Travelling with kids can be tough. With attention spans that would put a small goldfish to shame, travelling half way around the globe without a break isn’t an option. You need a stopover. More than that, you need a stopover with some of the most incredible family attractions on the planet – you need Singapore, Asia’s most family-friendly city. Here’s our guide to the best things to do with family in Singapore.
Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay
A breath-taking endeavour from the Singapore government, Gardens by the Bay is designed to turn the Garden City into a City in a Garden. A S$1bn award-winning park, Gardens by the Bay covers 101 hectares of reclaimed land and is one of the most popular family activities in Singapore offering visitors stunning views across the world-famous Marina Bay.
The astounding Bay South Garden boasts one of Singapore’s most incredible and illustrious sights, the SuperTrees; mind-blowing vertical gardens that stretch to the sky, standing between an astonishing nine and 16 stories high!
Visitors can walk between two of the SuperTrees and look down at the incredible gardens below, which feature space-age bio domes, conservatories, the Flower Dome, Cloud Forest and a S$10m Children’s Garden.
The neighbouring Bay East Garden is equally extraordinary, and contains a series of themed gardens with a 2km promenade around the Marina Reservoir. So while your kids may not be blown-away by the thought of another day in the park, a trip to Gardens by the Bay will be a park day like no other.
It’s genuinely one of the best things to do in Singapore with family.
Not only is the ArtScience Museum one of the most incredible buildings you’ll ever see, inside you’ll find world-class exhibitions as art fuses seamlessly with science, technology, architecture, design and media to tell a series of awe-inspiring stories.
A permanent exhibition called A Journey Through Creativity is ably backed up by some of the world’s premier touring exhibitions including recently Annie Leibowitz: A Photographer’s Life and Dinosaurs: Dawn to Extinction as well as an eclectic collection of exhibitions from Harry Potter sets and costumes to artefacts from the reign of Genghis Khan.
This eye-popping combination defies all expectation, flying in the face of what kids think of ‘boring’ museums and making for one of the top Singapore family attractions.
If that’s not enough, ‘Family Fridays’ mean that up to four children under 12 go free on every adult ticket and there are dozens of interactive exhibits and activities to see and do. The ArtScience Museum is one of the best family-friendly attractions in Singapore and with 21 galleries over 50,000 square feet, there’s plenty to keep the whole family occupied and entertained.
Opened in 2011, Universal Studios Singapore – located within the famous Resorts World Sentosa – is a movie-lover’s dream destination and is packed full of incredible rides, attractions and entertainment for everyone aged three to ninety-three. It is the only movie-based theme park in Southeast Asia and 18 of the 24 thrill-seeking rides were designed specifically for Universal Studios Singapore. For those seeking things to do with family in Singapore, it’s an obvious and hugely entertaining option.
Each of the seven zones – Hollywood, New York, Sci-Fi City, Ancient Egypt, Lost World, Far Far Away and Madagascar – are crammed with rides and shows, street entertainment, food and shopping outlets and the youngsters can meet their favourite stars as they wander around the park, marvelling at the magic of the movies.
Universal Studios Singapore is one of Singapore’s best family attractions and will dazzle and delight as it brings the big screen to life.
Singapore Zoo & Night Safari
Attracting over 1.7m visitors a year, Singapore Zoo is one of the most popular family attractions in Singapore and for very good reason. Widely regarded as the world’s best rainforest zoo, the ‘open concept’ allows over 300 species of animal to live in environments as close as possible to their natural habitat.
The zoo features almost 3,000 animals, dozens of exhibits and zones, animal shows and feeding experiences, rides and tours and even a huge ‘Kidzworld’ for the little ones to experience the magic of the animal kingdom.
As the zoo closes, the Night Safari located next door opens and is the world’s first safari purely for 130 species of nocturnal animal – including elephants, leopards, tigers and deer that live peacefully in 35 hectares of dense rainforest. This a one-of-a-kind experience worth pushing on until dawn for.
National Museum of Singapore
National Museum of Singapore
Founded in 1887 and housed in one of the grandest neo-classical buildings in all of Asia, the National Museum of Singapore is the oldest museum in the nation and tells the story of Singapore in an exciting, interactive, entertaining way.
As well as a host of permanent exhibitions, NMS welcomes touring shows from all over the world and PLAY@NMS is a dedicated area for younger ones taking their first steps into the world of museums. It encourages learning through innovative, expression-based curated programmes to stimulate their curiosity and as such makes for one of the most inspiring family activities in Singapore.
The recent glass and steel extension is as harmonious as IM Pei’s glass pyramid in front of the Louvre in Paris and adds to the heritage-meets-contemporary culture Singapore is famous for.
Replete with the usual selection of cafés, restaurants and gift shops, the museum includes a fine collection of exhibitions, programmes and the occasional outdoor screening of iconic films as well as dynamic art installations, festivals and live performances.
