Kid-friendly guide to the vegetable gardens and play areas of Hort Park
Despite the fact that HortPark is literally a stone’s throw from where we live, it took us an absolute age to get around to visiting it, and once we did, we were hooked! HortPark is part of the Southern Ridges, which also include family faves like Mount Faber Park and Labrador Nature Reserve. HortPark’s unique point though, is that it is a “One Stop Gardening Hub”. What does this mean? Well, it basically has more of the feel of a well-maintained garden, with grassy lawns and flower beds, than a traditional park, but don’t worry, there are no “Keep off the grass” signs here – you and the little ones can roam free!
Once you’re inside HortPark’s entrance (there’s a nice big parking lot outside if you’re driving), you’ll go up some steps that feel a bit like the entrance to a five-star hotel, bringing you to a courtyard with some water features and surrounded by buildings including the spectacular HortCentre, looking over HortLawn. If you’ve brought a picnic, this is definitely the place to tuck in! There’s even some shade to enjoy.
It’s very pleasant to stroll along the pathways, past the Balinese Garden and various other themed garden spaces, until you come to the playground area. And boy, this is super-fun for little ones! There are lots of little play houses and structures, all accompanied by statues of Singa the Lion. Our daughter has a great time clambering around, exploring and checking out the gardening-themed installations. When we finally tear her away, we meander on past a large pond, another big, gorgeous lawn, and a community allotment area where we can watch real-live gardening happening right before our eyes!
The amazing thing to us (still relatively recently arrived from the craziness of over-crowded Hong Kong) is just how peaceful and empty the whole place is, at mid-morning on a weekend. It might not be the most thrilling Park for older kiddos, but for under-fives, it’s pretty perfect as they can scoot, run and play to their heart’s content. Some of the individual gardens are a little unfinished (despite it having been open since 2008) and some are sponsored by corporations who haven’t exactly stretched their imaginations very far, so you’ll find yourselves walking by those particular exhibits fairly quickly. We were also a bit disappointed to find the Butterfly House closed for no discernible reason.
What if you’re in need of a little refreshment? Well, apart from the vending machines sprinkled around, there’s also French resto Vineyard which is open for weekend brunch and looks well worth a try. We haven’t eaten there yet, but checked out the menu and it looked pretty fab, as well as there being a bouncy castle in its garden!
Sassy Mama Tip: On the first Saturday of each month, HortPark Visitor Centre distributes free plant cuttings to interested visitors, so if you’ve got a green thumb head down early to bag the best!
Hort Park, 33 Hyderabad Road, Singapore 119578
Tel: (+65) 6471 5601
Opening Hours: 6am until 10pm daily
How to get there: Take bus 61, 93, 97, 100, 166, 408 or 963 from HarbourtFront MRT or bus 51, 61, 93, 100, 166 or 963 from Labrador Park Station.
Psssst… Looking for more parks to check out? Take a look at our Best Parks and Playgrounds in Singapore article – there’s so much to do!