There’s always something on in Singapore! Bookmark this page to see our top picks for kid-friendly museum exhibitions throughout 2020 — 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 2020 — 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
Gardens by the Bay
Indian Heritage Centre
Malay Heritage Centre
National Gallery Singapore
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.
The Curious Sky: Galaxy Edition (29 January – 22 March 2020)
Curiosity has invaded outer space! Created by artist Fongyee, The Artground is bringing you a new iteration of The Curious Sky! From mission control stations to an overhanging view of the entire universe, come through our wormhole tunnel and see where that takes you!
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 (closed from 13-28 January 2020)
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.
Disney: Magic of Animation (26 October 2019 – 29 March 2020)
Experience over 90 magical years of Disney animation – from Steamboat Willie (1928) (the first Disney cartoon with a synchronised soundtrack) through to blockbusters such as Frozen (2013), Zootopia (2016) and Moana (2016), this exhibition pays homage to the artistry of the animation industry that has brought Disney’s beloved characters to life. Check out over 500 art pieces, including original drawings, paintings, sketches and concept art curated by the Walt Disney Animation Research Library. Elsa and Anna fans will be thrilled to know that the exhibition features original artworks from the highly-anticipated film, Frozen 2!
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
2219: Futures Imagined (23 November 2019 – 5 April 2020)
Peer into the future and explore how our world might change over the next 200 years in a major exhibition developed by ArtScience Museum. This immersive and experiential exhibition is a journey into imaginary future worlds, featuring over two dozen artists, architects, filmmakers, writers and theatre companies from Singapore and around the world. Unfolding over five Acts (echoing the structure of the Bicentennial Exhibition!), 2219: Futures Imagined places visitors in scenarios that explore how our future lives may be impacted by climate change and loss of the planet’s biodiversity. The show provides a space for visitors to consider the global context that Singapore is part of, and how larger environmental forces will impact our home.
Into the Wild (ongoing)
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.
INKredible Weekend Festival (28 February – 1 March 2020)
Celebrate the Season of Chinese Art at ACM with a super-sized cultural bonanza! Catch an interactive performance on the Eight Immortals, or the fascinating tai chi quan, a traditional martial art form. Make your own paper using coloured pulp, or join in guided tours of the Living with Ink exhibition. Come evening, the Asian Culture Music Series presents “Chinese Whispers”, bringing to life stories, classic poetry, and art of well-loved myths and legends by expert tellers of tales.
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
Everyone’s favourite futuristic garden (and an excellent place to escape the heat!), this is always on the itinerary when visitors are in town.
Tree (14 November 2019 – 16 February 2020)
Tree allows visitors to “be” a rainforest tree through the use of virtual reality. Feel what it is like growing from a seedling to a full-fledged tree, then meeting a fate determined by the callous acts of mankind. This unique empathetic experience, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2017, is in Singapore for the first time. Cloud Forest’s Crystal Mountain will house two booths where you can experience Tree.
How much: Tickets are $5 plus admission to Cloud Forest applies (Adults from $20/Kids from $12)
Open: 9am – 9pm daily
#futuretogether (16 January – 15 March 2020)
Experience the interactive art that teamLab is renowned for (they’re responsible for the Future World exhibition at ArtScience)! Take a peek into the #futuretogether – an immersive art exhibition in support of the Singapore Bicentennial. Touch the colourful ovoids floating on Dragonfly Lake to trigger a tapestry of colour and sound, digitally add your well wishes for Singapore to a virtual “tree” of messages, and watch as flowers bloom and scatter across the Gardens’ iconic lattice structure according to the movement of people. The outdoor exhibits will be free and open from 15 December 2019, indoor exhibits available from 16 January.
How much: $10, free for Singaporeans, PR and residents (including EP, WP & DP holders) but tickets are required. Additional charges for En Tea House: $7/$3 residents.
Open: 9am – 9pm daily
Newly opened in 2015, the Indian Heritage Centre houses five permanent galleries, a museum shop as well as programming and activity spaces.
From the Coromandel Coast to the Straits: Revisiting our Tamil Heritage (23 Nov 2019 – 30 June 2020)
The exhibition will explore ancient trade, religious, political, and cultural contact between the Tamils of the Coromandel Coast and Southeast Asia from the early years of the Common Era. Tracing a two-way flow of culture, this will be IHC’s fourth special exhibition. The exhibition will highlight the history of 19th century Tamils in Singapore, their history, culture and contributions.
How much: Free
Open: Tuesdays – Thursdays: 10am to 7pm; Fridays – Saturdays: 10am to 8pm; Sundays/Public Holidays*: 10am to 4pm.
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.
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
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 Old New World (21 September 2019 – 29 March 2020)
An Old New World explores the colonial interests and the local perspective of events that took place in the 200 years leading up to the establishment of the British East India Company trading settlement in Singapore, in 1819. Visitors will begin their journey by being transported back in time to experience a multimedia show titled “Meeting of the Worlds”, which dramatises the arrival of the first fleet of the English and Dutch East India Companies in Aceh in the 17th century. Keep an eye out for storytelling sessions, craft and spice workshops, and as a marketplace inspired by the Banten Market of the 17th century.
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 2020)
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 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