If it’s utterly spectacular views of Marina Bay, Singapore and parts of Indonesia and Malaysia you’re after, take a 42-story high trip on the Singapore Flyer, the largest observation wheel in Asia. An absolutely perfect activity for the little ones, this energetic experience will have them jumping up and down with overly-excited joy as they survey the dazzling views below.
Twenty-eight air conditioned capsules with a capacity of 28 people take you on a 30-minute ‘flight’ and of course it goes without saying that it’s better at night!
Special in-flight extras include high tea or even a full fine dining experience complete with your very own butler! Such fine-dinery might not work for toddlers though…
Back on the ground the adventure continues. The Journey of Dreams attraction is an interactive exhibition telling the story of the 165m high wheel and there are plenty of shops, restaurants and activities for children to try. Overall a great day out and one of the top Singapore attractions for family.
Singapore Botanic Gardens
Singapore Botanic Gardens
Famous the world over, fascinating to explore and a great place to simply take a load off and relax, the Singapore Botanic Gardens is a staple and deserved entry on any list of things to do with family in Singapore.
Since 2013, these multi-award winning gardens have been ranked as Asia’s top park attraction by TripAdvisor’s Traveller’s Choice Awards. It has recently been designated a UNECSO World Heritage Site, Singapore’s first, and is the only tropical garden in the world bestowed with such an honour.
Like much of Singapore, the botanic gardens were conceived by Sir Stamford Raffles and as well as being a place for people to jog and relax, the National Orchid Garden has over 60,000 specimens. The Heritage Museum takes visitors on an interactive adventure through the garden’s rich history and a ‘must visit’ for the little ones is the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden. It’s Asia’s first dedicated children’s garden and offers a unique insight into plants and the environment.
There are plenty of places to eat and drink including Food for Thought, an eco-conscious social enterprise with a great menu and a playground for the children. There’s also the critically acclaimed Halia (‘ginger’ in Malay), an east-meets-west menu full of fresh ingredients and packing a big flavour punch!
Jurong Bird Park
Let’s face it, all we have to say is penguins. That’ll get the toddler’s dancing in the aisles! Penguins, yes, but also so much more. Box-ticked, this is a classic among the things to do in Singapore with family.
Opened in 1971, the Jurong Bird Park offers a fully immersive experience both for card-carrying bird lovers and those dipping their toes in for the first time. Four huge walk-in aviaries (including the second largest in the world) and an ‘open concept’ allow some of the world’s rarest and most beautiful birds to live as close as possible to their natural habitat at one of the most renowned bird sanctuaries in the world.
Five thousand birds from over 400 species populate Jurong Bird Park including penguins, pelicans, flamingos, birds of prey, birds of paradise and lots, lots more. Dozens of exhibits and shows permeate the 20.2 hectare park and there’s plenty to do for the park’s younger visitors including, feeding, a bird-themed water playground excellently named Birdz of Play and you can even have lunch with the parrots at the Songbird Terrace.
This in an up close and personal avian experience and if you’re lucky, you might even catch a fleeting glimpse of some of the most elusive birds in the world. Jurong Bird Park should be close to the top of your ‘to do’ list.
Natural History Museum
Opened in April 2015, the museum, or officially the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, looks like a huge concrete block bursting at the seams with trees and plants but it’s a mere clue to the wonders you’ll find inside Singapore’s first museum of natural history.
Located at the Kent Ridge Campus of the National University of Singapore, the museum is a state-of-the-art, child-friendly place and it charts the history of life on our planet from the very, very small to the absolutely gargantuan. Across two floors, the Biodiversity Gallery has 15 themed zones (including Mammals, Birds, Arthropods and Dinosaurs) and upstairs the Heritage Gallery celebrates the inextricable links between the development of Singapore and its utterly fascinating natural history.
The museum really is one of the best family activities in Singapore but the true stars of the show are Prince, Apollonia and Twinky, three 150 million year-old diplodocus skeletons that really have to be seen to be believed!
Resort World Sentosa
Resort World Sentosa
Meaning ‘peace and tranquillity’ in Malay, Sentosa is known as ‘Asia’s Favourite Playground’ and 20 million visitors a year can’t be wrong! For those travelling with children, it is the ultimate in Singapore family fun.
Sitting just off the southern tip of Singapore, it’s packed full of world-class attractions including Madame Tussaud’s, Universal Studios, SEA Aquarium, Dolphin Island, the Adventure Cove Water Park and the Butterfly and Insect Kingdom as well as beaches, hotels, spas and restaurants, golf courses, shows and events and so much more that this article would be 1,000 words long if we listed them all!
If you’ve ever been to the Disney World Resort in Florida you’ll be part of the way to understanding the sheer scale of Sentosa and all the amazing things there are to do for families in Singapore.
The fun starts even before you’ve arrived as to get to the island you take a cable car or monorail, which is entertaining in its own right. When you’re there, buses take you around the self-proclaimed State of Fun!
In marketing speak, Resort World Sentosa is an integrated resort experience but, in the real world, it’s a spectacular city-within-a-city. There’s so much to see and do here for the whole family that you simply can’t fail to have an incredible time.