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! 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
Asian Civilisations Museum
Fort Canning Centre
Indian Heritage Centre
Malay Heritage Centre
National Gallery Singapore
National Heritage Board
National Museum of Singapore
Red Dot Design Museum
Science Centre 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.
Happy Homebodies (23 May – 15 September 2019)
Happy Homebodies, by Singaporean mama Gracie Chai, is an interactive arts play space that features creativity in the simplicity of everyday life. Make new discoveries about common objects at home which are beautifully transformed into an uncommon experience. Crawl through a washing machine, slide down a bed and jump into a laundry basket. The magic of this exploration is that it shows children new ways of looking at ordinary objects around us. From a simple dot to the intricate lines that characterise the different parts and objects in a house, journey through the little spaces which open up new possibilities for imagination and innovation!
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 (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.
Floating Utopias (25 May to 29 September 2019)
Ever since the first hot-air balloon ascended into the skies in the 18th century, inflatable objects have inspired the public’s imagination, generating utopian dreams of castles in the sky, floating laboratories, and cloud cities. Floating Utopias is a playful and poetic exhibition that explores the social history of inflatable objects, showing how they have been used in art, architecture and social activism over the decades.
Visitors can expect a dazzling visual experience, with over 40 artworks by more than 15 international and local artists. The impressive impact of inflatable objects will be conveyed through eight large-scale air-filled sculptures which will be suspended in the galleries, creating a series of dramatic spectacles along the route of the show.
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.
Read More: Check out our full review on the wonders of permanent exhibition FutureWorld here
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 civilisations and strives to promote a better understanding of the cultures that make up Singapore’s diverse society.
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 displays 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.
Kids receive a fun Guo Pei booklet with stickers and craft activities, encouraging them to think about colour and design. A must for budding designers and artists!
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:
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
Originally constructed in 1926 as a British army barracks, this stately building was used by the Singapore Armed forces before being converted into squash courts and offices in the 1970s. It has now been repurposed especially to house The Bicentennial Experience.
From Singapore to Singaporean: The Bicentennial Experience (1 June – 15 September 2019)
Set in the historic Fort Canning Park, From Singapore to Singaporean: The Bicentennial Experience comprises two showcases – ‘Time Traveller’ and ‘Pathfinder’. ‘Time Traveller’ is an immersive, cinematic experience within the Fort Canning Centre, taking visitors through five powerful acts that present Singapore’s story over 700 years in 60 minutes. Viewers of the indoor multimedia show can expect to witness the sights, sounds and drama of the formative events throughout our evolution. These will be told through interactive elements including live action actors, theatre-standard set designs, and special effects. Visitors will be able to enter the experience at regular intervals throughout the day.
Outdoors within the greenery of Fort Gate, ‘Pathfinder’ is a free-and-easy experience where visitors can walk through eight interactive pavilions and installations, taking in reflections of Singapore’s journey from past to present.
How much: Free! Book online to reserve your tickets though.
Open: Time Traveller – Mondays 8:30am to 530pm, Tuesdays to Sundays 8:30am to 10pm, Pathfinder – 8:30am to 10:30pm daily.
Fort Canning Centre, 5 Cox Terrace, Singapore 179620, www.bicentennial.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.
Indians in Singapore – Past & Present (Permanent exhibition)
The galleries present, through artefact and interactive displays, the history of interactions between South and Southeast Asia. The exhibition depicts the experiences of the Indian community in both Singapore and Malaya during the colonial period, and highlights the contributions of the Indian and South Asian communities to Singapore’s nation-building efforts.
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.
There are six permanent galleries spread over the two levels of the Malay Heritage Centre, showcasing stories and artefacts from both Singapore’s national collection as well as contributions from the community. The artefacts support The Malay Heritage Centre’s focus on Kampong Gelam’s historical significance as a thriving port town prior to Raffles’ arrival in 1819 and serve as evidence of the increasingly urban and cosmopolitan nature of Singapore Malay society.
The first Istana Kampong Gelam was a traditional timber structure built on stilts, and in honour of the Istana’s original layout, visitors will commence their tour of the permanent galleries from the upper level and end their visit on the ground level. In the traditional layout, the upper level is called the panggung which serves as the main living and sleeping quarters of the house, while the kolong at the ground level is typically used as storage, work or service areas, and even as a children’s play area.
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.
Gallery Children’s Biennale 2019 (25 May – 29 December 2019)
The second edition of Gallery Children’s Biennale 2019 invites you to experience a new dimension of creativity and open yourself up to wondrous surprises. Across seven months, embrace a fantastic, magical world through 11 imaginative artwork installations. Have fun composing your own tunes, braiding giant tresses, wandering beneath massive lanterns, popping into a dome, and more.
How much: Admission is free for Singaporeans and PRs. Standard admission is $20, children aged 7-12 are $15. Children 6 and under are free.
