We all love a good playground – bonus if it’s huge, and extra bonus if there’re zero entry fees. One that’s become a favourite for many parents is East Coast Park’s Coastal PlayGrove, a 4.5-hectare beachside play area that’s free for all.
Built on the grounds of the now-gone Big Splash, this public playground pays homage to its predecessor with a 4-storey-high tower featuring vertical climbing nets and giant slides, flanked by water features such as wading pools and jet fountains. We headed down to suss out the attraction and here is a full guide with everything you need to know before your visit:
With exciting additions over the past few years like Adventure HQ and Como Adventure Grove, the bar for playgrounds has definitely gone up in Singapore. But Coastal PlayGround doesn’t disappoint with its looming Play Tower – the tallest outdoor play structure in Singapore. 16m-high, the building centres around the key attraction of the area: the vertical climbing nets.
If you love Jewel Changi’s Sky Nets or Airzone’s suspended playground, this huge 4-storey network of colourful ropes and mini-high element courses is sure to intrigue. Stare at it from the bottom-up and you’ll realise the different levels of the nets are all connected right down the middle.
Each level features extra challenges like balancing beams, wobbly stepping pods and even a mini rock-climbing grip wall.
Emerge out the top to enjoy rope swings and a clear blue sky above
It was mainly filled with kids clambering up the structure when we visited, but us young-at-heart adults decided to join in on the fun. Much to our surprise, the climb up was actually pretty challenging, especially if heights give you a li’l bit of the heebie-jeebies. Give yourself a pat on the back if you managed to climb your way to the very top.
Else, there’s a spiral walkway leading up with entrances to each level of the net.
Looking down from the top
Pro-tip: Visit as soon as the climbing nets open at 8am to beat the crowd – capacity is currently restricted to 20 people per level. Also be sure to wear covered shoes!
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 8am-10pm (Closed on Mondays)
While it’s no Big Splash, Coastal PlayGrove has also been making waves thanks to its pair of giant slides – some of the tallest in Singapore. Once you reach the 3rd or 4th storey, take the 7.3m and 11.9m tube slides that’ll zip you all the way back to the ground.
Wear long pants like leggings for the best experience and be sure to wait for the previous rider to exit out the end before hopping in!
Opening hours: 8am-10pm, Daily
The giant slides and vertical nets are recommended for children aged 13 and above.
Young kids who can’t enter the towering vertical climbing nets won’t have to leave disappointed as there’s also the low-lying Leisure Nets. Structured like an obstacle course with increasing difficulty, the surface starts flat on one end, slopes upwards and leads kids down a funnel on the other end.
The Leisure Nets is recommended for children aged 5 to 12.
Get your little ones in touch with nature at the park’s Nature Playgarden, segmented into three whimsical areas to explore. Follow log trails and balancing beams to teepee huts, clamber up fallen logs and get up close to the native shrubs with blooming flowers.
What you might want to keep a lookout for is their “hidden” bamboo tunnel, easily missed by many excited folks drawn towards the main water play area instead. This is a relatively quiet spot for some peace and quiet away from the crowds. Head in via one of their dreamy pathways, brought to life with flowers and fluttering butterflies.
Featuring leaves stretching above your heads, this miniature version of Japan’s Arashiyama shrouds the rest of the world away. If you’re looking for a photo spot to commemorate your visit here, this is it!
With Singapore’s equatorial heat, it’s not uncommon to wish for a cooling dip in a pool after spending an afternoon out. After exploring the rest of the attractions, unwind with a rejuvenating splash in their Water Play Area.
Following the form of a natural river, there are streams flowing down gentle slopes here to wander along, leading down to 2 wading pools. While the shin-deep waters are not for swimming, it still does wonders in cooling down those toes and seem to be a popular hit among kids. Just be sure to watch out for the occasional spew of water shooting out from the nearby water jets!
The Water Play Area is recommended for kids aged 5 to 12.
Pro-tip: There’s a nearby bathroom in the building – but that doesn’t have any shower facilities. Head out further to the toilets at Areas B1, B2 and C1 to wash up after.
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 8am-8pm (Closed on Mondays)
What’s a visit to the seaside without some sandcastles? At the front of the playground is the new man-made sandpit, safe for your little one to run barefoot in as it won’t have any debris, seashells or other litter that could potentially be found on the beach.
No worries about being baked under the hot sun as well. Part of the area is surrounded by tall trees, so there’s plenty of natural shade for parents to relax under while monitoring their little ones.
Pro-tip: Beach toys aren’t provided so be sure to bring your own.
Take learning into the great outdoors with Coastal PlayGrove’s Outdoor Classroom. Basically your primary school’s eco-garden – but cooler, this outdoor learning garden features plants like Seashore Mangosteen and Arabica trees labelled with signs to ignite any young biologist’s interest in nature.
Also peer into a former hornbill’s nest, look out for birds entering a birdhouse on the nearby Yellow Flame tree or challenge your friends to a game of old-school hopscotch.
For a more traditional learning experience, there’s an open-aired classroom area with a giant black chalkboard with logs for seats. Those interested can contact NParks to book the space.
Events may not be allowed right now but we’re more than happy to welcome another open space on our little island. The spacious Event Lawn has the capacity to accommodate up to a whopping 5,000 people once the pandemic is over – but in the meantime, feel free to use it for a round of frisbee, seaside picnic, or relaxing kit-flying sesh with the fam.
The lawn is just a stone’s throw away from the beach
All these outdoor activities are bound to leave tummies growling, and the good news is that you can easily refuel with the many F&B options located within the Coastal PlayGrove. Within their food-court-style eatery, you’ll find cafe grub at Luv Coffee and barbecued prawns and sotongs at Breeze Seafood & BBQ.
There’s also a bistro bar with tipple for those visiting in the evenings, alongside Burger King for some quick and easy fast food.
Having spent a whole morning here, we’ll say this: East side is truly the best side.
Turf wars aside, ECP has certainly outdone itself with this new playground that’s enticing to both kids and adults alike. We certainly had our fair share of fun checking out all the new and interesting attractions and play areas. Did we also mention that it’s all free? It’s free!
P.S. For those who’d prefer to bid tata to the heat and crowd, there’s also an indoor playground and party space, Once Upon A Time (from $45/2h play session), within the building.
Address: 902 East Coast Park Service Road, Singapore 449874
Opening hours: 8am-8pm, Daily
Getting there: The best way to get there is by car – parking rates are $0.60/30min, capped at $5 for overnight charges. Alternatively, take a Grab down from the nearest MRT of Paya Lebar (~$11 without surge). On weekends only, you can also take bus 401 and alight at Opp P/G @ Big Splash. Walk 1 minute to reach Coastal PlayGrove.
For more things to do with children in Singapore, also read:
Photography by John Low. First published on 31st March 2021. Last updated by Dewi Nurjuwita on 15th August 2023.
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