Friday, 21 November 2014

9 Most Family Friendly Attractions in Singapore

When most people think of a holiday to Singapore, they think of food, shopping and maybe some culture and heritage. But today, we are going to focus our attention of family-friendly attractions. You may think it is as simple as adding a children's playground or kid-friendly shows, but I can assure that there is much more than that. Let's explore the 9 premier family friendly attractions in Singapore. You may even be surprised at some of the attractions that make the list!

Judging Criteria

There are a few key factors in deciding whether an attraction is family-friendly. 

  1. Family Friendly Amenities: In today's world, families are looking for an all-inclusive experience. This means having quality activities is often not good enough. Here, we will be looking at non-attraction amenities like Family Resting Rooms, Child Urinals and Wash Basins in toilets (and even separate children toilets!). Availability of seating (important for parents) and dining options will also play a part. The BCA Website gives a good directory of buildings with accessible features, including those with family friendly amenities.
  2. Family Bonding Opportunity: What makes a family vacation so great is the time spent together. That is why an attraction that offers activities to bond and interact can really bring a family together. Examples include games, photo opportunities and audience participation components.
  3. Value for Money: The need to pay for 3 or more tickets means family outings can be really expensive. Here, the value of attractions will be judged not just through pricing, but how to pricing corresponds to the quality and quantity of activities offered.
  4. Entertainment Factor: People visit attractions to be entertained. However, to excel in this category the attraction must be able to entertain both parents and kids. Quite a tall order considering their different priorities.

The Ranking

9) Singapore Science Center

We begin the top 9 attractions countdown with a forgotten attraction - Singapore Science Center. Although located at Jurong, away from most other attractions, this educational attraction has a vast array of interactive exhibits that allows kids both young and old to explore and learn about science. There is a water playzone near the entrance, with features that rival the best waterparks. The shows, while educational, are actually quite exciting as there are many live demonstrations. In addition, the optical illusion gallery is probably as good as Trick Eye Museum (without the big price tag)

Kid friendly dining comes in the form of Macdonalds at the entrance, and there are basic child friendly toilet facilities like lower wash basins and diaper changing stations. This is certainly a great place to bring out the curiosity of both the parent and child.

8) Underwater World Singapore

This attraction is a real classic in Singapore, and while it lacks the hype of the newer SEA Aquarium, it is actually slightly more family friendly. For one, the cute and inquisitive dolphins will put off a really impressive show with formation swimming and acrobatics. Also, kids will really love the feeding tanks - magical tanks where there are openings below the water line and no water spills out - as well as the touch pool starring stingrays! Adults will find the aquarium exhibits relaxing, and can bring tranquility to a whole new level with foot reflexology (additional charges apply)

The toilets inside are recently renovated with lower urinals and wash basins, though I must admit there are fewer family friendly dining options in this area of Sentosa. Overall, an enriching yet tranquil experience.

7) Wild Wild Wet

Best Water Park for Family with Kids

Water is able to bring families closer together and this countdown will not be complete without Wild Wild Wet, the oldest waterpark in Singapore still in operation. The water playground here is huge and parents are also welcome to join in the splashes (though not the kid slides). There are also larger, more intense rides like Sidewinder (a halfpipe style slide) and Torpedo (freefall capsule) that challenge both the older kids and their parents.

Wild Wild Wet has seasonal shows at the wave pool, and the adjacent Downtown East shopping area has a good selection of family friendly fast foods and restaurants. The toilets are quite basic but work is currently underway to upgrade them to comply with Code of Accessibility in the Built Environment 2013.

6) Palawan Beach

Unlike the previous attractions, this one is free (almost). Located in Sentosa, the only charges you will pay are the island admission charges. Here, the wide, expansive beaches are complemented with Animal and Bird Encounters, a really intimate experience with some awesome animals where both parents and kids can take part in the audience participation component. In addition, the Southernmost Point of Continental Asia offers excellent views and a good photo opportunity.

Unfortunately, the toilets here are more catered towards adults and teens, though there is still a small nursing station in the handicap toilet. Better family amenities are found at the Beach Station toilets with child water closets, urinals and wash basins. Most dining options are also found at Beach Station and I-Fly nearby. I am sure, though, the biggest draw here will be the beaches themselves.

