A stone's throw away from Lakeside MRT, one of Singapore's national gardens is in the heart of the Jurong neighbourhood and is just a short walk from David & Goliath Preschool (DGP). The beauty of Jurong Lake Gardens makes it a must-visit, free-entry nature park that caters to all ages.
The Garden is open 8am - 7pm every Tuesday to Sunday. While it gets crowded in the evenings, the sun can get blazing hot if there is no cloud cover in the afternoon. So remember to prep sunscreen and umbrella (for rain or shine).
Here are 7 activities to try when you visit the Gardens as a family.
1) Clusia Cove
This open-water concept play area is an interesting way of bringing beach fun to a nature park. The sandy area is free for anyone to dip their feet (it's ankle height) and play with the sand. Kids tend to splash around too, so consider bringing an extra shirt / shorts.
2) Kayaking or Boating
PAssion WaVe @ Jurong Lake Gardens offers kayak rentals for 2 hours and 4-pedal boat rentals for 1 hour each time. Though the minimum age requirement is 7 and up, since it is a water sport, this sports centre makes for a great lounging space and provides a scenic view across the lake. Bird watchers and photographers have been known to hang out here at sunset to catch birds returning home to roost, and to capture the sunset.
(Fun Tip: If you live nearby and wish to recycle your electronic waste, there is a bin collection in the reception area you can use. Just remember to wipe your harddisks a few times and break it if you wish to be thorough about deleting your data on a computer.)
3) Butterfly Maze
The Butterfly Maze has small pathways to ensure that the garden is as dense as possible, in order to create an optimal breeding environment for butterflies. Children can begin the walk from the entrance to follow a sequence detailing the life cycle of butterflies along the walkway. There are short slides that break the monotony of the winding path too. The Maze then gives way to the Therapeutic Garden.
4) Therapeutic Garden
There are interactive elements that help kids to pause and play at certain sections, to learn something new about their environment. There are native herbs and fruiting plants that line the paths (no plucking allowed, no matter how tempting it is!) Kids can bring paper and crayon or pencil to colour over the stencils placed throughout the garden.
5) The Grasslands
Feats of horticultural workmanship can be seen in the various points of interest. While there is the swamp Alstonia Island, a fungus collection on Logs Trail, and the largest Floating Wetlands in Singapore, Grasslands is my favourite feature. It's a wonderful maze of tall grasses (certain pathways only go to certain viewpoints but it's not obvious because the paths are hidden by tall grass), predominantly the Chinese Fountain Grass. The landscape is great for family photos, as well as wedding shoots.
6) ActiveSG Park
If the Gardens didn't seem family-friendly enough, the ActiveSG Park has an outdoor fitness corner with adult equipment and a children's playground adjacent to it. Your kids get a workout and so do you. It's made of plastic too so you don't burn your hands when the sun is out.
The swimming pool and gym follow ActiveSG booking requirements. Download the app to book your slot up to 4 days in advance.
7) Forest Ramble
I saved the best for last. Forest Ramble is a huge wildlife-themed outdoor play space. Each section is designed with the natural habitat and movements of local creatures, making the setup even more inspirational. And if you thought it was only for kids, wait till you try the elements yourself.