Singapore, the 4th most visited city in the world according to the 2013 Global Destination Cities Index by MasterCard, is probably the most family friendly. Now you might think that is because of a lack of cultural activities and a focus on entertainment. Well, actually I think the city offers great cultural activities for family and here are my top 10.
1. Singapore Science Centre
Your kids will have fun and learn at the same time. This Singapore institution offers more than 1,000 individual exhibits, most of which are hands-on and interactive. The outdoor water play area is the little ones’ favorite.
You can easily stay for the whole day if you combine with a show at the nearby IMAX theatre and a visit of one of their award-winning temporary exhibitions (Dinosaurs Live, Mega Bugs, etc).
Now Jurong East has just got more exciting with the addition of the new JEM mall with lots of food options for the hungry family!
2. Malay Heritage Centre
Recently renovated, this museum managed by the Heritage Board is dedicated to the culture and history of the Malay community. The exhibition full of interactive displays, replica models and videos is just perfect for kids. It’s also not too long and messages are well delivered.
Located in the charming Kampong Glam area, make sure you treat your family to some yummy Malay food around Arab Street.
3. Singapore Repertory Theatre
Realizing there was an increasing demand for children theatre, the long established Singapore Repertory Theatre collaborates with The Little Company to offer some of the best children plays in Asia.
Make sure you catch The Tale of The Frog Prince filled with humorous dialogue, colorful characters and catchy tunes.
4. ArtScience Museum
No visit to Singapore is complete without a round of Marina Bay Sands. Well you can make yours a cultural activity by taking your family to one of the top touring exhibitions shown at the ArtScience Museum.
The team of the museum makes sure to offer a mix of arts (Van Gogh Alive, Andy Warhol), science (Mummy: Secrets of the Tomb) and entertainment (Harry Potter, Titanic). If you’re luck they will show up to 3 exhibitions concurrently!
5. NEWater Visitor Centre
Here you and your kids will learn about one of Singapore’s success stories: how the country manages its water treatment and usage to remain self-sufficient. Get answers to all your environmental and technical questions from the well-trained staff. You will come out a lot smarter that you came in, and the best thing – it’s free!
6. MINT Museum of Toys
If you are around City Hall you should pop in this charming little museum showing an amazing collection of 3,000+ vintage toys. The name of the museum stands for “Museum of Imagination and Nostalgia with Toys” and it is the baby of Singaporean collector Chang Yang Fa; isn’t it a great story?
Great food options around but my personal favorite is the chicken rice on Purvis Street!
7. The Original Singapore Walks®
Take the road less travelled and join one of these daily walking tours. Since 2003, the Walks led by an eclectic bunch of researcher-guides have taken locals and travellers alike off the beaten track, and entertained with an endless store of anecdotes that reveal the true heart of the city. Tours usually take 2h30min and they explore different areas everyday. Kids are very welcome and they will enjoy the amazing stories told by the skilful guides.
Need more convincing? Check it out on Tripadvisor (ranked #4 of 135 in Singapore)!
8. Singapore City Gallery
Whether you live in Singapore or you are just a tourist, this is where you need to go to get to know the city better. The Singapore City Gallery will take you on a journey into Singapore’s planning story with interactive displays, huge models and a 270-degree panoramic sights and sounds show.
The location is perfect, within walking distance to Chinatown and just across the famous Maxwell Road hawker centre.
9. Transformers: The Ride at Universal Studios Singapore®
OK it’s probably not what you would consider a cultural activity but I am in the view that entertainment can be cultural and in this case there is not better demonstration of creativity, imagination and the power of human mind. This ride is unique; it will blow you away.
Your kids will love it and who knows they might have a revelation and pursue a career as computer engineer!?
10. Bintan Mangrove Discovery Tour
This award-winning eco tour is well worth the 45min ferry ride to Bintan Island. Cruise down the river and experience the serenity and calmness of the mangrove forests while listening to the fascinating stories of Bintan’s nature and inhabitants. At night you will see the fireflies and their sporadic movements and luminescence calling to mind the twinkling lights on a Christmas tree. Simply magical!