Where to bring kids in Singapore
We just got back from a whirlwind week-week-long adventure in Singapore! For all but two days, it was just the kids and me (Daddy had to work). Singapore was everything I dreamed it would be, only hotter. We were spoiled for choice when it comes to places to bring the kids.
Gardens by the bay
Wow, this place is amazing. There is so much more to the gardens that just the famous vertical gardens.
This takes place in the famous vertical gardens. You can buy tickets to watch the show from the suspension bridges up top, or you can plop yourself down on the ground and enjoy it for free! We asked an employee which she preferred and she thought the ground was actually a better view – so the ground it was! We actually laid down on the ground on top of a scarf that I had brought.
Splash zone. I couldn’t believe that this place was free. There was even a separate, small splash pad for babies and small toddlers. Locker rooms were available on-site as well.
An adventure path, designed for kids 6 and up.
The meadow is a large area surrounding a lake. Lots of space to relax, picnic or wander about. This area was surprisingly uncrowded.
Cloud Forest and Flower Garden
We really enjoyed the Cloud forest! Especially the large indoor waterfall. The flower garden was ok, you are not allowed to touch any of the plants so that can be a bit hard for some toddlers. I’ve put these two together because you can only buy a combination ticket to enter both. Both are air-conditioned, which is a welcome relief from the Singapore heat!
Art, Science, Design, Architecture and more can all be experienced at the ArtScience Museum. The exhibits change frequently so there is always something new. The museum charges per exhibit, which changes from time to time. So while you will get a better deal by doing more exhibits, you only have to pay for the ones you think your family will enjoy.
Within the botanical gardens is the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden designed specifically for little explorers. While the park is free, you have to pay to enter the very popular National Orchid Garden.
Universal Studios Singapore
Universal Studios Singapore is more similar to the one in Orlando (sadly, minus Harry Potter) than the one in LA. It is a full-fledged theme park with one backstage show. We spent an entire day there and had a blast!
Universal with toddlers
92cm is the magic number. If your toddler is at least 92cm tall then it is definitely worth a visit. Especially if they are under four because then they are FREE! My twins are on the early side of three, they are both small for their age and both were above 92cm, so MOST 3-year-olds will probably be tall enough as well as a fair amount of 2-year-olds. If not, there really isn’t a lot for them to do – I think only about three rides. If your little one is happy to sit things out and you and your family members are huge roller coaster fans then that might work too.
Favorite rides for toddlers at least 92cm at Universal Studios Singapore
My toddler’s favorite ride was the Canopy Flyer – I was a little surprised that they let kids on as small as 92cm (don’t worry, they have an extra buckle for the little ones) but I am sure glad they did!! The universal express pass does not work on this ride but if you go right before or after the parade (which passes right by) then you will see pretty short lines!
This is not your ordinary Merry-go-round. It has all the characters from Madagascar and is set to some fun, spunky music.
Junior Roller Coaster
This roller coaster goes surprisingly fast! My kids loved it but if your toddler has never been on a roller coaster before, you might need to give them a pep talk.
Very similar to Disney’s Dumbo – but with Pterodactyls.
Madagascar: A Crate Adventure
This one is a leisure boat ride featuring the cast of Madagascar.
Other rides for toddlers at least 92cm are Treasure Hunter (our least favorite) Seasame Street Space Chase (pretty fun), Enchanted Airways, Shrek 4D adventure (this one has air conditioning!) and the Backstage Tour which may or may not be a bit scary for your little one. There are also many shows and the night parade that they can also enjoy!
TIP: Plan to eat lunch early. By 1 pm, we had a very difficult time finding seating anywhere within the park.
On the one hand, it’s just a store but on the other its a dreamland for kids! It also has the best gelato I have had in a very long time. Outside, you can enjoy your treats under the shade of a lollypop tree while your kids hang out with some life-sized candy.
This Zoo is Amazing. It is beautiful. It is also pretty big. We spent 6.5 hours there and almost made it through the whole thing. Check the schedule for feeding times and carry cash. You can feed the giraffes, goats, and even rhinos for $5. There are also several showtimes throughout the day.
The best part for me was the fragile forest. After walking through the butterfly garden, we entered what seemed to be literal jungle with small critters wandering freely about like a magical, perfectly landscaped fairytale. At one point one little guy boarded our stroller and hung around for a few minutes before hopping onto a neighboring stroller!
In addition to the wildlife, there is a large splash zone (complete with an octopus showering station rinse off in afterward), pony rides, a merry-go-round, and a petting zoo! The pony ride and merry-go-round require an additional fee.
The river safari is open later than the zoo. I thought we could do the zoo and then the river safari afterward and went to buy the ticket. “There is a lot of walking,” the ticket person said, “it’s just a short boat ride.” Oh, I replied, “but is it good for small kids,” I asked. “Actually I think its best for couples” he replied. Apparently, the river safari trail is a bit romantic.
I decided to wait and see how much energy I had at the end of the zoo and go from there. I ended up pretty tired from pushing the kids around and didn’t have the energy for the river safari would I would love to go back and see the pandas and I’m sure my kids would love it too!
After the zoo closes, there is a night safari which is a unique way to see nocturnal animals. The term “safari” is stretch as it is actually a tram ride through the zoo.
After some research online, I decided this would be best suited for older kids. Besides it being late for some young kids, reviews online reported long wait times to board the tram. The main reason though is I thought the traditional daytime zoo experience was better for my hyperactive toddlers and I didn’t feel like doing both on the same day. As I said, I think older kids would love it!
