What are the best museums for fun weekend activities and a spot of edutainment for kids of all ages?
Whether you want to brush up on local history, science or art, we’re super lucky in Singers to be so well served for museums that are both child-friendly and highly interactive. Whether you’re seeking a fun-packed day out, need an educational distraction for restless little ones or are just at a loose end on a rainy or simmering day, here’s our look at Singapore’s best museums for kids… Oh, and forget all your preconceptions about museums being a teeny bit boring – these ones are anything but! Let’s go, mamas!
One of our favourite museums in Singapore! ArtScience Centre hosts a number of major exhibitions each year that are both educational and interesting for the bigger kids, and their parents. Future World is a permanent exhibition and if you haven’t taken your kids here yet – bookmark this idea! Created in collaboration with teamLab, a renowned Japanese interdisplinary art collective, get ready to be awed by lights and colours. There are interactive displays that kids can touch, a slide to whizz down, activities to get involved in. A totally immersive experience in a world of art, science, magic and cutting-edge digital installations. Read our full review on the wonders of FutureWorld here.
Admission: Adults $17, Children (2-12 years) $12, Family (2 Adults + 2 Children) $46 (extra admission charges apply for certain exhibitions)
Singapore Residents (Present a valid identity card: Singapore Citizen IC, Singapore Permanent Resident IC, employment pass, work permit or dependent’s pass) Adults $13.60, Children (2-12 years) $9.60, Family (2 Adults + 2 Children) $36.80
Address: Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018956
Tel: (+65) 6688 8868
Hours: Open Daily, 10am – 10pm
How to get there: Bayfront Station MRT station, then a 10-minute walk. There is also parking at Marina Bay Shoppes for those with cars.
Step back into the Lion City’s colourful, defensive history, tour the country’s oldest fire station, and let your kids explore antique fire engines and interactive learning stations (where they can pretend to be fire fighters!). Older children (at least 1.2m in height) can join the Tower Tour, and ascend the hose tower, once the highest viewpoint in Singapore, while fun hands-on displays will keep younger children busy.
Sassy Mama Tip: Saturdays are a big hit as the Central Fire Station is open to the public for free from 9am to 11am – that means a guided tour of the fire station is in order! Firemen are super with the kids letting them use the hoses and ride on the trucks – check out our full write up here!).
Address: 62 Hill Street, Singapore 179367
Tel: (+65) 6332 2996
Hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm
How to get there: Exit at City Hall MRT, then walk 5 minutes to the museum. Enter from Hill Street.
With interactive, hands-on exhibits that are perfect for both younger and older children, the Science Centre provides a super-interesting learning experience for children (just don’t tell them it is educational!). With dozens of exhibits spread across 14 galleries, there’s enough here to keep all members of the family busy. There are over 24 different exhibitions to see and experience. From Marine Alcove to Funfair Maths, from Climate Change to Bioethics, the Science Centre has it all! No visit is complete without a trip to the awesome Waterworks, with its own water maze and clock tower. Plus there’s a Butterflies Up Close exhibition – Singapore’s first and only indoor butterfly enclosure while following the transformation of a butterfly from egg to beautiful butterfly. It’s like The Very Hungry Caterpillar come to life! Read our full review here!
Admission: Free admission for Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents (PRs) to the Science Centre during Off-peak days (weekdays during school term, excluding public holidays and school holidays). Peak days include weekends, public holidays and school holidays, where Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents (PRs) admission is $6 Adults, $4 Children. Standard rate is $12 Adults, $8 Children (3-12 years)
Address: 15 Science Centre Road, Singapore 609081
Tel:(+65) 6425 2500
Hours: Open Daily, 10am – 6pm
How to get there: Jurong East MRT Station and then walk 8 minutes or transfer to bus number 66, 178, 198 or 335 to the centre. Best to drive or catch a taxi (take the PIE to exit 29 or the AYE to exit 13)
The National Gallery home to the largest public collection of Singaporean and Southeast Asian art in the region. Special upcoming exhibitions include “Colours of Impressionism” (16 November, 2017 – 11 March, 2018) telling the story of Impressionism through the colours that painters used at different stages in their careers. The exhibition features over 60 masterpieces borrower from the renowned collection of the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, including key works by Monet, Renoir, Manet, Pissarro and Cézanne.
