Singapore truly is a perfect add-on destination for a family holiday in Asia. For one, it’s an easy city to visit: English is widely spoken, and the infrastructure is modern, orderly, and clean. One can quickly acclimate to the more raucous cultures in this part of the world, and in similar token, ease back into a Western one on the return. And more importantly, there are seemingly limitless family-fun activities to be found.
Here are 20 fabulous ways to keep your family entertained non-stop while visiting The Lion City.
- Singapore Flyer — The 30 minute ride on this giant ferris wheel is an excellent way to view the city. Consider timing your ride during one of the evening light shows over Marina Bay, especially in one of the dining cars, Singapore Sling in hand.
- Night Safari — The world’s first nocturnal zoo experience, and one of Singapore’s most beloved attractions. Especially good for those adjusting to time zone changes!
- Singapore Zoo — If you don’t make it to the Night Safari, fear not… you can still visit this highly entertaining zoo. Besides the animal exhibits, there are also plenty of fun activities for the kids at Rainforest Kidzworld — such as the Animal Friends Show where pets perform amazing tricks, and the wet playground which is perfect for a quick cool-down from the tropical heat. The zoo also provides a special Kidzranger Tour for children ages 5-12, which allows them an opportunity to experience the park as a zookeeper.
- Jurong Bird Park — Gorgeous park filled with birds from around the world. Don’t miss the Lory feeding opportunity to hand-feed a rainbow of tropical birds. V.I.P. tours available whisk you to the best of the exhibits via a golf buggy and provide access to exclusive feedings not available to the general public.
- S.E.A. Aquarium — Exceptional aquarium, and a perfect activity to escape the heat.
- Universal Studios — Need I say more? Well, one thing… the world’s largest dueling rollercoaster lives at this Universal — Battlestar Galactica: Human vs. Cylon. Best for adrenaline-seekers.
- More Sentosa Island fun — Sentosa is perfect for tiring kids out with it’s many fun and active options such as the exhilarating Sentosa Skyline Luge, indoor sky-diving at I-Fly Singapore, and plenty of ways to cool-off while having fun at Adventure Cove Waterpark
- Singapore Cable Car — On your way to or from Sentosa Island, try the cable car option for some nice views of the city and Sentosa from above.
- Gardens by the Bay — This lovely, innovative park right next to Marina Bay includes giant Dr. Seuss-like “Super Trees” which are metal architectural structures covered in live plants. A suspended walkway connects the “trees”, allowing for a great for a stroll above the fauna. Besides the supertree grove, there are two enclosed gardens and a beautiful playground with water features — again, a great way for the kiddos to cool down. Love how Singapore thinks of everyone’s comfort and enjoyment! Also, most of the park is FREE!
- ArtScience Museum — This futuristic marvel is said to resemble an opening lotus flower, though the museum’s managing company — Las Vegas Sands — call it “the welcoming hand of Singapore.” In any event, it’s extremely cool-looking. Interesting fact: the building is sustainable — the shape allows rainwater to flow down into the center of the roof, where it then collects in a reflecting pool. The water is recycled and used in the museum’s restrooms. The museum features state-of-the-art exhibits focusing on art, science, design, media, architecture, and technology. On Fridays, children are admitted free with an accompanying adult.
- Explore diverse cultures with visits to Chinatown, Little India, and Arab Street (Kampong Glam). In Chinatown, take a look at the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum, which is both beautiful and interesting. It includes relics of Buddha, and a very peaceful roof garden at the top of the 6 storied building.
In Kampong Glam, stroll along Arab Street and admire the fabric and rug stores. If you want to go inside the Sultan Mosque, note that shorts and sleeveless shirts are not allowed. Only Muslims are allowed inside the prayer hall. Young and old alike will probably enjoy a visit to toy museum Children Little Museum, which is fun, unusual, interactive museum of vintage toys. It’s located near the front of the Sultan Mosque.Afterwards, grab some lunch at the Western-Thai Eat Play Love Cafe which encourages kids (& adults, too!) to get their creativity on in the Craft Corner. Little India is less interesting to me, but it’s worth a quick lookie for the Hindu Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple and stop-in at the large Mustaffa Center for cheap shopping. One of my families favorite restaurants in Singapore — Potato Head Folk — is located in Chinatown, but not too far from the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple. It has good drinks and food, quirky decor — love all the hamburger accessories — and a lovely rooftop deck.
- Movie Theaters — we enjoyed watching Mission Impossible Rogue Nation in comfort and style at the Gold Class theater experience in VivoCity mall last summer. We purchased online beforehand, showed up and ushered into a bar waiting area until we could be seated. Then escorted to our full reclinable seats which included a pillow and blanket. A waiter took our order — I enjoyed a glass of wine with my view of Tom Cruise.
- Palau Ubin daytrip — enjoy a short boat ride to Palau Ubin island national park from Changi Point Ferry Terminal. The area here is likened to Singapore 50 years ago with it’s simplicity and lack of modern conveniences. Rent bikes for an enjoyable ride around the island, where you will pass fruit farms, wildlife, mangrove forests, and beaches. Ubin town has a few decent restaurants for lunch.
- Hit the beach… Head to the Tanjong Beach Club on Sentosa Island. Book a daybed ahead of time, and enjoy food, drink, music, all the while admiring the beautiful mid-century modern architecture of the club AND your children happily building sand castles next to you.
- Marina Bay Sands — Plenty of activities for the family at this iconic landmark building (hint: it’s the giant surfboard-on-top-of-3-towers structure). Go to the Skypark for a view of the city. Better yet, go to Ce La Vie for the same view without the entrance fee or the long line. Just make sure you order some food and/or drink while you gaze over the city from your table. AND, go before the dinner hour when children are not allowed entrance. Besides the view, the center has a many world-class restaurants, shopping, shows such as Cirque du Soleil, Broadway-equivalent musicals, rock and jazz concerts, and a casino. There is also a skating rink and gondola rides along a river going through the shopping center. One could happily spend an entire day or two here. Actually, you could spend your entire holiday here if you stay in the highly regarded hotel of the same name.
- Clark Quay is perfect for whiling away the evening. Numerous dining options — many with river views– interactive fountains, shopping kiosks, bungee rides, and bumboat rides will keep everyone pleasantly entertained for few hours.
- Cuddle with furry friends at numerous cat and dog cafes around the city. Here are a few recommended ones: Cat Cafe (the original!), Meiomi Cat Cafe, We Are the Furballs dog cafe, or the world’s first Cat Museum.
- Get your game on at one of the awesome board-game cafes — Settlers Cafe and Mind Cafe.
- Plan at least one evening to watch the Wonder Full laser and light show at Marina Bay Sands. Park the family on the promenade or anywhere in the Marina Bay area to catch the nightly 13 minute show which encompasses water, laser, and search lights to tell the tale of the journey of life.
- Singapore could teach the rest of the world a thing or two about creating parks for kids. There are over 300 parks in the city-state. Here’s a sampling of fantastic ones for families: Coney Island is the newest park. It is great for biking and soaking in some nature. Fun fact: there is a lone cow living on the island, and no one knows how it got there. Rules have even been established in regards to encounters with the cow, such as “DO stay calm and walk away slowly.” Pasir Ris Park is chalk-full of fun activities with pony rides, water sports, inline skating, cycling, and a giant playground. Punggol Waterway Park is perfect for bike rides and has a wonderful water-feature playground. West Coast Park has an adventure playground that both younger kids and teens will enjoy.