Saturday, 3 May 2014

Jacob Ballas Children's Garden

Hubby had to attend a course today and Isaac was confirmed clear from HFMD! I promised him for days that when he was well, we would go to the playground.

He had been so cooperative I decided to reward him with not just a playground but one with adventure.

I have been eyeing this garden but haven't had the opportunity to go. There was no better day than today - good weather, mood and news! The only thing was getting there was not as clearly directed. Maybe it was just me.

Just to share with you, there are three ways - bus, MRT or taxi/car. No brainer! Just teasing. 

We went there by taxi. Jacob Ballas Children's Garden is located outside the main botanic gardens. It is nearer to NUS. So, you will need to tell the driver to stop there. If you drive, there is a carpark just right outside. If you take the MRT, you will need a map. The signages are not very clear and if you have a bad sense of direction like me, get ready to bring stroller and snacks for getting lost. You will get there, eventually. 

Some reviews on the gardens.

It was like a mini version of the botanic gardens with plants named and explained. We liked the sand playground, water playground, treehouse with sand pit, suspension bridge, sensory gardens where we touched and smelled herbs and other plants and those tiny pavilions for resting. Isaac was able to spend a good amount of time just playing with stones at the pavilion while I watched on. I like that the garden has low trees and plants. They were all child-sized! I felt I entered a wonderland.

The playgrounds were quite bare. Unlike the usual ones, they had minimal equipments. For instance, there were only two slides at the treehouse and one was under maintenance. Speaking of which, many areas were restricted or under maintenance too.

Nevertheless, it was really fun because we walked through "jungle" (so said Isaac, who started singing "who's the king of the jungle" and "walking through the jungle"), saw ponds, played sand, stones and walked on logs.

I wasn't prepared for sand play and didn't bring any toy. Highly recommended!

The downsides of this place:
- there is no shower area, so it would be good to wash off sand at the water playground (I had to wash Isaac at the sink).
- the Kidz Cafe had only junk food and the place is too far from the main eateries. We could have eaten at those opposite the station at Serene Centre but I was too hot from carrying Isaac to the station. The ice cream at this cafe was very good though. I had lychee sherbet which contained lychee bits. Delicious!

Other than that, he had a really good time. I wouldn't mind going back there. This time armed with sunblock, food to picnic, toys to enhance play and a stroller to and from the MRT station (not too far a walk, about 8 mins). 

Here are some photos to share.

Us at the mini suspension bridge. It was quite an adventure for someone so tiny.

After sliding down the treehouse, he landed right onto the sand pit. This sand play area is better shaded than the actual sand playground. It is also more popular (read "crowded").

We spotted one big terrapin crawling. Isaac followed it all the way until it decided to go to the waterfall, which Isaac dislikes. He said "turtle was going to drink water".

Isaac had a very good time just hanging out at this pavilion. I should have brought food.

Fascinated with the stones. He spent a good amount of time just exploring them.

At the sensory garden, children can touch and smell plants. Some of them include herbs like basil and rosemary. It was getting really hot by then. I was more worried about him getting burnt.

Playing sand with other children. The playground has minimal equipments.

One of the equipments at the sand playground.

Finally, I tried to encourage him to wash off the sand here. He was afraid of water jets. So, I ended up washing him at the sink at the toilet. The sink was tiny because it was child-sized.

Good news to those who wish to go, entrance is free. Your child is your ticket to enter. Have fun with nature! 

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