The S.E.A Aquarium
I have had the luxury of visiting some amazing aquariums in my time so maybe I am just biased but I did not love the aquarium in Singapore, I liked it, I’ve seen better. My biggest gripe was that is was SO crowded. There wasn’t even space to view most of the exhibits, everyone had their cameras out and was getting up close. I have never seen so many grown adults so excited about fish in my life. At one point there was no space to push my stroller through the (super cool) tunnel. So I had to wait 15 minutes until it partially cleared out.
We visited on a weekday. Aquariums are dark, kids are excited, I was outnumbered by tiny humans, I’m amazed I didn’t lose one! II should have visited 1st thing in the morning, or maybe I just had bad luck I don’t know. The main entrance is bizarrely not stroller-friendly. They force you to enter through the museum and then after you are all the way through you can either carry your stroller down 4 flights of stairs or go all the way back through the museum where there is an elevator towards the beginning somewhere.
Here is when I think it would be worth it to visit.
1. Your kids LOVES aquariums/sharks/fish I mean really, really loves them, because my kids love all those things but halfway through lost interest amongst the crowds. 2. You are able to go right when it opens, I would imagine it would be much less crowded if you get their 1st thing. 3. Your kids are under 4 – because then they are free and it doesn’t need to be amazing for the price of 1 (or 2 adults). The shark enclosure was really something special, so for the price of just one adult (my kids are both 3), it was worth it for that exhibit alone.
This is probably the only time I will ever suggest the airport as an area attraction. The Changi airport, however, is no ordinary airport. With a movie theater, a butterfly garden, koi ponds, coloring stations, gardens, great restaurants and so much more – it is an attraction in and of itself!
The premier attraction; the Jewel, is a massive indoor waterfall with tiered viewing points and hiking trails. It is technically at the airport but not exactly accessible from the airport which I realize is confusing. It is in the public mall attached to the airport. I did not realize that and sadly our plans of just swinging by before departure was not possible. So, now that I finally have figured it out you can not make my same mistakes.
I suggest visiting right after you arrive in Singapore or arriving really early for your departing flight. See you have to exit the airport to enter the jewel and then to get back in, you need to go back through immigration, then make your way back to the appropriate terminal, etc. It takes time. We arrived 2.5 hours before our flight. After realizing we didn’t have enough time to go there and back, we took the airport train in a circle which passes right next to it, It was amazing, I really wish we had a chance to explore the whole area.
What to do in Singapore at Night
Singapore River Cruise
So you might have recalled me mentioning that Singapore is hot. For that reason, I decided to do the river cruise at night. It was SO nice and relaxing for me and what kid doesn’t love boats? Taking the boat at night also meant the boat was only half -full and we could stare up at the skyscrapers that were all lit up along our route.
Entrance fees of Singapore Attractions
Most attractions are free for children under 3. Only a couple were free for children under 4. Most are also, not cheap.
Tips for visiting Singapore with kids
So normally I put a bit of effort into getting over our jet lag as fast as possible. Since Singapore is so hot, however, I suggest giving in to the jet lag. So for example simply stayed on India time and I let my kids stay up until 11 pm every night (which is 8:30 pm India time, just a bit later than their normal bedtime). Keeping them up late, allowed us to enjoy the gorgeous, balmy nights when the weather is pleasant and the sun wasn’t beating down on us! Depending on where you are coming from, you could also make use of the early morning hours. If there is a significant time difference though this isn’t really an option.
Singapore is one of the easier destinations to visit with kids. English is widely spoken, it’s clean, modern, has a ton to do and public transport is readily available. Pretty much everywhere is stroller friendly. My double umbrella travel stroller had a smooth ride!
Getting around Singapore with kids
Many people use the MRT (metro) or public buses. For my recent trip, the metro stations involved a lot of walking and bus routes were long so I relied on Taxis.
The Taxis there are clean and affordable and ever since my kids turned 3, they can use these super compact travel vests so safety is not compromised either. Most of the tourist sites have taxi stands too so it really was very convenient. Most taxis accept cards but not all, so if you aren’t carrying cash, be sure to ask before you hop in.
Grab (similar to Uber) is also very convenient but I personally had issues setting it up with a foreign credit card.
This is actually a big deal because, with little variation, Singapore is HOT and humid year-round! Why does no one talk about this? It is, at times like walking around in a sauna! The good news is the air conditioning works really well (over-correcting at times) and there are splash pads all over for the kids to cool-off. If you are not used to the tropical heat, remember to STAY HYDRATED. It is especially easy for small children to overheat. Coconut water can be found at every corner and is great to replenish your electrolytes. You will also want to carry your kid’s swimsuits for the splash pads that are around every corner. I brought a foldable towel as well that came in pretty handy too.
How to pack for the weather in Singapore
Considering the hot and sticky weather, it is important to pack properly. Coming from India I am no stranger to hot weather so luckily already had a wardrobe full of appropriate clothes on-hand. The best clothes are made of 100% thin cotton or linen and fit loosely. These will be breathable and will not stick to your skin in the humidity. Performance fabrics are also great as they work to wick the sweat away from your body. You can wear pretty much anything in Singapore including short shorts, tank-tops, etc. Just dress to your comfort.
The sun is unforgiving in Singapore so some people consider long-sleeved shirts as protection. I opted for less clothing and more sunscreen. Indoor areas of Singapore tend to over-do it on the air conditioning. I recommend carrying a scarf or stool around.
It rains frequently in Singapore often with little warning. Most days will have rain in the forecast but it never rains as much as forecasted making it a bit of a guessing game. I found some really cool foldable rain jackets from Decathlon that fit right into my diaper bag that were a cinch to carry around! You could always opt for a super-compact umbrella instead.
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