Saturday, August 31, 2019

Outdoor Fun at Admiralty Park, Singapore

Saturday mornings in my household has been designated as mother-daughters time for a while now. It is a solid 4 to 5 hours of me and the girls spending time with each other. The man of the house, who is a night owl and prefers to sleep at unearthly hours on the weekend does not figure in our plans 😂 

How it usually goes is that after dragging ourselves out of bed and getting freshened up, me and the girls run some errands. We first go to the ATM, then to the vegetable market and lastly, to the grocery store. We get home, have a simple breakfast of cheese omelette, fruits and juice and then head out somewhere close by to make the most of the weekend. It is usually to one of the outdoor parks in our neighbourhood, an indoor play area located a short distance away, to one of the three waterparks housed in nearby malls or else, one of my twins favourites, Admiralty Park. 

I do look forward to these Saturday mornings partly because I'm temporarily relieved of the unceasing working-mom guilt by spending quality time with the girls but also because it is a fun endeavour for all three of us and is an opportunity to forge precious memories. They tell me so many interesting things, share funny stories and express their views on topics ranging from fashion to future careers 😆 These little details are often lost during the weekly routine of rushed mornings, dinnertime conversations and bedtime rituals.  

Admiralty Park

Located in Woodlands, Admiralty Park is the largest park in the north of Singapore. The 27 hectare park is situated on hilly terrain with Sungei Cina river running through it, and houses the largest nature area within an urban park.  

Much of the park is mangrove swamp. Three boardwalks cut through the mangrove, providing places for observing and appreciating the flora and fauna with minimal disturbance of the habitat. The park works closely with neighbouring Republic Polytechnic, which is also the adopter of the park under the adopt-a-park scheme. 

I first heard of this park from my friend who works in Republic Polytechnic. The park is a 15-minute walk from Woodlands MRT Station. My kids love taking the MRT and since they rarely get an opportunity to travel by train, I make it a point to take them on it and that could be another reason why they love going to Admiralty Park! 

On our first visit, I was impressed with the pleasing location, multi-tiered design and variety of play structures of the park. The girls were completely blown away too! Soon it became one of our go-to spots for outdoor fun.

The photos in this post is a compilation of a few visits so don't be surprised by my kids change of outfits! 

The park apparently features 26 slides – the most number of slides in any park in Singapore! The widest slide and the longest slide in a public park can be found here. The playground capitalises on the undulating terrain to site the three main play areas – Junior Play, Adventure Play and the Family Terracing Play – catering to children of all ages and featuring diverse play equipment that encourage group and multi-generation interactions.

Junior Play
This is the first play area you will see. This play area caters to younger children (2-5 years). There are swings, slides, slopes with footholds, hillocks, tunnels, a merry-go-round, a net, climbing structures and even a wheelchair swing! 

If you are a parent of a toddler, be sure to check out the 'expression swing’ (a tandem swing for an adult and child).

Adventure Play
This area of the park consists of two roller slides - one green and one blue. This is a gentle and slow moving slide, ideal for younger kids. However, I've seen the older ones enjoying themselves too! 

Note that you can go much faster if you squat down with your feet on the rollers. 

Family Terracing Play
This is by far, my children's most favourite area of the park! There are slides galore, slopes with footholds, climbing frames, tunnels, suspension bridges, rock climbing wall, sandpit and the very popular circular flying fox! 

I remember the very first time I took the twins, they were terrified of the serpentine metallic slides and refused to go anywhere near them. But being naturally curious and adventurous by nature, it took just one more visit for them to get on board and after that, it was no looking back! 

This is a very physically challenging area of the park and if the sun is out in full force (usually the case!), kids will be flushed, sweaty and panting after an hour of frolicking in this area. 

I'll admit that at Admiralty Park, especially in the Family Terracing Play, I find it challenging to supervise both kids at the same time as they are frequently darting in different directions (and their  lightning speed and small frame makes them easily concealable!). There have been more than a few instances when I've felt sheer panic at not being able to locate one of them for more than a few minutes. Since Singapore is safe, I still continue to take them there by myself but if it were any other country, I probably wouldn't dare take the risk. I suggest family outings or play dates where there are more than one set of eyes to keep a close watch over the kids. Strict instructions would help too but you know kids and instructions don't always go hand-in-hand right? 😒

Talking more about the nature aspect of the park, the area also encompasses a diverse mix of secondary forest, mangrove, riverine and open grassland habitats, and is home to more than 100 species of flora and fauna. With several trails within the 20-hectare nature area, visitors can discover the different species living in the forest, spot hordes of dragonflies and observe monkeys in their natural habitat. Alternatively, emerge from the secondary forest near the car park and admire the butterflies and different species of birds as you walk through the grassland. The walking trail also showcases interesting flora like the Putat Kampung Tree and climbers like Hedgehog Rattan, an increasingly rare plant in Singapore.

Admiralty Park is also used for sports recreation purposes and to facilitate this there are fitness stations and a running track. Concerts and performances and hiking and nature walks also take place. Wi-Fi hotspots for visitors are provided at locations around the park.

I recently spotted a Subway and Cheers a short walk away from the playground which is convenient for refreshments. But I'd still recommend packing water bottles and/or juice boxes and a few snacks to be on the safe side. 

My verdict:
Admiralty is a picturesque park with great facilities for kids to have some good old fashioned outdoor fun. There are lots of different playing structures that will appeal to different age groups. The park is clean and well maintained. Visit this park with the little ones and you will be glad you did. Trust me on this!

Complimentary advice: This is a very popular park and can get crowded on weekends. Try to beat the crowds by going as early as possible (we usually reach there by 9:30am and it isn't so bad). Get the kids to wear comfortable tees with shorts or pants (dresses for girls are not practical), comfy footwear and hats, slather on the sunscreen, make sure you carry a copious amount of water, snacks and wet wipes. 

Admiralty Park
Address: 6A Admiralty Rd, Singapore 732006
Opening hours: Always open
Admission: Free
Age range: Suitable for children aged 2 to 12 years



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