There’s always something on in Singapore! Bookmark this page to see our top picks for kid-friendly museum exhibitions throughout 2019 — many of them are FREE!
Looking to give your kiddos a dose of culture, mama? Singapore’s got dozens of awesome kid-friendly museums on offer — for everyone from babies on up through teens. But if you’ve been to ’em all before and are wondering which current exhibits are worth your while, look no further! We’ve rounded up the best kid-friendly museum exhibits in 2019 — that is, stuff that’s only on for a limited period of time, so you know how to prioritize and where to plan your next outing! For instance, two of our favourite kid-friendly museums will be closing for renovations come March — read on for all the deets! And check back often as we’ll be updating this post throughout the year as new information becomes available.
While you’re at it, be sure to check out our guide to the best museum + kid-friendly lunch combos so you can truly make a day of it. Stay cultured, mamas!
Read more: The Best Museums for Kids in Singapore
The Artground is an accessible space that aims to provide positive arts experiences for children 0 to 12. Part indoor playground, part interactive theatre space, on weekends it offers heaps of movement and dance workshops along with arts and craft activities.
Wild Rumpus (Until 5 May 2019)
Wild Rumpus is an invitation into an imaginary world of creatures big, small, furry or gentle, and to make friends whoever is hiding behind the corner. Embrace the world of tactile material and feel what it is like to hug, cuddle and squeeze into something out of the ordinary. Created by Singaporean artist Adeline Loo, with music by Serene Tan, Wild Rumpus is a fun, gentle and hands-on experience for children up to the age of 12. Some of our kids’ fave parts were the big and little slides, the monster-themed rope walk, tactile teepees, and enormous bouncy balls covered with soft yarn.
How much: Access into The Artground is FREE! Donations are encouraged.
Open: Wed and Thurs: 9:30am to 5pm, Fri, Sat & Sun: 9:30am to 6pm
The Artground, Goodman Arts Centre, 90 Goodman Road, Block J #01-40, Singapore 439053, www.theartground.com.sg
This perennial favourite houses the much loved Future World exhibition, but there are plenty of other exhibitions happening throughout the year to inspire creativity and wonder.
Wonderland (from 13 April to 22 September 2019)
Step through the looking glass into a curious world of whimsical adventures at ArtScience Museum’s upcoming exhibition, Wonderland, opening on 13 April. Wonderland is a playful and interactive exhibition for all ages based on Lewis Carroll’s timeless stories of Alice and her adventures through Wonderland. Follow Alice on a trip through the looking glass into an immersive, enchanted world. Using theatrical sets, bold, interactive environments, eye-catching props and amazing audiovisual artworks, Wonderland spectacularly conjures up the surprising and magical world of Alice and her adventures. A highlight of the exhibition is an immersive centerpiece where visitors are invited to join in the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Seated around a table set with empty plates and tea cups, visitors will participate in an audiovisual feast as the room transforms in real time with captivating digital projections.
Kids go free on Family Fridays and there are also regular hands-on workshops especially for kiddos! Some of our kids’ faves at Future World include the giant slide; “Town” where you can draw and animate your own vehicles; the giant illuminated “Light Ball Orchestra” (like bumper cars brought to life!); DIY Hopscotch; and the Insta-perfect crystal universe of “Space”. There’s seriously something for everyone from toddlers to 20-somethings at Future World; it’s the perfect place to while away 1-2 air-conditioned hours.
Into the Wild (From 11 Feb 2019)
ArtScience Museum’s newest permanent development Into the Wild: An Immersive Virtual Adventure is back after a successful run in 2017 (read the full post here!). It allows kids to make a difference in the real world using cutting edge technology developed by Google. Into the Wild transforms over 850 square metres of ArtScience Museum into a virtual rainforest, which you can explore using a smartphone device. Your virtual adventure becomes reality when you take an active role in replanting the rainforests of Southeast Asia. For every virtual tree planted, and accompanied with a pledge to WWF, a real tree will be planted in a rainforest in Indonesia.
