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I’m sure everyone is checking out the new Gardens by the Bay today – which we plan to visit soon – but if you want to avoid the crowds, I’ve got a great adventure to recommend – but you’ll need your own transport for ease on this outing. We had a friend in town last weekend from Australia, so I wanted to do something off the beaten track, and we headed out to the Aqua Fauna Centre in Pasir Ris, specifically to go and check out the Kids Kampong. It is rare to meet people in the parents-of-under-10-age-group in Singapore who have very distinct memories of living in a Kampong, but I have a few who do and wanted to get an idea of what life may have looked like back then. It was a good decision.

The Aqua Fauna Centre has some really interesting things to do, but we started off in the Kids Kampong. It’s free to get in and wander around, just a few dollars for fish and animal feed, and there is shade over the entire area. The kids can see and feed fish, ducks, chickens, turtles, rabbits, and more, BUT the main activity is to fish with a net or a rod. I was hoping to avoid the fishing side – just because I’m a wimp and it makes me sad seeing anything die – but I had to give in to the demands and buy the bucket and net package for the boys. This costs $14/head and you keep whatever fish you catch + the bucket and net, and the kids get a tub of ice cream and a bottle of water as well.

After paying, the kids get one hour to catch tiny little fish in flowing “streams.” On first inspection it looks like a piece of cake, but you very quickly realise this ain’t so easy – let’s just say these little fish have gotten very smart at outmanoeuvring us humans. It’s also pretty funny watching the other parents participate in the activity, and there were some very competitive mums in the mix, trying to motivate their kids to catch more fish, all the while tottering on very high heels! It added to the experience for sure. If you have inflexible grandparents in town, this may not be the best activity for them – there’s a lot of squatting and bending over required, plus long pants may be a good idea. The concrete gets rough on the knees.

The Kids Kampong also host animal shows and birthday parties, and you can also fish with a rod, but we stuck to the nets. The boys had a blast and killed the majority of fish they caught L and we easily spent a good couple of hours here. I am actually thinking I might host one of the boys birthday parties here, because I think it would be a hoot and the birthday staff looked like fun. It’s not a perfect, pristine environment, but it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re looking for something different to do.

But that is not the only activity you can do at Aqua Fauna – although it is the only kids activity marketed in this area. Straight outside the Kids Kampong, to the right, is a supermarket for pets – U Petgamart. If you have a dog, you are welcome to bring them along, although inside they have dogs wandering around, as well as a big cage of cats. The only criticism is we were hit with a wall of cat urine when we walked in, so if you can’t stand that smell, you have been warned. Everything you need for your pet can be bought here, and for my boys, they just love every opportunity they get to interact with animals, so a worthwhile side stop.

Out of the pet supermarket to the right, we walked into 8Quatic Culture Hub – a huge aquarium, fish supplier, and small animal shop, and I have to say – I’ve never seen anything quite like it. There were thousands of fish, the majority in all manner of containers (although many did not look too healthy) and it was fascinating. The boys loved it, because there were fish nets everywhere, and thinking they were still in the Kids Kampong, spent most of the time trying to scoop fish out of the tanks. Suffice to say, I had to run around trying to explain that using the nets in this shop was not what they were supposed to do…

From here we turned right out the front door, walked to the end of the road, and found a Koi Carp Hotel – or the Diamond Koi Farm. The gate was open, there were no signs saying don’t enter, so we thought go and see what it was all about. There were large tanks full of Koi Carp, from small to very large, and some of the customers told us this is where you can either buy Koi or it’s a place to keep your Koi. As always, understanding the cost of Koi (one pool of fish were worth $50,000 each) is always entertaining with visitors, as we watched Wayne’s mouth pop open when he heard this –  it is mind blowing when you first understand the cost of this hobby.

Just before you leave the complex, right to the left of the front gate, you’ll see a sign saying “Puppies for Sale.” This business is primarily a boarding kennel for pets, but they also have some cute pups for sale if your kids want to have a look, or indeed, if you’re in the market for a new puppy dog.

We really enjoyed Aqua Fauna Centre. It was quirky, a bit different, there were new things for the boys to see, and everyone we came into contact with was lovely. There were a few places to get food that looked pretty decent, but we had already packed our own, so didn’t get to check them out.

After this, we decided a cooling down session was required, so we headed back to East Coast Road and stopped at The Mall – 112 Katong – the newly renovated shopping centre, which features a water park on the roof. One of the parents at school had told me about it, and I’m happy to say, it’s great, as is 112 Katong – fabulous compared to what is was before. The Water Park is big enough, brand new, clean and in mint condition, making it a great option for the kiddies. On the weekend they also have bouncy castles, and even though the staff were pretty strict, the boys enjoyed themselves. There’s no shade on the roof however, so it is extremely hot for those not in the water.

Once you’re done on the roof, there’s plenty of eating options, or a fresh juice in the food hall, so you can stay for dinner or to shop, or head for the car because you’ve had enough – we hit that point. We were absolutely exhausted by the end of this, but it was a great adventure and the boys were very happy indeed.

You’ll need to take swim suits, hats, sun block and lots of water. Pack a picnic if you’d prefer to know what you’re kids are going to eat, but you can buy everything you need to eat or drink along the way as well. You could do either Aqua Fauna or the Water Park as single venue destinations of course, but combined, it really does make a great day out.

Let us know if you go please?