For those brave enough to take the long drive out to the Far East (of Singapore that is) there is a kids wonderland awaiting at Pasir Ris. Yes, yes – I know it’s at least 18.3 kms and will take at least 20 mins from the city centre (according to Google Maps) and in our condensed Island City State that’s considered huge, and may even cost more than $15 in a cab! (I can feel you all shuddering). But it’s worth the drive, in fact, so proud are National Parks of the Pasir Ris Beach Park facility, that they actually publish it’s own dedicated brochure. For those anxious travellers, don’t worry, you don’t even need to show your passport when you get past Simei…..
Pasir Ris Beach Park, whilst not central, is a great place for adventurous little ones of most ages. To find it, you follow Elias Road as it snakes through a residential area and becomes Pasir Ris Road (click here for a location map). Follow this all the way to the end with the park on your right, until the road terminates in a roundabout type thing – straight ahead is a car park (you will need coupons) or you can just do what everyone else does and abandon your car on the street. Working through the park from this far end (in other words roughly North-West to South-East), here’s a brief summary of what’s in store.
First thing you encounter is a circular basketball court where some evenings some older kids hang. Around the outside is a selection of workout machines for adults, but the real gem here is that the area doubles up as a scooter / bike / roller-skate velodrome (with a little imagination). Set slightly back is one of those tall ropey spider-web climbing contraptions, but the real feature is set on a slightly raised hillock. It’s a rope climbing frame, with a rope-walk feature around the outside, but courageous climbers are rewarded with a really cool slide that runs a good 20 metres or so from the top of the frame, down the side of the hill and through a thicket of bushes. Guarantee every kid makes a bee-line straight for it – well ours always do as it represents the most potential to give Dad a heart attack.
Also at this end, towards the ocean, is located Pasir Ris Sea Sports Club (sorry, we couldn’t find their website but click here for contact details) and the Silvery Moon Café where you can get a reasonable feed and enjoy a drink overlooking the ocean on the large wooden verandah. Here you can hire canoes and dinghy’s but we’re not sure of the pricing.
Just the other side is a pair of flying foxes, another wobbly climbing frames that’s better for slightly smaller kids, and a hill made of Astroturf with a variety of slides around the outside (at the time of writing this was under repair). Our two enjoy sliding down this on their bums despite many a warning from us, but continue to do so until they get friction burns on their thighs. Off to the other side towards the road is a complex maze-like feature for smaller kids with slides and a tamer version of the flying foxes.
In the middle on a ridge is a deliberately wobbly rope bridge (which was also under repair when we last went). Just the other side is another huge area with spinning discs (think of a satellite dish with 20 screaming kids in it), more climbing frames, swings and another area designed for much smaller kids.
The good thing about the playground area of Pasir Ris Beach Park is that it has been constructed around existing mature trees, and so there is a fair amount of shade and plenty of picnic tables. There is a toilet block toward the ocean close to this play area that is quite unique (as toilet blocks go anyway) in that it actually uses rainwater that has been captured and stored under the park for flushing – and National Parks should be commended for taking the lead with such innovative and responsible eco-friendly technology.
The bad thing about this playground area is that it is constructed in a natural small valley feature so when it rains, it can flood quite badly, with pools of standing water until it naturally drains away. This unfortunately means the sand in some areas has been washed away and replaced with a muddy mixture, which can be quite hard underfoot. We know this because Lex took a tumble off a spinning frame from about two metres up and landed flat on his ribcage – boy did he scream (all fine though).
This part of the park also borders the ocean, so once dare-devil antics have got boring our boys naturally gravitate to the beach – which is actually not too bad. There is a floating boom deployed to keep the water as clean as possible and there’s always kids swimming, but you need to watch out for the numerous fishermen. Unfortunately on our last visit, there was quite a lot of broken glass on the beach, which no doubt has since been cleaned up in efficient Singapore style – but watch out just in case. Follow the beach away from the play area and it widens slightly leading to the BBQ area, which is packed every weekend. Even further down, if you head inland, there’s a small café and what looks like a skate rental business.
Be careful not to confuse this facility with Pasir Ris Town Park which is quite different, and bizarrely described on the website as a “treasured green lung”. We’ll be sure to check out this and report just exactly how much fun a green lung can be, so watch this space…
From a logistics perspective, as mentioned before, there’s toilets close to the play area (with changing facilities), ramps everywhere for those pesky prams and a few options for refreshments. We try to support the Uncle seeling stuff from the back of his van close to the play area, but there’s a couple of cafes for those wanting to go upmarket. The usual gear is required; hats, sunblock, water and a good idea to throw in some mosquito repellent if you’re there around dusk or on a day with little breeze. Also throw in bathing suits in case the kids are keen on a swim.
I personally love Pasir Ris Beach Park, mainly because it really suits our adventurous two terrors and there’s enough for them to see and do to keep them engaged for a good part of the day. As with most parks here, it can be deserted from 10am until 5pm and then suddenly become very busy. In general, the weekends are busy throughout the day, with the occasional birthday party and huge family gatherings – but it never feels cramped.
So be brave, take the bold step of venturing out East, and let us know what you make of Pasir Ris Beach Park?