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Top 10 parks for the kids to run wild in nature

Did you know that Singapore is home to more than 300 parks? Look north, south, east and west – there are parks, green connectors and nature areas everywhere with plenty of options for the kids to let loose! But a word of advice to get the day off to a good start: be prepared. Download maps, walking trails and information guides before you go and take plenty of water, snacks, hats and sunscreen!

 

Fort Canning

 

What’s fun: A welcome respite from the surrounding city, Fort Canning is a shady place to let the kids roam. For history buffs there is the Battle Box, a WW2 bunker, colonial buildings, a spice trail, sculptures and an archaeological excavation site.

Getting there: Three large car parks, two along Percival Road and the third beside the Registry of Marriages and Hotel Fort Canning. It’s an easy 10-minute walk from Bras Basah, Clarke Quay, Dhoby Ghaut and City Hall MRT stations and numerous bus routes stop nearby.

 

West Coast Park

 

What’s fun: 50 hectares of open space. This massive park is divided into zones for adventure, relaxation, peace and quiet. Kids will love the challenging and adventurous play area with flying fox, swings, sand areas and rope climb pyramids. There’s also a mangrove walk, cafés and picnic areas.

Getting there: The closest MRT station is Haw Par Villa, then catch bus 175 or 176. There are three large car parks along West Coast Highway.

 

Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden

 

This park at the top of the Botanic Gardens is a combination of education and fun. Kids will love the tree house, set in a very old sprawling fig tree, and pottering around looking at the interactive displays. Cool off in the water play area but it’s advisable to go earlier or later in the day as it can get very hot. If kids still have energy to burn, head down to the Cactus Garden or Orchid Garden in the Botanic Gardens.

Getting there: There’s a car park off Bukit Timah Road or take the MRT to the Botanic Gardens stop. Buses stopping outside the gardens on Bukit Timah Road are 48, 66, 67, 151, 153, 154, 156, 170 and 171.

 

East Coast Park

 

What’s fun: East Coast Park literally has it all. Whether it’s rollerblading, wakeboarding, cycling, eating, bowling, skateboarding, building sandcastles or just walking – this is a 15km strip of fun. Little kids will like the community road safety park where they can safely learn to bike ride in a miniature town. When everyone is hungry and tired fire up a barbecue, collapse on the sand or sample some great food at the many restaurants, bars and hawker centres. Just watch out for the novice rollerbladers and first-time bike riders – they are a law unto themselves!

Getting there: Buses run along the East Coast Park Service Road and there is lots of car parking.

 

Southern Ridges

 

What’s fun: This is a long walk that can be broken into sections or done in one go. It’s a trail that links a series of walks between Mount Faber, Telok Blangah Hill, Hort Park and Kent Ridge Park. Highlights are the undulating Henderson Wave Bridge – Singapore’s highest pedestrian bridge and the elevated Forest Walk, a 1.3 km track through trees.

Getting there: Take the MRT to HarbourFront or Kent Ridge. Numerous car parking options. Buses run along Henderson Road, Depot Road and Pasir Panjang Road.

 

Pasir Ris Park

 

What’s fun: Pack a picnic, meet some friends and make a day of it – this park has plenty to keep everyone amused. There’s a mangrove walk, horseriding centre, cycling paths, a maze and kitchen garden. The massive shady kids playground has plenty of equipment. Keep a look out for the ice cream uncle for a cool treat on a warm day.

Getting there: It’s easy to walk from Pasir Ris MRT and there are lots of car parking areas.

 

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

 

What’s fun: Mangroves, wetlands and wildlife combine in a real-life science lesson for the kids. Take one of three walking trails and meander around the reserve looking for otters, crabs, birds, watersnakes, butterflies, monitor lizards and other critters. Hook up with a free guided tour every Saturday (except Public Holidays).

Getting there: There’s a free car park at the entrance. The closest MRT is Kranji but you’ll still need to take bus 925 to reach the reserve.

 

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

 

What’s fun: Get back to nature in one of the largest swathes of primary tropical forest left on the island. There are winding forest trails, a mountain bike track that will challenge teenagers and lots of jungle to scramble through. Pack a picnic and trek to Singapore’s highest peak, but do it early while the air is still cool. Look out for monkeys, lizards, flying foxes, birds and beautiful flowers.

Getting there: Car parks at Dairy Farm Drive and Hindhede Drive. Buses stop along Upper Bukit Timah Road.

 

Labrador Park

 

What’s fun: With beautiful views over the water and a fun playground, this is a nice spot for a day out. The World War 2 tunnels are currently closed, but there is a cliff walk through the pretty nature reserve.

Getting there: Get off at Labrador Park MRT or take a bus to Alexandra Road or Pasir Panjang Road. There are car parks on Labrador Villa Road, off Pasir Panjang Road.

 

The Chinese and Japanese Gardens

 

What’s fun: There’s a pagoda, 13-arch bridge, tea house and bonsai garden in this accessible park on the west side of Singapore. A visit during the mid-autumn festival is a highlight for children when masses of lanterns are lit after dark.

Getting there: Chinese Garden and Jurong East MRT stations are within walking distance. There are numerous small car parks dotted around the edges of the garden.

 

Download DIY walking guides and more information from www.nparks.gov.sg.

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