Children's Garden at Gardens by the Bay
I'm sure we've all heard the latest news that Singapore has taken Tokyo's position in the Economist Intelligence Unit's (EIU) ranking of the World's Most Expensive Cities to live in. So as I pen this photojournal, its with a lump in my throat and a tinge of bewilderment.
Singapore the most expensive city in the world, really? But at least our hawker food, public transport and honeydew melons don't cost an arm, leg or liver transplant. Surely our astronomical vehicle and house prices should be taken in context, instead of being used as absolute values as metrics for the cost of living here.
My apologies if I had deviated from my photojournal for a bit.
But for parents at least, it's nice to know our city is one of the most children friendly cities in the world. And today I'll like to show you one of the best Children's Gardens in the region. The best part of this of course is that admission is FREE! Yes, the most expensive city in the world or not, you can live a frugal and happy life in Singapore if you know where to go.
This one hectare garden was opened on the 21st Jan 2014 and it was funded by Far East Organization for S$10m - which is the largest amount received by Gardens by the Bay so far. It is located along the waterfront of Bay South Garden, adjacent to the Cloud Forest conservatory.
The Children's Garden zones
Toddlers Play (suitable for 1-5 years old) - The play zone has two areas and it features a sway bridge and stepping springs. There's also the Fish Fountain featuring an interactive landscape of water tunnels and fish sculptures where toddlers can climb on sculptures and be enthralled by a series of water jets.
Rainforest Treehouses (suitable for 6-12 years old) - To simulate the call of the jungles, this section is located within a dense canopy of trees. Two tree houses with heights of 4 metres and 7.5 metres, span a 130 metre-long forest trail. Play equipment like a spider net, hill climbing ropes and spinner bowls will keep the children's psycho motors and muscles fully occupied and utilized.
Water Play (suitable for 6-12 years old) - This is the definite highlight of the garden and will be irresistible for any child who loves fun with water. The programmable moving water spray pipes are linked to motion sensors which detect children to create a corresponding sequence of water effects.
Children's Garden Zone - Toddlers Play
At the Toddlers Play Zone, kids get occupied chasing or dodging jets of water. You might be thinking why is my 8 year old daughter in the toddlers zone? Well, occasionally, the Water Play zone goes in "hibernation mode" for maintenance in sessions of 30 min to 1-hour. So it is quite normal for "over aged" kids to seek continued fun here, as the two zones are just steps from each other.
Children's Garden Zone - Forest Tree House
At the Forest Tree House zone, kids get to flex their muscles on the monkey swing, reinforce their balancing skills on the wobbly suspension bridge and conquer their fear of heights by scaling the tree house as they answer to the "call of the wild".
My daughters scaling the netted dome and maneuvering through the thick wires. It looked simple but yet I saw other similar aged children who seemed terrified to scale the play equipment. They probably need to get out and play more often! Parents take them out more!
Children's Garden Zone - Water Play
Here, the programmable water play is linked to sensors which detect the movement of children to create a corresponding sequence of water effects. Uniformed staff (like the one in the centre of the picture) are stationed at various points to keep a watchful eye for the safety of the young visitors.
To ensure your children have a great time at the garden, bring along a fresh change of dry clothes or better yet, pack their swimming attire in the bag. And don't forget the sunblock :)
Be prepared for serious fun at the Water Play zone! In our hot humid weather, playgrounds like this are god-sent.
Although the age specified for the Water Play zone is 6-12 years old, accompanying parents taking care of their little ones can join in the fun. I did not see any parents being chased away by the park staff.
But if a group of teenagers partake in the hydro fun, it might be a different scenario.
This reminds of the great kungfu sage, Bruce Lee - "Be like water, my friend". Just joking, of course, as there is no link between that and this pic! But play with the water, understand it's properties, and be thankful we have achieved through innovation a world in which we have water to play with.
The profiles of the visitors that descend on the venue are very much an international one. Any nationality, however diverse, will find the park truly memorable. Childhood memories are made of this.
Tips for a wonderful time at the Children's Garden
- Parents and caretakers of children can rest at the Amphitheatre with its covered canopy just steps away from the Water Play zone. If time is adequate, do check out the rest of the outdoor gardens at the Gardens by the Bay (GBTB) for a more well-rounded trip. Time allocation: 3/4 day.
- Bring along sun blocks, drinking water, change of dry clothes or swimming attires. Some snacks would be an excellent idea.
- In the event of lightning, play at the area will be suspended for safety.
- Directions on how to get here by MRT, Bus or Car (& car park fees) can be found here.
- The Marina Barrage is about a 15min walk from the Children's Garden. It is a great venue for kite flying and picnics if that's your sort of thing.
- For food and beverage, the Satay by the Bay is just about a 3-4min walk from the Children's Garden. I personally find the food just alright so anyone heading there expecting a gastronomic experience should lower their expectations.
Children's Garden Opening Hours
The Children's Garden opens from 9:00 AM - 9:00 PM daily. It is closed for maintenance every Monday, or during the next working day if a public holiday falls on the Monday of that week.
As mentioned earlier, this one hectare garden was funded by Far East Organization for S$10m. We coincidentally have been featuring a fair number of Far East Hotels on TSL. So if you want to learn more about their hotels you can check out our Oasia staycation (for couples) and I personally took my family for a staycation at Village Hotel Changi.
Tip: Their hotels are pretty awesome too.
Disclaimer: All pictures are copyrighted to Jensen Chua and are all rights reserved.