Mama tip: Reserve a device before you visit the exhibition!
ArtScience Museum, Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018956, www.marinabaysands.com/museum
Housed in a beautiful old colonial building that was once Parliament, the Asian Civilisations Museum covers pan-Asian civilizations and strives to promote a better understanding of the cultures that make up Singapore’s diverse society.
Raffles in Southeast Asia – Revisiting the Statesman and Scholar (Until 28 April 2019)
Co-curated by ACM and the British Museum this fascinating exhibition questions what we really know about Sir Stamford Raffles. Rather than presenting Raffles as the mythical founding father of modern Singapore, the exhibition takes a broader look at the historical and geo-political developments in the region at that time and Raffles’ identity, not only as scholar and collector but as ruthless statesman and colonial opportunist. You can also expect to be wowed by an incredible showcase of items from Java and the Malay World including puppets, masks, instruments and even the royal regalia of Indonesian sultans.
Guo Pei: Chinese Art and Couture (15 June–15 September 2019)
Opening ACM’s Season of Chinese Art is the blockbuster exhibition Guo Pei: Chinese Art and Couture. Known perhaps most famously for the now-iconic yellow cape American celebrity Rihanna wore to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala in 2015, Guo Pei is China’s preeminent couturière, recognised for the depth of craftsmanship, Chinese historical references, and beauty in her fantastical works.
Conceived in collaboration with Guo Pei, the exhibition will display 29 of her most iconic embroidered masterworks in dialogue with 20 Chinese art masterpieces from ACM’s collection. The juxtapositions will invite visitors to consider how contemporary Chinese fashion has roots in traditional Chinese art and aesthetics. Exploring Guo Pei’s impact on everyday lives beyond the runway, many of her intricate Chinese bridal gowns – including two directly inspired by artworks in the Singapore National Collection – will also be displayed for the first time.
This FREE family-friendly programme takes place the last Saturday of every month, giving parents and kids a full afternoon to explore Asian art and folklore through special storytelling sessions, hands-on workshops, and interactive performances:
Case of Curiosities (Saturday 30 March 2019) 1pm to 5pm
Curious? Come along on Saturday as we present a supersized version of [email protected]. We incorporate two festivals – Singapore HeritageFest and ACM’s Asian Culture & Music series. Catch puppet performances, play old-school games, and paint your own miniature Raffles gnomes. Hungry? Wander through Singapore’s first fruit food market and enjoy a cup of bubble tea.
Wanderland (29-31 March 2019)
Friday 29 March 7pm – 9pm, Saturday 30 March 1pm – 9pm, Sunday 31 March 1pm – 5pm
Wander and wonder through ACM’s first fruit market, and enjoy a cup of bubble tea! Participate in a puppet performance, watch fusion music performed right in the galleries, or decorate your own kite for a community art installation. Create your own wanderland – one weekend only. Don’t sleep!
Mama tip: After exploring the museum, treat the fam to coffee and cake at the on-site café – sit outside to catch the river view!
How much: Special Exhibitions – Singaporean/PR: $12, Adults: $20, Students: $15, Family of 5: $60, Child (6 & below): Free
Open: Saturday to Thursday 10am – 7pm, Fridays 10am – 9pm
Asian Civilisations Museum, 1 Empress Place, Singapore 179555, www.acm.org.sg
Chetti Melaka exhibition at Indian Heritage Centre
Newly opened in 2015, the Indian Heritage Centre houses five permanent galleries, a museum shop as well as programming and activity spaces.
Chetti Melaka of the Straits: Rediscovering Peranakan Indian Communities (Until 5 May 2019)
This exhibition takes us through the culture, history and legacy of the Chetti Melaka, a community of descendants of Tamil traders who first settled in Melaka ￼￼during the reign of the Melaka Sultanate in the 15th to 16th centuries, some 500 years ago (before even the Portuguese or the British!). Kids will love the colourful costume displays, beautiful artefacts and interactive displays. Click here to read our full review of this exhibit!
