You know it's the summer hols here when the Children's Festival takes over. And this year, for the best, The National Gallery really has been completely taken over. The title "Small Big Dreamers" doesn't really do it justice in my opinion, I was expecting a far more whimsical experience when in actual fact it was bright, noisy, fun and very age appropriate (so long as you're aged 0-99 years old, maybe more). This is the second year of a Children's Festival at The National Gallery of Singapore, and it's definitely bigger and better than last years offering - not to suggest last years wasn't amazing too. It just really feels like this year every available space in the gallery has been utilised, so rather than having to seek out installations which are dotted around, this year I felt there was more flow. In fact, I think last year we needed a list of installations to track down and explore whereas this year we could just keeping wandering and coming across things to do and see. So top marks there, we certainly didn't get bored (we being myself, a six year old and a five year old). Our visit also felt alot busier than last year, although that will be to do with timing too as this years festival is timed exactly to tie in with school holiday season, whereas last year ran from May to October. So with just three months to visit, you'd better get your skates on!
Just like last year you can also purchase an accompanying pack ($5 each) either from the ticket counters or from vending machines throughout the gallery. And just like last year it's full of goodies from a lanyard and rainbow pencil to activity sheets which correspond to the different installations which make up the Festival. Definitely worth a fiver. Something new this year though (and correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think I am), is the introduction of a kiddies set lunch at Gallery&Co. It's fun, pretty cheap ($10), very kiddie appropriate menu choices (nuggets and fries, a cupcake, and an iced or hot chocolate drink), and makes for excellent bribery rewards. If you have littlies, one meal split between two (just ask for an extra cup and plate, the staff are very obliging) will be plenty.
We're huge fans of The National Gallery of Singapore anyway, and it's definitely one of the places we'll miss most in Singapore. But the Children's Festival really is a great addition to the summer offering for locals, expats and tourists alike in Singapore. A word of warning though, The National Gallery does tend to be very well air conditioned. On a toasty day it's a lovely, airy, light place to hang out, so if you haven't already, add this one to your list of go-to's! Just maybe pack a cardie.
HOW TO GET TO THE GALLERY
Taxi: Drop-off/pick-up point is to the side of the gallery on Coleman Street. There is a designated area off street, so if you have little's to get in/out, pushchairs, bags etc, you have the space and safety. If ordering an Uber or Grab be sure to specify the Coleman Street entrance though, there's a crazy one way system in this area and if they miss the turn there's a big block to go round.
Public Transport: The closest MRT is City Hall, and you can walk from the MRT station to the gallery almost entirely undercover via the Art Connector. Other nearby MRT's include Clarke Quay and Raffles Place. Being so central the gallery is well served by buses. Depending on which route your bus takes you might arrive at the Padang Atrium entrance (instead of the Coleman Street entrance).
WHEN TO GO
The National Gallery and Children's Festival are open everyday:
Sun/Mon/Tues/Wed/Thurs from 10am until 7pm
Fri/Sat from 10am until 10pm
Admission closes 30mins before the advertised closing times. Admission hours may vary during Public Holidays. Please check the National Gallery website for updates.
The Children's Festival 2018 is on from 9th June 2018 until 9th September 2018. Other exhibitions may vary, please check with the National Gallery.
OTHER USEFUL INFORMATION
There are cash machines within the gallery. They can be found on level B1, to the rear and right of the ticket counters.
Strollers are permitted in the gallery, however during busy periods you may need to park it.
No food or drink is permitted in the galleries. There are child friendly cafes available.
There are toilets throughout, ask a staff member for directions if needs be. Signage is good though.
If you plan on visiting the Gallery more than once it might be worth investing in Membership. Anyone can sign up, find out more here.