For kids – check out the Keppel Centre for Art Education. The Keppel Centre is where kids can let their creativeness lose – there is an art print making workshop, an interactive station where kids can make virtual ceramic pots and run wild around a room set up as a magical forest with Sandra Lee’s The Enchanted Tree House, a play area inspired by the idea of “entering a painting”. There are other virtual play areas to explore and more ‘touchy feely art’ pieces in this centre like in the Project Gallery exhibition the The Blue Who Swims All This Way by artist Betty Susiarjo where kids can hug soft sculptures and climb into giant rocks, listen to secret music coming out of shells and observe a shimmering display of colours.
Admission: Free for Singaporeans ($15 special exhibitions). Standard admission is $20/$25 for special exhibitions/$30 All access ($15 concessions)
Hours: open from 10 am to 7pm from Sunday to Thursday and on public holidays, and from 10 am to 10pm on Fridays, Saturdays, and the eves of public holidays. Admission ends 30 minutes before closing time.
Address: The National Gallery of Singapore, 1 St. Andrew’s Road, Singapore 178957
Tel: (+65) 6271 7000
A modern day ‘edutainment’ centre that showcases the past, present and future of Singapore, the Discovery Centre is a hands-on, minds-on experience ideal for older kiddos. Test your knowledge of Singapore at the Harmony Circle (kids will be quizzed, game show style) and learn traditional dance moves at the Digital Dance Studio. The centre aims to be touch-and-feel so it is perfect for inquisitive children who enjoy finding out the why behind how things are. We admit the location is not fantastic (it can be a bit tricky to get a taxi back) but its smaller size (you’ll be able to get around in an hour or two) and outdoor Water Park make for an interesting mini-adventure with the fam.
Admission: FREE admission for Singaporeans & PRs.
Standard admission from: Adults $10, Youth 3-21 $7.50, Children 3-12 years $6.
Address:510 Upper Jurong Road, Singapore 638365
Tel: (+65) 6792 6188
Hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 9am – 6pm. Closed Mondays (except during school holidays and public holidays)
How to get there: Exit at Joo Koon MRT station and make the 5-minute walk. Travelling by car or taxi will get you there more easily (Take exit 40 of the PIE or exit 20 of the AYE).
The oldest museum in Singapore (it dates back to 1887), the museum delivers history to the masses through permanent exhibitions (see if you can find the Singapore Stone!) and displays, a lecture theatre and an education and resource centre. Older kids will enjoy the multi-sensory experiences – we love the touch-screen displays, smelling pods and old film reels – as well as the interactive tours just for kids. A series of regular learning programs and travelling exhibitions support the museum’s mission to “redefine the conventional museum experience”. The museum’s central location also makes it great for a post-museum run-around at Fort Canning Park. Read our full review of all the museum’s kid friendly activities here.
Admission: Free admission for Citizens and Permanent Residents (please present pink or blue NRIC for scanning at the counter). Regardless of nationality, children aged 6 and below, as well as primary caregivers of persons with disabilities, will also enjoy free admission.
Standard: Adults $10, Students $5
Address: 93 Stamford Road, Singapore 178897
Tel: (+65) 6332 3659
Hours: Open daily from 10am. Singapore History Gallery closes at 6pm. Singapore Living Gallery closes at 8pm.
How to get there: Both Dhoby Ghaut MRT station and Bras Basah MRT station are a 5-minute walk away from the museum. Limited parking available on-site for those with cars.
