I attended a kid’s birthday party at Go Go Bambini on the weekend and was surprised by how many parents didn’t know about the wonderful things you can do at Dempsey Road with kids. As such, I decided to move this adventure up the list and write about it today. This is a great thing to do on a steaming hot day, or one of those light drizzly days, when it’s not raining enough to stay inside, but raining a little too much for a big outdoor adventure.
Best done in the afternoon (and I’ll explain why) drive, bus or taxi to Dempsey Road and park or stop near the Dempsey Hill Fountain. This is stop one, because in the pond beneath the water feature you are going to see two VERY large fish. According to this news one of the fish went missing at some point, but you’ll be pleased to know there are two again, and I think there might even be a baby one?
These fish are called Arapaima and according to Wiki they are “a South American tropical freshwater fish… and one of the largest freshwater fish in the world.” Whatever the case, these fish are huge and pretty amazing to see – the kids will love them. There are also lots of little fish in another pond alongside, and apparently this is where the Arapaima used to be hosted, but they got too big and were moved to the purpose built pond. That’s just a rumor though.
From here, walk back to Lotto Carpets Gallery, because just next door you will come face to face with magnificent tropical birds – mainly Macaws. Owned by Lotto Carpets Gallery (and apparently a passion for the owner), the birds are in cages for most of the day. However from about 5pm every evening the birds are set free to perch in the open air, and you can get up close and personal with these beautiful creatures. The guys running this place seem pretty easy-going, letting you feed the birds nuts, and the birds will walk onto your hand if you’re feeling brave enough – my boys have never taken the plunge. Being Aussie, I love seeing the cockatoos as well, although they are kept in cages. Do say hello because you are sure to get a “hello cocky” out of one of them as they are a chatty bunch. I actually had a red Macaw say hello recently as well. If you’re kids like animals, this is a really cool thing to see and experience.
With the wildlife done, wander back through Dempsey Road to Go-Go-Bambini for a bit of indoor fun. Bambini is one of the earlier established indoor playrooms in Singapore and we’ve been frequenting it since it opened in 2007. Unlike some of the other indoor playrooms, it doesn’t have a lot of space to run around, but the kids love it never-the-less, and it remains ever-popular with our boys.
Opening at 9.30am every day, it closes at 6pm, except Friday and Saturday when it’s open until 8pm. Keep an eye out because sometimes they do close earlier. Pricing starts at $8 for the tiny tots and $18 for 2-11 years (member pricing), but this is for unlimited play, so it’s better value than most of the indoor playrooms around town.
There is a cafe at Bambini, which serves up pretty healthy food options, but ask them for an extra shot of coffee if you like it strong. And next door to Bambini is Ben & Jerry’s Ice-cream, so if an ice-cream treat is in order, you don’t have to go far.
I usually take the boys to Bambini after we see the fish and the birds, but the important thing is timing your visit to make sure you are with the birds at around 5-5.30pm. That way you know they’ll be outside – except during heavy rain and storms. If you can’t manage it, it’s great seeing the birds in the cages as well, but definitely better when they are free. So plan your adventure around that and you won’t be disappointed. One other thing about the birds I forgot to mention is they can be VERY noisy. It’s no big deal, but if your little loves have sensitive ears, you have been warned.
One of the great aspects of this adventure for parents is Dempsey Hill full stop!! This place is packed with amazing furniture, antique shops, restaurants, designer boutiques, art galleries, and so much more. While understandably you can’t enter a lot of these places with little kids in tow (well I wouldn’t), the majority have their wares on display outside. Thus, while my boys enjoy Dempsey Road for other reasons, I get to be a voyeur looking at all of the wonderful things coming out of Asia.
I could suggest so much more, but Dempsey is one of those places where you create your own experiences, and every time you can do something a little different – it’s big, it has loads of space, and other than the crazy traffic conditions, it’s well worth an explore.
One extra idea, if you head to Dempsey in the morning and have a spare adult around (i.e. helper or visiting Grandparents), Mum and Dad can take off for a bit of grown up time and enjoy a fabulous breakfast at Jones the Grocer – but there are so many other places to enjoy as well.
So there you go, one of my favorites and sure to be a hit with your kids too. Let me know if you go or if you have any other favorite destinations you’d love to share with parents in Singapore??