5 fun family-friendly outdoor activities to do in Singapore
Planning some activities to help your kids destress? Finding things to do over the school holidays? There’re plenty of fun and family-friendly things to do in Singapore, and some places are worth working up a sweat for.
1. Jurong Lake Gardens
There’s something for everyone in Jurong Lake Gardens!
Spot hornbills, water monitor lizards, and otters (if you’re lucky!) at the Jurong Lake boardwalk. Pose your children against the dreamy backdrop of the Grasslands’ dreamy Lalang fields, or next to the majestic ‘Lone Tree’ sculpture.
Have a blast at Forest Ramble, a playground with 13 play zones that are inspired by marshland creatures, or Clusia Cove for water play with sand. Remember to bring a change of clothes for your kids!
Kayak, sail, windsurf, dragon-boat, and stand-up paddle at Passion WaVe @ Jurong Lake Gardens.
Did you know? Forest Ramble has inclusive playground equipment, such as a merry-go-round for wheelchair-bound children.
2. Rail Corridor
Embark on a short hike along the Rail Corridor. Formerly the railway line between Singapore and the Malay peninsula in the 20th century, the Rail Corridor is a 24km path stretching from Woodlands to Tanjong Pagar. But you can choose a shorter section for the hike, depending on how old your children are.
Look out for the artefacts and landmarks that were once part of the former railway line, such as: the Tanjong Pagar and Bukit Timah Railway Stations, one steel truss bridge spanning Bukit Timah Road and Dunearn Road, and the other at Upper Bukit Timah Road. (Plenty of photo-ops here.)
And don’t forget about the critters. There’s plenty of biodiversity, given the Rail Corridor’s proximity to 4 nature parks. You might spot: Crimson Sunbird, Scarlett-backed Flowerpecker, Sunda Pangolin, and even the Sunda Scops Owl!
Did you know? The trail finishings were chosen to complement their surroundings. Areas nearer the nature parks use a grass and gravel finish. In more urban areas, the trail is finished with a more hardy, earth-coloured porous material.
3. Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Located in Kranji, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is an extensive mangrove forest with a rich biodiversity that includes migratory birds and native inhabitants like mudskippers, crabs, shellfish, and water snakes. Up to 200 bird species have been recorded here!
Don’t miss these:
- White-bellied sea eagle protecting its nest. You can usually see it flying along the Coastal Trail
- Onion-shaped ‘pods’ that are hideouts for bird enthusiasts, and double-up as great photo backgrounds
- Crabs and mudskippers at low-tide
- Shelters along the Migratory Bird Trail to watch birds from a close proximity
- Sightings of Estuarine crocodiles from the safety of the bridge that connects the Wetland Centre to the Migratory Bird Trail
Did you know? Up to 200 bird species have been recorded at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, and you might even catch sight of the migratory shorebirds or waders during the bird migratory season between September and March.
4. MacRitchie Reservoir
MacRitchie Reservoir is THE reservoir to visit if your objective is maximum outdoor fun. That’s because it caters to the needs of everyone, from runners to water sports enthusiasts to nature lovers.
For families of serious runners, follow the yellow trail for an 11km-long loop that takes you across varied terrains. You’ll run past the reservoir, near a golf course, across freshwater streams, and face the occasional steep hill.
For hikers, the TreeTop Walk is the perfect way to take in the lush green foliage. Start from the carpark at Venus Drive if you want the fastest route (2.5km each way). To work up a bigger sweat, start your journey from MacRitchie Reservoir Park (4.5km each way).
Did you know? MacRitchie Reservoir’s calm waters make it perfect for beginners, and there is a Kid-in-a-Kayak programme for kids aged 10 to 12.
5. Coney Island
Coney Island Park, also known as Pulau Serangoon, is home to a wide variety of habitats such as coastal forests, grasslands, mangroves, and casuarina woodlands. Follow the 2.5km Park Connector at Coney Island as a guide to exploring the island.
If you prefer to go on foot, head for the boardwalk that will take you to the beach for mesmerising promenade views of Serangoon Harbour.
Did you know? In the 1930s and 1940s, the island was owned by the Aw Boon brothers, and known as Haw Par Island. After being sold to another businessman, he developed it into Singapore Coney Island, and marketed it as “Singapore’s first island health resort”.
Speaking of health, there are immediate benefits from going out in the sun and getting active!
Health benefits of going out in the sun:
- Boosts Vitamin D production, which is crucial for calcium absorption and strong bones and muscles
- Production of serotonin, the mood-lifter chemical which also helps us sleep, eat, and digest better
Health benefits of physical activity:
- Improves cognitive ability for children below age 131
- For adults, exercising helps to reduce short-term feelings of anxiety1
- Production of “happy” brain chemicals such as endorphins, dopamine, adrenaline and endocannabinoid, which help to lower stress levels, reduce feeling of loneliness, and help relive anxiety and depression2