Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Singapore Sojourn III: Zara hatke things to-do

Prologue: This part focuses on some things off the regular Patel-list which we enjoyed lots and would do several of them again when it is the younger one’s turn to experience S’pore.

Port of Lost Wonder, Splash Zones – Zoo, Jurong

The POLW in Sentosa is a MUST visit if your kids love water. What’s cool about this place is that adults don’t have anything to do, except become and behave like kids themselves.  POLW is probably the number 1 place we’d visit the next time. Button had such a blast and the husband (P) loved it too. We visited POLW after Universal when Button was on the verge of a meltdown. What an effect the place had on him! We were hot and hungry and I needed some much needed alone time, not to mention a clean loo. POLW? 100% on all counts! There is a small shop where you can buy souvenirs and even swimming trunks et al.

The splash zone is basically water play. The entire area has a cork-like feel on the floor (but absorbs the water) and is super colorful. There are different types of water play from water guns, water slides, water sprinklers and best of all a giant pirate themed slide where water fills up in a cauldron that splashes down on kids when it is full. It is accompanied by a bell ringing that rises in pitch and pace as water fills up, so kids know when to run and position themselves underneath (or away, like in Button’s case!) so they can get splashed to their heart’s content. What better way to have a big blue whale of a time? The loos are designed cleverly too. The doors have two hinges – one at child level and one at adult level. So if an adult uses the loo, she has to lock the door at waist level AND shoulder level, whereas for the kid, only at waist level, so the mom can keep an eye.

There are activities to do too – bird shows, puppet shows etc. Also a fun place to have a picnic with grass and trees in one corner with loungers. Button raced away to a bed after he was done with his French fries and splashing and insisted on a nap! Have to mention that the food place is also amongst the cleanest and best in Sentosa. Recommend the iced lemon tea there. Only check the timings before you go, the last entry is at 4.00 p.m., any later and you don’t get admission, though you can splash around until 6.00 p.m.

Similar splash zones are there in the Zoo and Jurong too. If Sentosa is not on your agenda, the at least try these (Button enjoyed all 3, but POLW most of all). The actual water play is pretty similar, but what sets POLW apart is the other stuff and its location. It is at the sea and you get glimpses of the sea, and can enjoy the sea breeze as well. Also, the Ben & Jerrys at the splash zone in the zoo has (vegetarian) cheese sandwiches, but not a patch compared to the variety at POLW.

Supermarkets & Malls
Most people who travel from India go to Mustafa in Little India, which is a sight by itself. I recommend going to Mustafa in the middle of the night, when traffic is a bit lower. What is nicer is the Orchard Road malls. If your little one is into retail (grocery) therapy like mine is, then head out to Carrefour or similar. Button loved the multiple varieties of Oreos, cereal, jams and enjoyed checking out the non-veg pickles (some of the creatures are pickled intact! To me it felt like I was walking in the biology lab at school). We bought Milo cereal which is yummy. Also try the Milo tetrapak milk if your child enjoys chocolate milk. I had lots of the milk through my stay and loved being a child licking the milk moustache. Some malls have lovely play areas. Many offer cheaper clothing options in open stores. Button loved eating muffins at Starbucks. There are make-a-teddy workshops that a friend recommended to me. Mentioning it here – we didn’t do it, but you can check it out if you have time.

A note of caution - with the recent FDI sector opening up, mall-crawls may not be a big deal anymore.

Listed below are some fun things that we had planned, but did not do for lack of time or energy!

Singapore fire stations open to children almost every Saturday. I recommend (on the basis of extensive research) going to the Central fire station (and nearby Civil Defense gallery). Call ahead and check when they open.

Marina Barrage (www.pub.gov.sg/Marina)
A barrage built over the Marina channel to convert sea water to fresh water. Again, suitable for water play for slightly older kids. Picnic spot, if you want to get a picnic basket.

East Coast Park & West Coast Park
Good for just running around, flying kites and riding a bicycle. There are small playgrounds in both, with the standard playground attractions – swings, slides, some climbing frames.

Nature attractions
Check out any or all of these if your kid(s) enjoys animals.

The live Turtle and Tortoise farm (http://www.turtle-tortoise.com/template.jsp?pg=home) Be warned that this place has only turtles and tortoises.

The Animal Farm – where you can feed animals. You can buy the animal food at the premises itself. ( www.rictedkennels.com)

Also a crocodile park and other parks that you can visit, but am running out of patience now, so I stop! 

On a final note, if you are a book lover like my son is, you may want to invest in this little book, which is a great way to prepare your kid on what to expect. Also to recap and revisit the sights once you are back. I bought it in a store at Suntec mall I think. In the same mall is also a shop which sells ONLY jigsaw puzzles. Worth a dekko. 

For everything else, GoSingapore.com is a great bet. Bon Voyage! 

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