Inside this beautiful old colonial building, the Asian Civilisations Museum is home to over 1,300 artifacts, presented across 11 galleries and spanning over 14,000m2 (wah – it is big so plenty to see!). The museum specializes in pan-Asian civilizations and strives to promote a better understanding of the cultures that make up Singapore’s diverse society. Excellent at providing learning opportunities for both younger and older children, the museum provides age appropriate activities, gallery-based story telling sessions and hands-on workshops, as well as a continually updated range of exhibitions. After spending a morning exploring the museum, treat yourself (oh, and the kids!) to a coffee and a cake at the on-site café (Sassy Mama Tip: sit outside to catch the river view).
Admission: Free for Singaporeans & Permanent Residents. Adults $8, Concession $4, Children (6 and below) free
Address: 1 Empress Place, Singapore 179555
Tel: (+65) 6332 7798 or 6332 3275
Hours: Monday, 1 – 7pm, Tuesday – Sunday, 9am – 7pm. Closes 9pm on Friday
How to get there: Raffles Place MRT is an 8-minute walk away. You will need to cross the river at the Cavenagh Bridge to reach the museum.
A fun and entertaining look at Singapore’s history, little ones will be kept busy exploring the life size wax exhibits and multi-media displays at the Images of Singapore museum. Designed to immerse families in our little red dot’s culture and history, kids can watch the multi-screen theatre presentations (and maybe even learn a thing or two). Bring the camera along too and get ready to take pictures amongst the wax exhibitions. The museum offers an pleasantly air-conditioned break from a day on Sentosa – just don’t tell the kids they’re being educated!
Admission: Full experience tickets include Images of Singapore LIVE, Spirit of Singapore boat ride and Madame Tussauds Singapore. Adult $29, Children (3 – 12 years) $19 when you book online!
Address: 40 Imbiah Road, Sentosa Island, Singapore 099700
Tel:(+65) 6279 3284
Hours: Open Daily, 9am – 7pm
How to get there: Take the Sentosa Express from VivoCity and alight at Imbiah Station. The nearest carpark is at the Imbiah Lookout Car Park.
An enjoyable morning out with older children, the Mint Museum of Toys houses more than 3,000 pieces of vintage toys and childhood memorabilia, and may just leave you reminiscing about your own childhood. Kids will enjoy viewing one of the largest collections of Batman and Popeye collections in South East Asia, and do make sure you head to the 4th level which is all about classic characters. It must be noted too that whilst it is a toy museum, the entire exhibition is for viewing only (no touching!), so it’s probably best to leave the youngest ones at home as the temptation to touch will be torturous!
Admission: Adults $15, Children (2 – 12 years) $7.50, Children (below 2) Free
Address:26 Seah Street, Singapore 188382
Tel: (+65) 6339 0660
Hours: Open Daily, 9:30am – 6:30pm
How to get there: A 10-minute walk from either Bras Basah MRT station, Esplanade MRT station or City Hall MRT station. The museum is near the Raffles Hotel.
A super fun one for the kids, the Trick Eye Museum is all about optical illusions and photo opportunities galore! Immerse yourself in different settings at six themed zones and recreate memorable photographs with your imagination. We love that you won’t find “do not touch”signs such as in the museum – visitors can freely touch and interact with all the displayed exhibits!
Admission: Adults $21.25, Children $17 when you book online!
Address: 26 Sentosa Gateway #01-43/44, Singapore 098138
Tel: (+65) 6795 2370 / 2371
Hours: Open Daily, 10am – 9pm
How to get there: Trick Eye Museum is located near Universal Studios and Malaysian Food Street.
At Singapore’s Philatelic Museum at Coleman Street, it’s all about hands-on learning. This sweet museum housing a mind boggling amount of stamps is actually more hands on than it sounds! The museum’s permanent collection includes four rooms that looks at the history of stamps, and how they are designed, printed, and circulated. Kids will love the Heritage Room with its wall of doors, where they can open little cubbys and windows to learn about different cultures and festivals.
