One of our favourite outdoor weekend spots is Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.
Okay, to be exact, we’ve only been to the water playground at the Pond Gardens (formerly known as Bishan Park 1). Because exploring all 62 hectares of the park – one of the largest in Singapore – with two small kids is QUITE. A. FEAT.
The playground is designed as a series of shallow water channels criss-crossing the play area, reminiscent of a natural river plain. Children can manoeuvre the sluice gates within each channel to control the flow of water. Floating fallen leaves or paper boats down the channels makes for a good lesson in the ebb and flow movements of streams and rivers. Older children may enjoy arranging the movable “rocks” in different positions to experiment with how various permutations affect the flow of water.
Nonetheless, if you’re only a year-old tyke like Claire, you can still find amazement in sitting and gawking at leaves gliding swiftly on their watery journey downstream.
What makes it especially suitable for young children is the lack of big, splashy fountains. While the girls like getting drenched during water play, they get intimidated by fountains splashing directly into their faces and buckets dunking full loads of water onto their heads. Plus, they also run the risk of being knocked down by bigger kids who get uber excited chasing one another around the fountains and yelling at the top of their voices.
In contrast, Pond Gardens is a lot more laid back and calm. Maybe it’s the feeling of walking down a river plain with shallow, gurgling streams. We’re quite happy to stroll along and soak in the relaxing atmosphere while keeping a watchful eye on the kids. The park is parent-friendly too – offering adequate steps and benches for adults to perch themselves on while the children play. Restrooms are located near the water play area, making it easy to dry and change the kids out of their wet clothes when they’re done.
We’re planning to check out the other half of Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park one day, known as River Plains (formerly Bishan Park 2). I think Coco may like making new furry friends at the dog run there!
The car park can get full quickly when families descend upon the park in the cooler evening periods.
More parking is available at the HDB car parks across Ang Mo Kio Ave 1 – just be prepared to work those leg muscles when crossing the overhead bridge (and arm muscles too if you have to carry little kids and ALL. THEIR. STUFF.) A little picnic here would be a good idea, preparing for it is easy if you have the right cooler on hand, I would suggest that you pick either Icey Tek or Yeti Cooler as they have proven themselves worthy to me in the past.
For directions by public transport, visit the park website for the list of bus services, and more travel instructions by bus and MRT.
Do note that the water playground is in operation only on the weekends from 8 am to 11 am, and 4 pm to 8 pm.