Singapore Botanic Garden: Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden

I’d heard about the Children’s Garden before, but had never visited it before yesterday.  Somehow we never really get past the lake with the swans.  There’s tons of beautiful flowers nearby, and E loves the swans/turtles/fish that she can feed.

But yesterday afternoon we headed directly to the Children’s Garden.  Unfortunately we were given a ride by the Most Lost Driver in Singapore, and spent a decent 30+ minutes bumbling and getting lost.  Finally we just said to drop us anywhere at the Botanic Garden, and ended up by what I thought was the back gate, and near where I thought the Children’s Garden was.

I was right that we were in the back part of the section of the Botanic Gardens I’d already explored.  We were near a sign for the Children’s Garden, and I naively assumed it was just over the hill.  So we set out, at 6:00pm, with no clue that the Children’s Garden (unlike the rest of the Botanic Garden) closes at 7pm.

As always, it’s never a dull walk in the Gardens.  Overused words like lush and tropical bubble up unbidden…clichés, yes, but cliché for a reason.

But we seemed to keep walking.

And walking.

And walking.

I hadn’t seen a sign in a while, so when a Botanic Garden uncle drove by in his golf cart, I asked him to stop and to clarify if we were going the right way.

He told me they were closing in 45 minutes and the last admission would be in 15.  That we’d never make it walking.  As my spirits dipped, he offered to give us a ride.

He was absolutely right…we never would’ve made it.  I had NO idea how large the gardens really are, as we passed through another giant chunk, including a pond with a black swan meandering across.  Our starting point was not “just over the hill” from the Children’s Garden…it was over the hill and a giant hike from the Children’s Garden.  But thanks to the uncle, we made it with enough time for Ellie to have a good play.

Of course, the very first thing we found was the water play area.  It’s almost like Ellie has some secret play fountain radar, because she moved unerringly in that direction.

I left Ellie happily getting soaked under B’s watchful eyes and headed out to explore the small garden and play around with the DLSR I’m renting this week (I’m getting ready to upgrade my camera, and decided renting one would be the best way to see if it really was the camera I wanted or not).  The Children’s Garden seems to have an ampitheater, signs that indicated there were classrooms, some play equiment, some slides, the water play area and various short exhibits set up.  And, of course, gorgeous plant life.

I noticed some large slides, and went back to see if Elanor might be interested in switching activities.  She spent some additional time in the water, full of glee (see today’s earlier Wordless Wednesday post) before moving on.

We spent our last 10 minutes or so before this section of the park closed here at the slides.  E scorned the lower slide for this larger one.  Don’t be surprised when she decides sky diving is a great idea at five or that sword swallowing is the only thrill left to try at twelve.

I noticed a further chunk of Children’s Garden that we didn’t get to, including what looked like some adorablely oversized mushroom sculptures (that immediately had me thinking about Alice in Wonderland).  But night was falling and we were told they were closing.

I loved the detailing on this lamp as the light came on.

I also noticed as we waited for our taxi that just outside the entrance of the Children’s Garden is a snack stand that has some tables and chairs that are kid-friendly in size.  It seemed like a nice touch.

At Ellie’s age, I’m not sure she’ll get much out of it beyond “cool water play area” and “OMG SLIDES!!!”  But for older kids, the signage and displays would help create discussion around the life cycle of plants, ecology, etc.  I’m guessing they do some amount of school and/or community outreach, and will keep an eye out for anything like that in the future.

I don’t think it will even take the place of our preferred section of the Botanic Gardens, but it’s a nice place to add into our rotation.  As would be the beautiful walk from the main garden to the Children’s Garden…I’m itching to get my camera on that black swan (no movie jokes, please!).

The only negative was that the sand near the slides was absolutely swarming with ants.  B and I had to wipe down her legs once we realized what was happening, and there’s a number of bites on them today.  I also ended up with some bites/friends crawling on me from trying to clean up Ellie and my brief walk across the sand to get to the play structure.  However, that’s nature, and I need to remind myself that I wasn’t always a wimpy city girl.

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