A Couple More (almost) Free Days Out With Kids
Nothing in life is free, or so they say, and so these day out ideas do have a small cost attached, but in Singapore terms they're as good as free. Being a stay at home mama with two kiddies of school age (ish) does mean that we try and have some educational value to trips out, but ultimately we want to go out and about and have some major fun. All our outings are accompanied by at least one scooter and usually a pushchair, so we do get to try out every lift and the ramp access wherever we go, although I haven't ventured into baby changing facilities recently so I can't make any promises as to what you'll find (but most likely brilliant, this is Singapore after all). Here are our favourite sunny day and rainy day spots for this week...
Sunny Day - East Coast Park
The park itself is totally free, as it should be. It's beautifully maintained for the most part, and offers long stretches of cycle ways, walking paths and beaches. The obvious centre point of the park is Marine Cove- a brilliant kids playground, toilets and washing area, and series of cafe's and restaurants. Come the cooler evening time, or at weekends, this place is heaving with what feels like every kid in Singapore. Our favourite time to visit is, obviously, during the daytime on a week day when we can sometimes (albeit briefly) have the whole place to ourselves. Word of warning though- there's hardly any shade in the playground area and we have been bitten mercilessly by mozzies there before so coat yourself and your little's in anti-mozzie stuff and sun spray beforehand, and throughout, your playtime. If hanging around a playground isn't your thing then other activities available include water sports, fishing, camping, beach sports, barbecue pitches and bike hire. Obviously all come with a booking requirement and associated cost, but it's pretty cheap (around $15 for a BBQ pit and from about $3 an hour for bike hire, just for a couple of examples). Of course you can have a picnic and build sandcastles on the beach for free though! Restaurant-wise there's so much choice, from early morning coffee's to alfresco evening dining with a beach view, the park does actually have everything. We're lucky to live a matter of metres from the park and so spend many a quiet day here whiling away the hours on bike rides, playing on the beach and collecting interesting "things" for our nature table.
Rainy Day - National Museum of Singapore
Not technically free as adults need to purchase a ticket (between $4 and $18 depending on which exhibitions you want to visit), however children aged 6 and under (and Singaporeans) are free. But it's still a pretty cheap day out even if you go for the full access ticket ($18). We love this place, it's a brilliant mix of permanent galleries celebrating the tumultuous history of Singapore and special featured exhibitions as you would expect in any great city museum. Even the building has been beautifully thought out and manages to blend the historic architecture with a very light, airy and modern feel throughout. With lifts, escalators and ramp access throughout this is suitable for pushchairs and babies, although access is via steps at the front of the building so use the back entrance (via the coach car park) for step free entry. I wouldn't say this is the most kiddie friendly museum we've ever been to however the staff are really friendly and are happy to see little noses pressed up against the glass windows of display cases (although we did get some shhh-ing as we enthusiastically viewed some of the modern art installations). If you are thinking of taking a trip I'd avoid it at weekends and head there during the week when it's at it's quietest. Also, be prepared for the onslaught of retired American tourists who sit in the atrium of the cafe drinking coffee's whilst dressed to the nine's (seriously). The cafe, despite it's rather pretentious clientele, is super kiddie friendly with a special menu for little's and lots of worksheets and books to keep them entertained. The ice cream sandwiches ($7 a pop) come highly recommended by Finn. For our favourite exhibition, and one which we visit over and over again, head to the Glass Rotunda on level two. We lose hours of our lives in there. You'll understand how and why when you visit, which you should.