There’s always something on in Singapore! Bookmark this page to see our top picks for kid-friendly museum exhibitions in 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 exhibitions 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 (and COVID restrictions continue to evolve).
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!
*COVID-19 Advisory: We’ve moved into Phase 2 and most museums have opened to visitors! Do check the opening hours and booking requirements for each museum before you head down, just to be sure.
Asian Civilisations Museum
Gardens by the Bay
Indian Heritage Centre
Malay Heritage Centre
Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre
National Gallery Singapore
National Library Building
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.
What’s On: *The Artground is temporarily closed due to COVID-19.
Since TAG is still closed due to the pandemic, they’ve created a platform to provide a variety of creative and fun activity ideas so kids can stay arty and crafty at home. #HomewithTAG is a contribution of ideas from wonderful local artists, showcasing activities such as puppet-making, exploring dance and movement,
How much: FREE! Donations are welcome so that The Artground can continue to support our community of local artists.
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.
*COVID Measures: Due to limits to venue capacity and timed entry to exhibitions, guests are encouraged to pre-purchase their tickets online prior to their visit. Guests are limited to 5 tickets per purchase.
Read More: Check out our full review on the wonders of permanent exhibition FutureWorld here
2219: Futures Imagined (ongoing)
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.
Planet or Plastic? – a photography exhibition by National Geographic (12 September 2020 – 28 March 2021)
If you’re looking to educate the little ones on living a greener, plastic-free lifestyle, taking them to see National Geographic’s Planet or Plastic? photography exhibition will be a good start. The exhibition shines a spotlight on the fragility of the natural environment as a result of the global plastic waste crisis. Featuring 70 powerful images from photographers around the world, Planet or Plastic? tells the story behind plastic from its invention just over a century ago to its mass consumption today. The exhibition helps to raise awareness of society’s dependence on plastic by visually depicting the global plastic waste crisis and amplifying the voices of the innovative communities who are working on solutions to this urgent problem.
Planet or Plastic? provides actionable steps visitors can take in their lives to responsibly reduce, reuse, recycle, and refuse products with single-use plastic. At the culmination of the exhibition, visitors are encouraged to make a pledge to reduce their own consumption of single-use plastic.
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.
*COVID Measures: Click here for safe distancing measures the museum is taking; note that groups are limited to 5 visitors at a time.
Check out new weekly activities at Asian Civilisations Museum! From fun crafts to performances, the themes at ACM changes every month to keep things new and interesting for kiddos and adults alike.
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.
*COVID Measures: Timed entry is required for popular attractions like the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome, so it’s best to pre-book tickets to ensure a convenient visit. Currently the Supertree Observatory, Floral Fantasy, and OCBC Skyway are closed until further notice. Click here for further social distancing measures and closure updates.
Pocket Gardens Surprise! (Until 13 September 2020)
Gardens by the Bay welcomes visitors back to Flower Dome with Pocket Gardens Surprise! Explore the various nooks and crannies around Flower Dome as these changing mini garden displays are introduced throughout Flower Dome every fortnight:
A Tale of Orchids (Entrance Gallery): 3 – 30 August 2020
Out of Africa (The Baobabs): 17 August – 13 September 2020
How much: Admission charge to Flower Dome applies – Singapore Residents: $9/adult, $6/child
All visitors are required to pre-book their visit date and time before visiting Flower Dome to ensure safe distancing and better crowd regulation.
Open: 9am – 8pm daily
Gardens by the Bay, 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore 018953, www.gardensbythebay.com.sg
Newly opened in 2015, the Indian Heritage Centre houses five permanent galleries, a museum shop as well as programming and activity spaces.
*COVID Measures: The Museum is operating at 25% capacity; click here for further guidelines from the National Heritage Board.
From the Coromandel Coast to the Straits: Revisiting our Tamil Heritage (Until 30 September 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.
*COVID Measures: The Museum is operating at 25% capacity, and while all exhibits are open, no other programmes are running during Phase 2; click here for further guidelines from the National Heritage Board.
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
Discover local Chinese culture through engaging exhibitions and performances at SCCC!
*COVID Measures: Guided tours are temporarily suspended, and the museum is currently closing early at 3pm on Fridays.
SINGAPO人: Discovering Chinese Singaporean Culture (permanent exhibition)
Did you know? While the Zhongyuan Festival falls on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month, it is observed for the whole month in Singapore as it is believed that the gates of hell are opened and spirits are free to wander during this period. Learn about the Zhongyuan Festival and more, at the Centre’s SINGAPO人 exhibition which highlights Chinese Singaporean culture from food to music, as well as language and festivals. Learn how Chinese culture in Singapore has evolved in a way quite unlike other communities around the world, and come discover (and rediscover) what it means to be a ‘Chinese Singapo人’ today.
How much: Free!