5) West Coast Park

Largest playground in Singapore

Coined as the largest playground in Singapore, West Coast Park has some really interesting elements that make a family day out cheap and fun. There is a giant field where families can play sports, fly kites or have a picnic, and the adjacent playground is divided into 4 separate zones with climbing, obstacle course, flying fox and sandplay areas. There are usually no NParks staff to stop parents from joining the fun here. Another plus is that there are underpasses whenever a road intersects the park, so there is no risk of kids running into traffic.

A problem here is that the toilets, while well equipped for park standards, are located quite far apart. Dining options are also limited the Macdonalds though a short bus ride to Pasir Panjang Food Centre brings plenty more options. The biggest issue here, I feel, is the remote location - there are only 2 bus services that reach the playground area.

4) Jurong Bird Park

This is one classic attraction in Singapore. Jurong Bird Park has a good array of feathery exhibits but the biggest draw here are no doubt the quality shows. The main theater show feature singing parrots and birds racing on bicycles, and parents (and kids tall enough) can even hold the hoops for the birds to fly through. The Birds of Prey show is just as impressive, and the eagles will come so close to you that you (not your kid) will have to duck down!

In addition, Lory Loft exhibit, themed to the Australian outback, is probably one of the best themed attractions in the whole of Singapore. While parents appreciate the landscape, kids are sure to love the giant suspension bridge. There is an average sized play area located near Birds of Prey theater that allows kids to burn off some steam, and the toilets and dining options here are considered quite acceptable.

3) Adventure Cove Waterpark

This is the second waterpark that makes the countdown, and I must say it really dominates Wild Wild Wet in the family amenities category. The toilets have lowered shower buttons and other features that ensure that the younger kids will be able to use by themselves, and The Bay Restaurant feature a good (though expensive) kids menu. The Adventure River is well paced for kids (unlike Wild Wild Wet's river which I think is too intense) and tubes and life jackets are available at no extra charge. Older kids will love challenging their parents to the larger slides, particularly dueling racer, while both young and old will love the peaceful and colourful rainbow reef.

My only real complaint here is that the second floor of the Grotto is too underutilised. It will be great if RWS could add a Waterplex 5D or cave themed family play area to complement its existing lineup. As with all RWS attractions, Junior Annual Passholders are entitled to free Ice Cream per visit. 

2) Universal Studios Singapore

The most publicised and expensive attraction in the countdown finishes at an impressive second place and here's why: Universal Studios Singapore not only has a good balance of attractions that appeals to both younger and older kids (and their parents), the attention to detail here is impeccable. For starters, there is a huge family rest area near the entrance for preparing formula, or simply taking a rest. The most intense rides like Revenge of the Mummy and Transformers: The Ride even have Family Rooms where younger kids and those too scared to ride can wait for their loved ones in comparative safety.

Toilets are what we expect from attractions built after 2007 (when BCA made the Code of Accessbility compulsory) - with diaper changing stations in both male and female toilets, child urinals and wash basins. There are even child seats in rides like Sesame Street so (almost) no one misses out the fun. There is an extensive kids menu at most restaurants and Junior Annual Passholders are entitled to free ice cream per visit.

1) Singapore Zoo

Best Family Attraction Singapore

The pinnacle of family friendly attractions has got to be Singapore Zoo. The animal exhibits here really are designed such that both kids and adults can get intimate with the (docile) ones and the shows combine simple commentary and exciting acts that appeals to both young and old. The exhibits here, especially the Rift Valley of Ethiopia and Elephants of Asia are among the most well themed in the whole of Singapore.

However, what makes this zoo better for families is the attention to detail. The floor surfaces are designed with a child in mind - lots of space to run around and minimal steps to trip over. There is more seating here than the other 3 Wildlife Attractions in Singapore, and the dining options are the most extensive among Wildlife Reserve attractions. The toilets not only give a nice Safari atmosphere, but are also well equipped with all the kid friendly amenities you can expect. Finally, a huge playground, splash-zone and petting complex with keep both kids and parents entertained. I just wish there are more transport options to this attraction so families will not miss out this amazing attraction.


There are actually quite a number of family friendly attractions in Singapore, and more is yet to come. Chief among these include KidZania which will open within the next couple of years, as well as plans to reunite Jurong Bird Park with the rest of the Wildlife attractions at the Mandai area.I hope this list will help give your family some ideas on where to visit in the future.