Admission: Free for Singapore Citizens & PRs. Foreign visitors – Adult: $8, Child (3 to 12 years old): $6
Address: Singapore Philatelic Museum, 23-B Coleman Street, Singapore 179807,
Tel: (+65) 6337 3888
Hours: Open daily from 10 am to 7 pm (last admission at 6.30 pm).
One of the newer museums to open, Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum boasts over 2,000 natural history specimens on display with 15 different thematic zones from plants and amphibians to mammals including a sperm whale which was salvage from when it was found dead off Jurong Island in 2015. Want to see a dinosaur? The permanent exhibit sees three 80% complete diplodocid sauropod fossils to gape at as well as tonnes of other animals and birds. Upstairs is a heritage gallery which includes some of the specimens that were displayed at the old Raffles Museum. This museum is best for older kids.
Admission: Singapore Resident Rate – Adult: $16; Child: $9; Standard Rate – Adult: $21; Child: $13
Address: 2 Conservatory Drive, Singapore 117377
Hours: Open Wednesday to Sun, 10 am to 7 pm (Closed on Mon and Tuesday, except PH).
The compact yet delightful Chinatown Heritage Centre housed in beautifully-restored shophouses gives you a glimpse into the lives of the first residents of Chinatown. Take a peek into the original 1950s style interiors of its shophouse tenants to understand the humble lives these first settlers lived. A great visual history lesson for kids.
Admission: Adult $15, Child (7-12 years) $11
Address: Chinatown Heritage Centre, 48 Pagoda Street, Singapore 059207
Hours: Monday – Sunday 9am-8pm
Not officially a museum, though they are focused on creativity and art appreciation – Playeum is very much hands-on “children’s centre for creativity” at Gillman Barracks. Catering to kids ages 1-12, it’s designed to engage and encourage a range of interests through open-ended play via installations, hands-on exploration, creative interactions, workshops and a rotating slate of exhibitions. Playeum is divided into different “zones”, including a soft play area for babies and toddlers, a “dark room” for experiments with light and shadows, a hands-on workshop where kids can make their own creations with recycled materials, and much more.
Admission: 22 for kids, accompanying adults free
Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 6pm
Address: Block 47, Malan Road, Gillman Barracks, #01-21 to #01-23, Singapore 109444
Tel: (+65) 6262 0750
Situated in the heart of Kampong Glam, Malay Heritage Centre is a vital heritage institution for the Malay community in Singapore. Its exhibits, programmes and activities aim to honour the past while providing a means for present-day expression, all the while providing wonderful cultural exposure and learning opportunities for visitors of all ages and backgrounds. From batik workshops to traditional music and puppetry performances, there’s always something fun and educational on for kiddos.
Admission: Singaporean/PR: Free, Adults: $6, Students: $4, Kids under 6 free
Address: 85 Sultan Gate, Singapore 198501
Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 10am-6pm
Every year, design experts from all over the world convene to pick the very best of the best in product design, design concept, and communication design for the international Red Dot Awards, one of the largest international design awards in the world. Winners are displayed in the Red Dot Design Museum — and with over 200 design works on display there’s sure to be something to appeal to the inner aesthete in your budding inventor.
Admission: Pay as you wish but the minimum fee for non Singapore citizen is as follows: Adult (13 years old and above): S$11.80, Children (7-12 years old): S$6.40 (Kids 6 & below are free)
Address: 11 Marina Blvd, Singapore 018940
Hours: Monday to Thursday 10am – 8pm, Friday to Sunday 10am – 11pm
At the Singapore Navy Museum kids can try their hands at taking out simulated enemy targets with the weapons that the Navy possesses, navigate a ship through the busy Singapore Strait, steer a submarine underwater, or get a glimpse of what it is like to be a commanding officer of a frigate. Travel back in time and learn how the Navy began in Singapore, and what challenges the early sailors faced. BYO snacks as there’s not much close by!