Open: 10am – 7pm daily
City Hall: If Walls Could Talk (1 September 2019 – 29 August 2021)
In conjunction with the Singapore Bicentennial commemoration in 2019, National Gallery Singapore presents City Hall: If Walls Could Talk. Through an immersive multimedia experience, the exhibition tells the lesser-known stories of pivotal moments that occurred within the walls of this grand dame across its history, such as the swearing-in of the nation’s first President and the unveiling of the national flag and anthem in 1959. Held in the heart of the building at City Hall Chamber, visitors will get a front row seat in witnessing these defining events, which come alive through the innovative use of augmented interactive content paired with rich storytelling.
How much: Admission is free for Singaporeans and PRs. Standard admission is $20, children aged 7-12 are $15. Children 6 and under are free.
Open: 10am – 7pm daily
National Gallery, Singapore, 1 St. Andrew’s Road, Singapore 178957, www.nationalgallery.sg
The National Heritage Board (NHB) undertakes to safeguard and promote the heritage of Singapore’s diverse communities.
Singapore Night Festival (23 – 31 August 2019)
Reimagine the night at Singapore Night Festival 2019 as the Bras Basah.Bugis district transforms into an ethereal wonderland. Look forward to an exciting line-up of arts, heritage and cultural experiences brought together by partners and stakeholders in the district! Don’t miss watching the National Museum come to life as three mysterious characters awaken from there slumber to embark on an adventure. This stunning light show is produced by Spectaculaires, and is definitely one that’s worth pushing out bedtime for – it starts at 7:30pm.
How Much: Mostly free but some ticketed events
Open: Various timings
Various locations around Bras Basah.Bugis district, click here for details
Uncles Love Monuments: A Travelling Exhibition (4 June – 30 December 2019)
Armed with a sketchbook, pens and brushes, some uncles have been busy bringing new life and perspectives to a selection of National Monuments. They sometimes take work home too, relying on photographs and memory to complete an accurate sketch of the monument. For the first time, these artworks by sketchers Mr Francis Theo, Mr Steven Seow and Mr Tony Chua will be publicly displayed in libraries around Singapore.
Sketches of 18 National Monuments will be shown at the travelling exhibition, and the monuments include the Sri Mariamman Temple and Former Telok Ayer Market, which were among the first few National Monuments gazetted in 1973; well-known monuments including the Former Fullerton Building and Sultan Mosque; and some possibly lesser-known monuments such as Prinsep Street Presbyterian Church and St George’s Church.
How Much: Free!
Open: 10am – 9pm
Selected libraries around Singapore, click here for details.
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.
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
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.
DinoQuest (1 June – 31 August 2019)
Are you ready to realise your childhood dreams of discovering dinosaurs? Travel back millions of years to the Cretaceous period and join paleontologist Professor V and her assistant Rex on an immersive adventure to uncover the mystery behind the elusive Australian polar dinosaurs. Discover how different fields of science work together in a real-life dinosaur expedition. Also find out more about the science of paleontology and the process of fossilisation.
Curated by world-renowned paleontologist Emerita Professor Patricia Vickers-Rich, DinoQuest spans across seven thematic zones that promise a multi-sensory experience like no other. An ambitious gamification creation that blends the latest multimedia technology, from holographic mapping to augmented and virtual reality environments, with dramatic fossil displays and ancient backdrops, be transported into a world long extinct. Embark on the quest to find out if you have what it takes to be a Dinosaur Detective!
How much: Adult $18, Child $15, Family $52
Open: Daily, 10am – 6pm
The Science Centre’s newest permanent exhibition, Future Makers, celebrates the valuable contribution that engineers have made to shape our lives. It explores day-to-day innovations as well as complex engineering marvels that have shaped and changed lives. Aimed at young adults, guests visiting Future Makers can catch a glimpse of the modern engineering world, get hands-on with the interactive exhibits and problem-solve their way through an escape room.
How much: Adult $18, Child $15, Family $52 (Multiple exhibition combo tickets available)
Open: Daily, 10am – 6pm
Welcome to Professor Crackitt’s laboratory – a life-size labyrinth of mirrors, filled with infinite reflections and endless hallways. Help Professor Crackitt to find his pet parrot – Wattnot – who has gotten lost in the vast laboratory. Will you be able find your way through the identical corridors that seem to loop back confusingly on themselves? As you stop to re-orientate yourself on your journey, be sure to check out the Professor’s numerous whimsical inventions. Just be careful not to run into yourself on your way out!
How much: Singaporean/PR – Adult $6, Child $4, Standard – Adult $12, Child $8
Open: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am – 6pm
Science Centre Singapore, National University of Singapore, 2 Conservatory Drive, Singapore 117377, www.science.edu.sg
Lead image credit: National Museum of Singapore