Mama tip: Check out the Little India Heritage Trail while you’re in the neighbourhood.
How much: Singaporean/PR – Free, Standard Adult $6 Kid $4 (under 6 free).
Open: Tuesdays – Thursdays: 10am to 7pm; Fridays – Saturdays: 10am to 8pm; Sundays/Public Holidays*: 10am to 4pm.
Indian Heritage Centre, 5 Campbell Lane, Singapore 209924, www.indianheritage.org.sg
From its location in the heart of Kampong Glam, the Malay Heritage Centre provides a range of cultural exposure and learning opportunities for visitors of all ages and backgrounds. From batik workshops to traditional music and puppetry performances, there’s plenty of hands-on fun for kiddos.
Pilgrims’ Stories from the Malay World to Makkah (Until 23 June 2019)
This exhibition delves into the significance of Kampong Glam as an important port town where Muslims from all over the Malay Archipelago would congregate to prepare for the onward steamship passage to Makkah in the late 19th century into the early 1970s. Undangan ke Baitullah adds a Southeast Asian perspective to this annual global movement of Muslims, which for many pilgrims, would be a once-in-a-lifetime journey of faith. Kiddos can create their own tali pinggang haji (haj belt) and see the actual artefact for themselves. Besides learning about the accessory, students can also find out more about other artefacts such as the ihram (a white robe) worn by male pilgrims and how Kampong Glam played a significant role for pilgrimages back in the day. To reserve a self-guided craft activity sheet, email [email protected].
How much: Singaporean/PR: Free; Adults: $6, Students: $4, Kids under 6: Free
Open: Tuesday – Sunday 10am-6pm
Malay Heritage Centre, 85 Sultan Gate, Singapore 198501, www.malayheritage.org.sg
The National Gallery is home to the largest public collection of Singaporean and Southeast Asian art in the region.
Kids: Check out the FREE Keppel Centre for Art Education. The Keppel Centre is where kids can let their creativity run loose – there is a Children’s Museum Workshop for art printmaking, along with Project Gallery room featuring “The Blue Who Swims All This Way” by artist Betty Susiarjo where kids can hug soft sculptures, climb into giant rocks, and listen to secret music coming out of shells. There’s also an Art Corridor for magnatiles and pattern fun, a Rainbow room where little tykes can bash kitchen utensils as well as an Art Playscape “Wandering in Black and White” to inspire kids to explore shapes, sounds, shadows and optical illusions. Click here to see upcoming workshops.
Mama tip: The Keppel Centre will be temporarily closed from 8 Apr–24 May 2019 so plan your visit around those dates.
Sensorial Trail (Until 31 March 2019)
Don’t miss this series of intimate encounters with smell, sound and touch across seven sites in the Gallery. Discover the unique smell of Singapore’s youth in a work by renowned scent artist Sissel Tolaas; visualise your own compositions in a sound installation by Andy Chia; and see the relationship between the body and voice redefined in a performance piece by Tal Isaac Hadad. The Sensorial Trail is part of Light to Night Festival 2019: Traces and Echoes.
Minimalism: Space. Light. Object. (Until 14 April 2019)
This striking exhibition looks at the emergence, development and legacies of Minimalism from the 1950s to the present day. It considers how artists around the world have explored ideas of presence and absence, often informed by Asian philosophies such as Zen Buddhism. The exhibition features major works by over 60 artists, including Donald Judd, Mark Rothko, Mona Hatoum, Anish Kapoor, Ai Weiwei, Olafur Eliasson and Haegue Yang. This exhibition is organised by National Gallery Singapore in collaboration with ArtScience Museum, Singapore. Complete your experience at ArtScience Museum by purchasing a two-venue ticket at this link.
How much: Keppel Centre for Art Education is free for all. For other exhibits: Free for Singaporeans ($15 special exhibitions). Standard admission is $20/$25 for special exhibitions/$30 All access ($15 concessions).
