The playgrounds

Last week, we took buddy to check out two playgrounds. One was the newly opened Marine Cove at East Coast Park, and the other was the Future World exhibit at ArtScience Museum of Marina Bay Sands.

Let’s start with Future World, which is touted as the largest interactive digital playground in Singapore. It’s a permanent exhibition at the museum, in collaboration with the Tokyo-based teamLab, which explains the Japanese elements found throughout the set up. The theme is basically about sustainable living with nature. The first couple of displays have complex messages, but the rest are enjoyable and fun stuff for the kids, which also appeal to the adults.

The first display is an animation of nature: the blossom cycle of a tree. It’s rather zen, as I think we are supposed to contemplate our relationship with nature as we view the petals forming and shedding, and butterflies fluttering around. It’s actually rather pretty, but Buddy wasn’t interested in reflection.

The next display is the 100 years sea animation diorama as we watch how climate change causes sea water to rise and inundate everything around us. The museum provided bean bags in front of the paranomic screen for visitors to lie down and view the 10-minute scene.

After the somber reminder of the damage caused by the warming climate, I think the kids are glad to have some fun at last. Here, a table with blocks on them allowed kids to use their imagination to create a transport system. Certain blocks form tracks for trains to move, some form roads for cars, some form clouds for planes or helicopter,  and others form river for boats. The interactive image on the table is reflected on the screen. Buddy had a lot of fun making train tracks.

There is also a slide within the hall, but Buddy only went for one try. I guess the other exhibits are more interesting.

There are three digital installations which allow the visitors to bring to life the images we create. They are displayed on a large screen showing a city (picture below) that features iconic singapore landmarks, and there is even a dragon. Kids and adults can choose the transport they want to color from the selections available in the side slots of each bench, sit on the lighted benches and color them using crayons provided. Once done, you then scan the image (scanners are located next to the benches), and it appears on the screen.

One other animated installation features nature, with the images appearing on the floor. You can choose from flowers or animals like frogs, crocodile, salamander, etc. There is even a big whale, which is a little scary to Buddy.

Here is my frog swimming in the digital river!

Buddy created a psychedelic crocodile, and apparently he wasn’t the only one. He mistaken this rainbow croc for his creation.


Turned out it was Swimming right by my husband’s feet.


There are more installations which, unfortunately, we didn’t have the time to check out because it was already lunch time and we were famished. It’s worth another visit to check out the other interesting set up.

The other playground, Marine Cove, opened a couple of weeks ago, after several months of makeover. According to news report, it took the park authority (N Parks) S$18 million dollar to build the huge playgroup the size of 3/4 Football field, the five F&B outlets next to it, and the open carpark.

The playground is truly huge, with lots of stations catering to kids of different age groups. The highlight is the big ass lighthouse cum slide. The only way to get up is to climb up the rope ladder. But Buddy has never been very adventurous since young, and so he didn’t manage to climb all the way to the top. (One thing for sure is that he will not be a base jumper.)

The lighthouse tower can be pretty scary for young kids. Some parents climbed up the rope ladder with their children to guide them. But sometimes it can still be overwhelming for the little ones. There was one little boy (probably younger than Buddy), who was wailing on the rope walkway as his father firmly repeated, “you can do it!’ I know it’s good to encourage kids to overcome their fears, but it takes time and patience to do so and insisting on it may not be a good move.

The station where Buddy had the most fun is this game that is similar to hit the mole/mouse.  There is a circle of signal stands which will light up with either green or red circle when the game starts, and the kid has to hit the button on it once it lits up. Buddy had a lot of fun running around with other kids for this game. Unfortunately, he tripped and hit his head against one of the stands which caused him to bawl. Poor boy had a cut and a bump on his forehead. Luckily it was nothing serious and an ice pack easily soothed the bruise.

This playground is definitely a hit with the kids. During our first trip there in the evening, the place was literally packed! This second trip was during lunch time, and the crowd was smaller because of the heat. Yes, it gets really warm in the afternoon. So if you want to check this out with your kids, best to come in the early morning or evening, though of course in the evening, you have to fight your way through the throngs of children. (Fight may not be unexpected, because my husband overhead a little girl telling her dad that another child hit her when she was playing at a station.)

While we were there, we also checked out the F&B outlets at Marina Cove. McDonald’s, as expected, is a big hit. It’s the first and only  McD restaurant in Singapore to have a salad bar, and waffles to boot.  Luckily the restaurant provides self-service order stations, probably another first in Singapore, which makes it convenient to get your food.

We went to Hill Street Coffee Shop for brunch, since we had tried its sister outlet at Garden by the Bay, and the food is acceptable. But I think some people are not familiar with the restaurant and got confused over how to order their food. They were not sure if they should wait for their table or queue up in line to place their order. Well, very easy, you just have to get a table, take note of the table number, get the order form (from the front desk), note down what you want on it while in the queue to save time, and then place order when it’s your turn.

The other restaurants are Coffee Bean and Tea Leave (which apparently can seat more than 200 pax), Babalicious which serves peranakan food, and Briyani House which also offers prata. Initially, we had wanted to have brunch at Coffee Bean which serves whole-day breakfast,  but was told the food would take 20 minutes! Anyway, we will check out Babalicious and Briyani House for our future visits. These two restaurants even have play areas for kids, which is a nice touch.


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