2pm – 8pm (Monday)
10am – 8pm (Tuesday to Sunday)
Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre, 1 Straits Boulevard, Singapore, 018906, www.singaporeccc.org.sg
Located in the prestigious and green arts district of Gillman Barracks, Mucciaccia Gallery hosts a diverse events programme for artistic thought-provoking debates. The gallery focuses on showcasing artists that have proven to be historically important. It holds first-time solo exhibitions for international artists, as well as artists from the region. The gallery also has establishments in London and New York.
Yayoi Kusama’s Works of Art (Online in 3D)
Known for her iconic dots, nets and pumpkins, Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s art has captivated millions all over the world. Mucciaccia Gallery will be presenting a highly curated selection of her paintings and work on paper from 1951 to 1981. The exhibition includes her trademark Infinity polka dots paintings. Kusama once said, “In the universe, there is the sun, the moon, the Earth and hundreds of millions of stars.” In turn, that inspired her to portray her life as one dot amongst thousands of others. She associated the polka dots with the sun and moon, as the dots had the same shape–with the sun representing energy and the moon, tranquility. Her magnificent works on paper created between 1951 to 1981, were first brought to New York in 1958 and these were the source of her artistic ideas for over six decades. Mucciaccia Gallery New York present Yayoi Kusama in 3D cloud streaming, a virtual exhibition that will become a milestone in the world of digital technologies applied to art..
How much: Free!
Mucciaccia Gallery, Block 6 Lock Road, #02-10, Gillman Barracks, Singapore 108934, Tel: (+65) 6694 3777
The National Gallery is home to the largest public collection of Singaporean and Southeast Asian art in the region.
*COVID Measures: Click here for safe entry guidelines (which will be changing slightly from 1 September).
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
*COVID Measures: Libraries are currently open with shorter hours and additional borrowing restrictions. Click here for full guidelines.
The News Gallery: Beyond Headlines (permanent exhibition)
Read between the lines and develop information and media literacy skills at the National Library’s latest permanent exhibition, The News Gallery: Beyond Headlines. Divided into five zones, the exhibition, which features original copies of Singapore’s earliest newspapers and a fun, fake news-busting game for the whole family, encourages library patrons to consider the perspectives and influences that lie behind news stories. Drawing from the National Library Board’s rich collection of over 120 Singapore newspaper titles published since the 1820s, The News Gallery’s interactive exhibits will be refreshed from time to time. The permanent display at level 11 of the National Library Building is now open to the public.
Law of the Land: Highlights of Singapore’s Constitutional Documents (Until 18 October 2021)
Explore the history and development of Singapore’s constitution from Singapore’s founding as a British settlement in 1819 to its emergence as a sovereign republic in 1965. The exhibition features rare constitutional documents from the collections of the National Archives of Singapore and National Library, Singapore. The documents capture key moments in Singapore’s constitutional history and also throw light on milestones in the island-nation’s history.
You can then head to the children’s section of the library to discover books for kids!
How much: Admission is free for Singaporeans and PRs, but please proceed to the B1 ticketing for an admission sticker.
Saturday to Thursday: 10am to 7pm
Friday: 10am to 9pm
National Library Building, 100 Victoria St, Singapore 188064, www.nlb.gov.sg/VisitUs/NationalLibraryBuilding
Read more: The Best Libraries for Kids in Singapore
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.
*COVID Measures: Visitors are encouraged to pre-purchase tickets to avoid waiting times. Click here for further COVID guidelines from the NHB.
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 (Permanent)
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
Growing Up (Permanent)
This gallery offers insight on the experiences of growing up in Singapore during the 1950s and 1960s through familiar social spaces where children would have spent most of their time – a great way for kiddos to see what childhood was like in the past! In kampongs (Malay for “villages”), schools and popular entertainment values, children found friendships and experienced an emerging local identity. Through personal anecdotes and interactive installations, relive the gotong royong (Malay for “community”) spirit that laid the foundation of a multi-racial Singapore and girded its post-war generation as they forged their dreams and aspirations.
How much: Free admission for Singaporeans, Permanent Residents and visitors aged 6 years and below
Open: Daily from 10am – 7pm. Last admission at 6.30pm
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.
What’s On: The Museum is currently closed but tentatively scheduled to re-open on 7 October 2020.
Human-Nature (Closed until further notice)
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?
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.
*COVID Measures: Science Centre Singapore and KidsSTOP are currently operating on a 3-day schedule (Friday to Sunday), and Snow City is open five days per week from Wednesday to Sunday. The Observatory, Live Shows & Demonstrations are temporarily closed until further notice. Click here for more information on restricted hours, and note that visitors must pre-purchase tickets online.
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
Know Your Poo (Permanent)
Know Your Poo is a seriously fun exhibition that touches on the topics of human waste, toilets and sanitation. As you wind your way through the exhibition, you will discover how and why we need to poo. You also learn about the history and evolution of sanitation and toilets. The exhibition also highlights the urgent issue of the global divide. It then shows how engineering solutions might answer some of these challenges. Know Your Poo serves as a reminder that we all need to pay attention to the importance of providing good sanitation and practising good habits in order to safeguard our health and be a better society.
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: Gardens by the Bay