Open: Saturday to Thursday 10am – 7pm, Fridays 10am – 9pm
National Gallery, Singapore, 1 St. Andrew’s Road, Singapore 178957, www.nationalgallery.sg
This architectural delight is the oldest museum in Singapore (it dates back to 1887). It delivers Singapore’s history through a massive permanent exhibition that even older kids will enjoy walking around.
There is plenty to keep kids aged 5+ engaged. The Singapore History Gallery chronicles Singapore’s journey from 700 years ago; kids can walk past the wooden ship, tinker with old fashioned phones, and marvel at the tank. Older kids will enjoy the multi-sensory experiences like the touch-screen displays, and smelling pods. The museum’s central location also makes it great for a post-museum run-around at Fort Canning Park and Food for Thought cafe on site offers affordable kids’ meals.
In an Instant Polaroid (Through 31 March 2019)
Admission Charges apply. A small exhibition of Edwin Land’s quest for instant photography and his invention of the Polaroid. This exhibition may not hold kids’ attention (perhaps only photography-keen teens). The Polaroid Cinema: The Fishbowl Experiment is a short film that is very fun (only visible using polaroid glasses)!
An interactive digital art installation where drawings have been transformed into animated illustrations that even young tykes will enjoy
How much: Singaporeans/PR: Free (special exhibitions $12.50); Kids 6 & under: Free; Adults: $15 (special exhibitions $18), Students: $10 (special exhibitions $14)
Open: Daily, 10am – 7pm
National Museum of Singapore, 93 Stamford Road, Singapore 178897, www.nationalmuseum.sg
This colourful museum near Fort Canning Park offers a brilliant look at the unique customs and culture of Peranakans on the Malay Peninsula.
NB: The Peranakan Museum will close on 1 April 2019 for renovations, and is scheduled to re-open in mid-2021. Mark your calendar for the Armenian Street Block Party (part of the Singapore Heritage Festival) on 15-16 March 2019.
The museum’s 10 permanent galleries cover topics like language, weddings, beadwork & embroidery, and food & feasting. From dress-up kebayas to photo booths, there are lots of colourful, engaging elements to keep kiddos interested.
Amek Gambar (Until 24 March 2019)
Peranakans were among the first subjects in Asia captured by photographers arriving from Europe in the mid-19th Century; Amek Gambar (“taking pictures”) presents early photographs of the community, from a collection of more than 2,500 photos donated to the museum. These images, depicting subjects in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Myanmar, capture the range of clothes, cities, and rituals observed by Peranakans in the 19th century, and provide a fascinating time capsule of life in Southeast Asia at that time.
How much: Singaporean/PR Adults: $5; Seniors, Students, NSF and Children under 6: Free; Foreign residents and tourists: $13; Foreign students and seniors: $9.
Open: Sunday to Thursday, 10am to 7pm; Fridays: 10am to 9pm.
The Peranakan Museum, 39 Armenian Street, Singapore 179941, www.peranakanmuseum.org.sg
With over 200 design works on display there’s sure to be something to appeal to the inner aesthete or your budding inventor at this quirky and creative home to the world-famous Red Dot Design Awards.
Human-Nature (Until 30 September 2019)
This is an exhibition of good design, which questions the nature of being human in a world where we have achieved enhanced abilities through technology and algorithms, and where humans coexist with robots, machine learning and big data.
The exhibition begins with the question: do robots have souls? If in parts of the world humans believe inanimate objects should be considered to be just as alive as the animate, can robots be accepted as companions? Members of society rather than mere tools or threats?
How much: Pay as you wish but the minimum fee for non-Singapore citizen is as follows:
Adult (13 years old and above): $11.80; Children (7-12 years old): $6.40; Kids 6 & below are free.
