It’s amazing how many things there are to do right here in Singapore when you know where to look—here are nine ways to up the thrill factor this school holiday season, without crossing any borders.
Contributed By Annie Wong
Be A Firefighter
Where: All fire stations except for those at Jurong Island and Changi
What: Walk-in any Saturday between 9 and 11 a.m. for a close-up look at how a fire station operates. Firemen will show you how to wear the red suit in record time and allow you to try it out yourself. You can even climb into the fire engines and have a hands-on feel of the sirens. Of course, there will also be a live demonstration on the sliding pole. Groups numbering 10 or more must make prior bookings two weeks in advance.
Cost: Free. Log on to www.scdf.gov.sg for more information.
Fly A Plane
Where: #02-06 Singapore Flyer
What: What beats flying your kid to an overseas vacation? Flying the plane itself. Fuel his/her aviation ambitions with Flight Experience’s state-of-the-art flight simulator facilities modeled after the Boeing 737. With a fully enclosed cockpit, full functioning avionics and 180-degree external visuals to accurately represent what real-life pilots see, participants can learn to master skills like executing takeoffs and landings, among many others. Each flight is conducted with an instructor on board. The best part is that you can choose your routes, from London to Paris, Boston to New York, Christchurch to Queenstown. Minimum age is 10.
Cost: From S$175 for 30 minutes for a group of three. Log on to www.flightexperience.com.sg for more information.
Study Water Systems
Where: Marina Barrage @ Marina South
What: Visit the Sustainable Singapore Gallery filled with fun interactive multimedia explaining how the country’s needs are met within the constraints of limited resources while maintaining environmental friendliness. The spacious grounds also allows for family picnics and kite-flying. Shuttle bus services available throughout the week from the Marina Bay MRT station.
Cost: Free. Log on to www.pub.gov.sg for more information.
Remember A Bygone Era
Where: Tanjong Pagar KTM Station at Keppel Road
What: The Tanjong Pagar KTM Station, which opened in 1932, will cease operations on July 1. Most of us may have never visited the place, much less taken a train from there. As not much has been done to upgrade the station for the past few decades, it has retained its original character from the grand arched entrance to its old-fashioned ticket booths—so take a trip down memory lane while it’s still there. You can also explore the freight station, repair shed and turntable; it will truly make Thomas & Friends come alive for your boys.
Zip From Canopy to Coast
Where: MegaZip Adventure Park at Sentosa
What: Get an adrenaline rush with one of Asia’s longest flying fox lines at 75 meters high and 450 meters long here—the breath catches in your throat for a good three seconds before you regain your vocal reflexes to let out a bloodcurdling scream as you whoosh past the trees beneath you and land on the white sands at Fox Finish Point. Minimum weight required to travel is 30kg. There is also the ClimbMax, a multi-tier high ropes obstacle course, set 15 meters above ground to test your gumption.
Cost: S$49 for a MegaZip and ClimbMax package. Log on to www.megazip.com.sg for more information.
Kayak Through The Wild
Where: Pulau Ubin
What: Many have explored Pulau Ubin on foot or by bicycle, but few have experienced the rustic charms of this island by river. Cruise down the Jelutong River in a kayak and take in the sights and sounds of Mother Nature (sightings of kingfishers and schools of fish in the water are common) while building up some definition in the shoulders.
Cost: Rent a kayak from paddle sports outfit Adventure Paddlers (www.adventurepaddlers.com.sg) from S$8 to S$14 per hour onward—children below age 15 enjoy a 50 percent discount for all in-house expeditions.
Hike On High Ground
Where: The Southern Ridges spanning the hills of Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park and Kent Ridge Park
What: The Southern Ridges are the best example of how green spaces in a land-scarce city can be optimized with smart urban planning. Comprising a pristine network of intersecting walkways, the entire trail takes a little more than an hour for the casual stroller, and offers great views of the harbor and neighboring islands. Highlights include the Forest Walk where you can experience secondary forests at eye-level through an elevated walkway, and the 274-meter long, 36-meter high Henderson Waves, the wave-like structure of which has drawn many a shutterbug. Best time to visit is in the evening.
Cost: Free. Log on to www.nparks.gov.sg for detailed trail guides and difficulty levels (useful for those with very young children) and entry points.
Wish Upon A Star
Where: Science Centre Singapore
What: Because of Singapore’s privileged location next to the Equator, the Observatory at the SCS is one of the very few in the world from where stargazers can get the best galactic vistas. Its unique position allows constellations in both the northern and southern celestial hemispheres to be observed. The Observatory is open for star-gazing sessions every Friday night from 7:50 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Cost: S$9 (S$5 for children from 5 to 16 years old).