At the recommendation of my friend Shaun, I took the boys to the Singapore Discovery Centre on Saturday – a first for all of us. I have to say it was eerily quiet, with the Chinese New Year celebrations kicking off around the Island, but I’m definitely glad I went to have a look, because I must admit – I’d never even heard of it until Shaun mentioned it! Lucky I’m doing a kids adventure blog for Singapore huh?
Based out in Jurong, jump on the PIE, get off at exit 40 (ignore the GPS if it encourages you to exit earlier) and it’s just around the corner to the left after the exit. Alternatively, if you’re coming down the AYE it’s exit 20. Definitely very easy to find and well sign-posted. But public transport is also an option for those without wheels, with Joo Koon SMRT station across the road, as well as SBS Service 182 or 193 from Boon Lay Interchange. Here’s a link with a map and directions.
There are various ticketing options at Singapore Discovery Centre and I chose the basic admission that gives you entrance to the centre, a 45 minute 3D movie experience, and a bus tour around the military camp, which is on the same site. This selection was more than enough for my boys, but there are more movie options, entrance to the Army Museum and a shooting range, plus more. I would have loved to do the shooting, but with a minimum height of 1.4 meters it was definitely out for us, although can’t quite imagine doing it with my boys at this age anyway – them with live rounds? I might sneak off with Steve to do it one of these days.
The SDC is pretty impressive and provides a great overview of Singapore – where it’s come from and where it’s going. It’s got so many quirky little aspects to it, lots of interactive displays, and somehow it doesn’t come across as corny – because it really could have. Not to mention, the boys were wrapped with a display featuring a TV crew, because they got to jabber into a microphone to their hearts’ content. There’s also the central dome, where you can help design Singapore of the future, however as it was empty, the boys just used it as a place to run around in circles. Also, if you go into the centre of the dome and speak, your voice echoes around the chamber.
It’s a great place for young and old, will definitely keep everyone entertained, and if you’ve got the grandparents in town, a perfect destination for them as it’s not massive – think one of the largest display halls at the Singapore Science Centre to get an idea of size. I also have to compliment the staff – they were absolutely fantastic and nothing was too much. They not only handled any queries, but physically walked us to different places around the site, which was much appreciated when dealing with a four year olds’ need to go to the toilet NOW. There’s not a moment to lose in that situation as we all know. So kudos to them, a really terrific experience.
After nearly two hours or so in the SDC (which is a long time, but the boys were happy), I then enjoyed the boys first 3D movie experience with “Air Racers.” I had no idea how this would actually go – i.e. getting them to sit still for 45 minutes – but they absolutely loved it. I must say it was very cute watching them reach out to touch the aeroplanes, and their commentary throughout the movie was entertaining as well. I’m not sure if the other theatre goers enjoyed their banter, but I thought it was very sweet. Perhaps a full-length 3D movie experience is possible?
Next we went outside and caught the bus for the tour of the military facilities behind the SDC. There was very little activity on the actual base – as the majority of staff are off enjoying the CNY festivities with their families – but it was nice to get a glimpse into Singapore’s military life and the facilities were pretty impressive.
Driving out the other end of the Military base, we had the option to jump off the bus at the Singapore Army Museum. I’d already decided not to take the boys inside the actual Museum, BUT there is a line-up of military vehicles – tanks, boats, guns, etc… – outside and the boys thought that was heaven. There is also a mini obstacle course the kids can try out, and while my memory of a military obstacle course involved a lot of mud, this is a relatively clean option (with proper turf) so the lads were happy to do this circuit a few times and it wore them out. From here, it’s a nice walk by the lake back to SDC and the car park.
A perfect day out with the boys and when we go again, I’ll take them into the Army Museum to mix it up. It’s a great combination of inside activities if you need to escape the rain and outdoor options as well. There were some places to eat on site, but everything was closed due to the holidays. I always pack a picnic anyway, just because I want to be sure the boys are eating healthily.
There you go – a great place to check out if you haven’t been before. It’s got enough going on to entertain everyone, but it’s definitely not a place you’ll visit again and again – a few times is more than enough. I’d also recommend it as an option to keep on tap when visitors are in town.
Let us know what you think if you go / have already been?
With that, we’d love to wish everyone Gong Xi Fa Cai and hope all of our Chinese friends are enjoying wonderful moments with their families.