Open: Monday to Thursday 10am – 8pm, Friday to Sunday 10am – 11pm
Red Dot Design Museum, 11 Marina Blvd, Singapore 018940, www.museum.red-dot.sg
With interactive, hands-on exhibits that are perfect for both younger and older children 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.
The Inventions of Ancient Greece : Origins of Our Modern Technology (Until 17 March 2019)
Did you know the ancient Greeks invented vending machines and automatic doors?! Don’t believe us? Find out more at this amazing exhibition brought to Singapore by the Kotsanas Museum of Ancient Greek Technology.
How much: Singaporean/PR – Adult $6, Child $4, Standard – Adult $12, Child $8,
Exhibition: Additional $9 per person, children under 3 free
Open: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am – 6pm
Science Centre Singapore, National University of Singapore, 2 Conservatory Drive, Singapore 117377, www.science.edu.sg
This sweet museum is all about hands-on learning and looks at the history of stamps and how they are designed, printed, and circulated. Kids love the Heritage Room with its wall of doors, where they can open little cubbies and windows to learn about different cultures and festivals.
NB: The Philatelic Museum is going to close for renovations on 18 March 2019, through it’ll continue to engage kiddos through travelling exhibitions and educational programmes at preschools, primary and secondary schools, as well as organising signature events like the “Draw My Stamp” Story Art Competition. It’s expected to re-open at the end of 2020. Catch it while you can, mama!
The Little Prince – Behind the Story (Until 17 March 2019)
Based on the beloved book The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, this exhibition celebrates the 75th anniversary of the publication. Discover how the well-loved story came about and the unusual man behind its creation, and meet the unforgettable characters from The Little Prince. On display are stamps and philatelic materials, personal belongings, illustrations, books, as well as sculptures by Bangkok-based French artist Arnaud Nazare-Aga. The Little Prince In The Dark Collection will be closed on selected days for programmes. Please check the website before you visit or call the museum at (+65) 6337 3888.
How much: Singaporeans/PR – Free, Adults $8, Kids $6.
Open: Daily from 10am – 7pm
Singapore Philatelic Museum, 23-B Coleman Street, Singapore 179807, www.spm.org.sg
This museum showcases Singapore’s sporting history, from the first Grand Prix in 1966 to Joseph Schooling’s achievements at the 2016 Olympics. There’s also a Children’s Activity Corner with free, fun sport-themed craft activities.
Putt Power! Fun Miniature Golf at the Singapore Sports Hub (Until 30 June 2019)
The miniature golf created for this exhibition was inspired by the seven venues of the Singapore Sports Hub and showcases the essence of what each venue entails. It’s a great way to introduce your kids to miniature golf, while learning more about Singapore’s sporting history.
How much: Singaporean/PR: Free, General: Adult $10, Kids $5
Open: Monday to Friday 10am – 8pm, weekends and public holidays 10am – 9pm
Singapore Sports Museum, 6 Stadium Walk, Singapore 397698, www.sportshub.com.sg/museum
The Substation’s art programmes and initiatives address an overarching theme, exploring questions around societal issues in hopes of opening up cultural conversations in Singapore.
Everything You Know Goes Away (16 March–7 April 2019)
Travel back in time to the good ol’ days—of poor sanitation and no recycling; of hunting exotic, wild animals; of terrifically fun and deadly amusement parks. A snapshot of the past and a peephole into the future, Everything You Know Goes Away is a nostalgic playground with a twist.Drop by the exhibition on the school holiday weekends (16, 17, 23 and 24 March) at 2pm and 3pm for the wondrous tales of Bedah’s Fantastical Travel’s with Epok-Epok! The free storytelling sessions are a very special playground commission by Suhaili Safari.
For more information, or to sign up for the workshops and performances, visit tinyurl.com/thevanishingsubstation.
How much: Free
Open: Tuesday to Friday 2pm – 7pm; Weekends 12pm – 8pm
The Substation, 45 Armenian Street, Singapore 179936, www.substation.org
Lead image credit: Alice in Wonderland, ArtScience by Phoebe Powel