Address: 112 Tanah Merah Coast Road, Inside Changi Naval Base, Singapore 498805
Hours: Admission 9am to 5pm (Monday to Friday), 9am to 3pm (Saturday)
Tracing the history of the Indian and South Asian communities in the Southeast Asian region, it’s worth a visit to the Indian Heritage Centre if only to admire the building — four storeys that blend both traditional Indian and modern architectural elements. The diversity of Indian culture is captured in the use of a translucent shimmering facade to create an impression of the Centre as a “shining jewel” in the day, and the transformation into a “glowing lantern” of the Indian community with the lighting of the colourful facade mural at night. Newly opened in 2015, the Indian Heritage Centre houses five permanent galleries, a museum shop as well as programming and activity spaces. Read about one of their most notable exhibitions here!
Admission: Singaporean/PR – Free, Standard Adult $6 Kid $4 (under 6 free)
Address: 5 Campbell Lane, Singapore 209924
Hours: Tuesdays – Thursdays: 10.00am to 7.00pm, Fridays – Saturdays: 10.00am to 8.00pm,
Sundays/Public Holidays: 10.00am to 4.00pm
Built in 1936, the Battlebox is a former WWII British underground command centre inside Fort Canning Hill in the heart of Singapore City. It was part of the headquarters of Malaya Command, the army which defended Malaya and Singapore in WWII. It was inside the Battlebox that the British made the decision to surrender Singapore to the invading Japanese on 15 February 1942. It’s a fascinating look at what happened in Singapore during WWII, but of course there are some confronting photographs. Battlebox is not suitable for kids aged 7 and below.
Admission: Adults $20, Children (8+) $10
Address: 2 Cox Terrace, Singapore 179622
Hours: Daily, 9:30am – 5:30pm
The highlight here is the three player multimedia simulator game – fly a plane, and escape enemies by executing combat manoeuvres. When you’re done, touch a heat-seeking missile, check out the interior of a fighter jet, and join an interactive game where you’re the ground crew and help to land the planes. There is a fascinating range of planes on display in the outdoor gallery and plenty of interactive displays inside, along with uniforms, badges, 3D models, cockpit displays and a short film about current RSAF personnel.
Address: 400 Airport Road, Singapore 534234
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 8:30am – 5pm
Though we wouldn’t recommend it for small children (some of those statues are scary!), open air Haw Par Villa has got to be among the most unique tourist attractions in the world, let alone Singapore! Built in 1937 by the Tiger Balm founders as a kind of religious theme park, Haw Par Villa’s more than 1,000 vivid statues and tableaux are at turns terrifying, enchanting, and hilarious. It’s well worth a stroll, and admission is FREE!
Address: 262 Pasir Panjang Road, Singapore 118628
Hours: Daily, 9am – 7pm
NOTE: Haw Par Villa is currently closed for renovations but will reopen on 1 March 2019.
—- SAM is currently closed for redevelopment.—-
Best for older children, the Singapore Art Museum houses one of the largest collections of contemporary South East Asian art in the region. In light of space restrictions (a common problem in Singapore) less than 5% of the collection can be on display at any one time, which means you’re bound to see something different each time you go (yay for variety!).
Admission: Free admission is provided to Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents (PRs). Adults $6, Students $3, Children (6 years and below) free. Free admission every Friday from 6 – 9 pm and on open house days.
Address: The main building of the Singapore Art Museum (located along 71 Bras Basah Road) is currently closed to prepare for its next phase of development. Museum exhibitions and programmes continue to take place at SAM at 8Q, the annexe building located at 8 Queen Street, Singapore 188535
Tel: (+65) 6332 3222
Hours: Monday – Sunday, 10am – 7pm (Last admission to the museum is at 6.15pm). Fridays open until 9pm (Last admission to the museum is at 8.15pm)
How to get there: Exit at Bras Basah MRT Station and walk 2 minutes to the museum.
Lead image sourced via World for Travel