as well as these 3 super long slides which offer different meandering options down to the bottom.
WEST COAST GRC
West Coast Park
Location: Parallel to West Coast Highway
If the East Coast is the King of sandy beaches & cool sea breeze, then the West Coast Park must be the King of playgrounds. It has about SEVEN different types of play areas which cater to different age groups - from the toddlers to even teenagers. And standing at the core of the park is the Adventure Play Area with a giant spiderweb-like structure that allows kids (and adults) to scamper up to dizzying heights.
There are also Ninja Warrior-inspired obstacle courses and a Flying Fox installation that is sure to challenge one’s agility. The little ones do not get left out too - there are two non-sand areas which cater to the youngest of toddlers.
Labrador Nature & Coastal Walk
Location: Along Labrador Villa Road
Located within walking distance of Labrador Park MRT Station, the 2.1km Labrador Nature & Coastal Walk comprises three distinct segments – Alexandra Garden Trail, Berlayer Creek mangrove trail, and Bukit Chermin Boardwalk.
Crucial to Singapore’s biodiversity, back mangrove species can be found at the Berlayer Creek boardwalk, while coastal cliff vegetation can be found in the nature reserve. Possibly the only mangrove patch in the southern part of Singapore island with the convenience of an integrated MRT station entrance, you are immediately greeted by the lush landscape of the entrance plaza before you enter the 960m Berlayer Creek. Currently one of two remaining mangroves in the south of mainland Singapore, Berlayer Creek is home to a myriad of fauna and flora, including one of the highest densities of molluscs in Singapore.
For kids, the 330m Bukit Chermin Boardwalk that comes after Berlayer Creek will be the highlight. This elevated boardwalk on sea brings them across the mouth of Berlayer Creek and along the coastal foothill of Bukit Chermin. Take a leisurely stroll along this coastal boardwalk, while enjoying the different views of the expansive waters of Keppel Harbour, the lush greenery of Bukit Chermin hill, and the distant rocky cliffs of Sentosa island. During high tide, the low-lying boardwalk will bring you close to the water surface where schools of fishes can be sighted; while at low tide, you can also spot seagrass beds and different species of crustaceans found on the extensive mudflat.
Jurong Eco Garden
Location: 1 Clean Tech Loop, Singapore 609434
Just a stone's throw away from Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle is Jurong Eco-Garden, the 'green lungs' of CleanTech Park and Singapore’s first freshwater swamp forest located within an industrial park. If we had not visited Thow Kwang, we would not have discovered this gem of a find. Simply because the Eco-Garden has an amazing variety of wildlife and nature and is home to many birds, dragonflies, butterflies and insects.
Spread over four areas - Summit Forest, Wildlife Corridor, Stream Ravine and Freshwater Swamp Forest - the 5-hectare park intersperse building parcels seamlessly with green spaces. One interesting station to visit is the Composting Station which features the processes how horticulture waste are converted into resources. If you are planning to expose nature to the kids minus the crowds, Jurong Eco-Garden will be your best bet!
Location: 33 Hyderabad Road (off Alexandra Road), Singapore 119578
Dubbed the “Gardening Hub” of Singapore, it is a one-stop gardening resource centre and a knowledge centre for plants and gardening, providing planting ideas and solutions. Kids can learn how to grow their first plant, or create their own floral arrangement or terrarium, while older kids can take a course in creating an air plant that grows in little to no soil at all.
Of course, what's a park without playgrounds for kids? In addition to the usual play structures, HortPark is home to be a new playgarden but one cannot find a single seesaw or slide there. Rather, the Nature Playgarden at HortPark is designed to encourage kids to spend more time outdoors and reconnect with nature. Built with pre-schoolers in mind, the playgarden is best for kids aged between 3 and 6 years old.
This playgarden is NParks' first Biophilic Playgarden, which integrates play features with more natural elements such as trees and sand. In all, there are a total of nine play features at the playgarden. There are none of the usual slides, seesaws or even climbing structures that one usually associates with playgrounds but I love how the playgarden has ingeniously blended play activities with nature... along with plenty of hideouts for kids to explore.
Are there any park that I've missed? Do let me know in the comments below.