One of my favourite, high energy activities with the boys is a walk/scoot/cycle through Gardens by the Bay (East) to Marina Barrage and back. If you’re yet to discover Gardens by the Bay (East), expect to be pleasantly surprised, because there is a new treasure in Singapore’s adventure arsenal for kids. I do have to apologize to the Tanjong Rhu Road residents, but you couldn’t keep this to yourselves forever. It’s definitely going to be a hot spot for families, with magnificent city views, including the wheel, Marina Bay Sands, the ocean, the main Gardens by the Bay, and it is THE place to go for an excellent vantage point to see any fireworks. The Grand Prix is sure to sound pretty amazing from here as well.
So pack your scooters, bikes, or put on your running shoes, get covered up because the new growth trees aren’t providing too much shade as yet, and head on down to Gardens by the Bay (East). If driving, there is parking at the gardens, and from here it’s a very brisk walk, run, cycle or scoot along a wide, straight boardwalk by Kallang River, and it will take you all the way up to Marina Barrage. Be warned, the final leg is through a construction site, but there is a path you can take. Just take note of gate closing times if you’re here in the evening, otherwise you might get locked on the other side. This path is also good if you’re kids are still in a pram – so even good for the real little’ies.
A quick thing, there’s a Visitors Centre when you arrive at the Gardens if you want to know more about it, and this is where you’ll find the very beautiful toilets (I know, toilets and beauty are rarely combined, but they are beautiful) and a water fountain if you’ve run out of fuel.
Once you reach the Barrage, the views are spectacular. I think it’s a beautiful place, with ocean-views, a busy shipping channel, and currently you can see the tunnel work taking place beneath the ocean. It’s pretty amazing and very educational too. Once you’ve savoured the sites, head around the corner to one of Singapore’s largest water parks (no slides, just fountains and knee deep water) – so make sure you pack bathing suits and a towel. Kids, young and old, love this place, and the parents can cool off in the water too. There are not a lot of seats or amenities here, but it’s still a great place to hang out and cool down. There’s lots of shade as well, which is good.
Once you’ve had enough, walk up the circular path and onto the massive “green roof,” where you can enjoy a picnic or just more great views, including a solar farm. It’s certainly a popular place with Singaporeans from all walks of life and there is a lift for anyone wheel bound, or unable (or unwilling) to walk up to the roof.
When it’s time to go, I always find it a bit hard facing the long walk back. Everyone is already exhausted, so brace yourself as you head back over the Barrage and down the path through Gardens by the Bay (East). It can also get extremely hot. If you go in the morning, you’ll be facing the sun at its height. If it’s the evening, the setting sun can be a bit hard to deal with as well. But it’s a great adventure for the kids, and in the gardens there’s plenty of interesting stuff to see – our boys have found a nest of pretty red bugs they go back to time and time again. The Gardens are really beautiful, nicely designed, there’s lots of wildlife to enjoy – including birds – and I know it is a place we’ll visit many times.
In preparation for this adventure, pack swim suits and a towel and take lots of water. Ensure you’re stocked up with sun block, sunglasses, hats and protective clothing is a must no matter what time you go. Also take food. There’s a couple of places where you can buy food at Marina Barrage, but definitely best to take your own. The restaurant just as you hit Marina Barrage does take-away fresh juices, but it gets packed on weekends and can be a long wait.
So there you go. If you want to do something really active with the kids, I can highly recommend this adventure. The first time I did it, I was wearing uncomfortable shoes, so my feet were a bit battered by the end as I had to chase the boys on their scooters all the way there and back. Therefore if you’re walking, wear decent shoes, although it’s definitely time to buy adult scooters.
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