Gardens by the bay
Zoos, theme parks, water wonderlands, epic light shows... Aleney De Winter finds Singapore has family fun in spades.
Once upon a time regarded as a
safe stopover destination for
Australian travellers, Singapore
– with its dozens of diverting
kid-friendly attractions – is now
drawing holidaying families in by the planeload.
And it’s easy to see why. Singapore is a clean,
green and safe city that is easier and more
affordable to get to than it’s ever been thanks
to Scoot Airlines, who now offer flights from
most major Australian cities.
It’s the range of activities and attractions that
make the ‘City in a Garden’ truly irresistible. If
the dynamic food culture, incredible shopping,
expansive parks and iconic architecture aren’t
enough to keep our kids seven-year-old
Rafferty and four-year-old Marlo and ourselves
happy, Singapore’s state-of-the-art attractions
have us grinning from ear to ear.
Gardens by the Bay
The Gardens By The Bay is another winner
with the kids, the dazzling urban oasis of
gardens and steel SuperTrees lighting up the
night in an epic display of music and colour
that simply blows our minds. The Children’s
Garden is especially delightful, featuring a
water park (with a toddler’s play zone and Fish
Fountain), interactive playgrounds and
educational programmes. If you’re looking for a
side of culture with your play, the new National
Gallery Singapore boasts the world’s largest
public display of modern Southeast Asian art
and keeps it entertaining for the kids with an
interactive family programme.
Singapore Zoo is one of the best in the
world, walking the line between wildlife and just
plain wild! Exhibits include the Fragile Forest,
home to free-range lemurs and an apathetic
sloth, the new Frozen Tundra polar bear habitat
and opportunities to breakfast with the
orang-utans. However it is the River Safari that,
if you'll pardon the pun, floats our kids' boats,
in part due to Kai Kai and Jia Jia, the two black
and white beauties we spy dining on bamboo
in the Giant Panda Forest.
An island of fun
Across the water, Sentosa Island
proves to be the ultimate holiday playground for our kids.
Known locally as The State of Fun, you can
spend days here and not squeeze it all in.
From the Sinagpore Cable Car we enjoy a
bird’s eye view across the city, the futuristic
skyline glittering in the harbour.
rampage around the epic splash pad at the
The Port of Lost Wonder; they flutter through
the Butterfly Park and Insect Kingdom; get up
close with 100,000 marine animals at S.E.A
Aquarium; and high-tail it down the part
go-kart, part toboggan Skyline Luge.
We all brave the ropes at the Megazip
Adventure Park, Raff even taking on the
heart-stopping 75-metre high, 450-metre long,
60-kilometres per hour MegaZip, a feat of
bravery not repeated by his mother.
sugar-fuelled Marlo and I get the rubber
burning on the pre-school proportioned
shopping trolley we race around the sugar
filled aisles of Candylicious, undoubtedly the
biggest sweet store I’ve ever seen!
Part of the Resorts World Sentosa Complex,
Universal Studios may be smaller than some
theme parks, but its seven zones provide a
chock-a-block day of fun. We step back in time
in Ancient Egypt, meet friendly (and not so
friendly) dinosaurs in the Jurassic Park inspired
Lost World, live the fairy tale life in Far Far Away
and get intergalactic at Sci-Fi City, which is by
far geek-in-training Raff’s favourite zone.
While Sentosa Island proves to be an endless
playground for our kids, the new Sofitel
Singapore Sentosa Resort and Spa proves
equally enticing for their luxe-loving parents.
Nestled on a clifftop above Tanjong Beach, the
newly opened resort is an exercise in out of this
world opulence, with existing colonial buildings
and lush landscapes perfectly paired with
contemporary art and design.
Our Prestige Family Suite is luxuriously
massive; with a spacious master bedroom, an
enormous LCD TV, a family-sized dining area and a bathroom with a big bath and a shower
built for four! At least that’s what the kids seem
to think as they pile in one after the other.
This is the kind of resort one is loathe to tear
themselves away from, even the kids are
enchanted with their surrounds. My daughter
– when not strutting her stuff by the midnight
black pool – befriends the resident posse of
peacocks. One of who joins us for lunch in the
landscaped gardens of Kwee Zeen,
overlooking the South China Sea. While Marlo
and her new BFF continue their feathery
flirtation, the rest of us flirt with the resort’s
indulgent buffet and its delectable international
offerings. The selection of spicy Indian curries
is so good we all head back for seconds. As
for the hotel’s enormous chocolate fountain…
well, you could say the kids are fans.
A new kids’ club means time for a massage
– or two – for mum at the tranquil So Spa. We
also take advantage of MyResorts, an
extension of the free Le Club AccorHotels
loyalty programme, which offers members
exclusive benefits designed to ensure loyal
guests enjoy their destination in absolute style
and comfort. The service extends itself to tiny
travellers with MyKids, which features surprise
welcome gifts, kid’s menus, free Kids’ Club
access and in-room family movies.
Speaking of service, it is in this department
that the Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort &
Spa goes way above and beyond, our
welcome so warm that we feel like family
instead of guests. So much so, that we decide
to extend our stay.
Scoot Airlines flies from most Australian capitals direct to Singapore. For a an extra comfy flight, book a Scoot Stretch Seat which offers 50 per cent more legroom than Standard seats for a fraction more.