Wondering what to do during the September holidays this year, without the option of travel? We’ve got some ideas to help you make the best of the week-long break.
Say Hello To An Ant Collector
Nestled in an Yishun neighbourhood is Just Ants, possibly the only shop in Singapore for your ant-collecting needs. Pop into the shop and you’ll meet John Ye, who says he was “mind-blown” when he began observing how ants live. He’s more than happy to chat with visitors, and it’s a chance to ask him everything you’ve ever wanted to know about this unusual hobby. You could also purchase an ant rearing starter kit — which could keep you entertained for the rest of the September holidays and beyond!
Time Travel To Solve A Singapore Mystery
Amazing Chambers Singapura is not your typical escape room, because its puzzles are entirely based on Singapore folklore. For instance, in one of its recommended experiences, you will be given 60 minutes to retrieve a crown belonging to Sang Nila Utama, the Srivijayan prince from Palembang who founded the kingdom of Singapura in 1299. This is a great way to gain exposure to Singapore’s cultural legends, give your brain a workout, and bond as a family!
Be Entranced By A Music Box
Invite your kids to step into a world of antique music boxes at the Singapore Musical Box Museum. Entry is by guided tour only, and you will learn about music boxes in the 19th century — the mechanics of the early boxes, and how they served as family entertainment, much like our TVs today. Music boxes were also prized as status symbols, and being in possession of a superior music box could improve one’s marriage potential! Fascinating as the stories are, the true pleasure of the tour is getting to operate the music boxes, and hearing their dulcet tones.
Walk Into A Camera-Shaped Museum
Credit: Photo courtesy Singapore Tourism Board
Before you enter the Vintage Cameras Museum, be mindful that it’s probably more appropriate for older (or less rambunctious) kids, who are curious about photography. What awaits you is a chance to inspect over 1,000 vintage cameras. Visitors can also watch a documentary on the evolution of cameras, from their classic incarnations to the digital versions that we’re familiar with today. And if your kids promise to be extra careful, go ahead and request for some hands-on experience as well.
Get An Introduction To Chinese Opera
Founded by a Peking opera singer and her husband, a former opera percussionist, the Singapore Chinese Opera Museum is a chance for children to view costumes, props (such as puppets), and other artefacts that demonstrate the depth and diversity of Chinese opera. The exhibits span over a hundred years, and they tell the story of how Chinese opera gained popularity in Singapore. To avoid disappointment, call ahead to schedule a visit.
Discover A Museum In A Community Club
Unless you frequent the area, it’s unlikely that you would encounter the Kreta Ayer Heritage Gallery — a hidden gem museum dedicated to Kreta Ayer’s early days, where it was the place to be if you had a taste for the Chinese cultural arts and tea drinking. View almost 200 exhibits here, and then follow Time Out’s guide to exploring the rest of Kreta Ayer.
Wander Into A Super-Secret Park
Credit: Photo courtesy Singapore Tourism Board
Hoping to see something interesting while avoiding crowds? Located near a residential estate off Yio Chu Kang Road, the Japanese Cemetery Park is supposedly the largest Japanese cemetery in Southeast Asia, with over 900 tombs, yet locals hardly know it exists. The souls who rest here likely led hard lives — nearly half the tombstones belong to Japanese prostitutes who died in poverty in Singapore. Japanese soldiers and businessmen were also laid to rest here, along with Yamamoto Otokichi, a sailor and the first Japanese resident in Singapore. If you plan to visit, you can find out more about the park at Remember Singapore.
Visit Singapore’s Scariest Places
If your kids are older and up for heart-rattling excitement, book a “Creepy Tales Of Singapore” tour! You’ll hear some of the most vivid tales from Singapore’s WWII days, as you climb up a secluded hill, visit a massacre site, and survey one of the world’s largest Chinese cemeteries, with over 100,000 tombs — all by nightfall. For a limited time, you can also enjoy a 30% discount on the tour. (Details on the SingapoRediscovers page.)
Experience The Best Way To Fish In Singapore
What’s the appeal of kayak fishing? Unlike with shore fishing, kayak fishermen can paddle unobtrusively into deep or shallow waters to access better fishing spots — what this means is that you will definitely enjoy the thrill of a catch! If you join a tour with Kayak Fishing Fever, they promote “catch and release” for environmental good, so it’s a guilt-free way to indulge in recreational fishing. For a limited time, you can get a 10% discount off their kayak fishing tours when you sign up in groups of four or five. (Details on the SingapoRediscovers page.)
Take A Tour Of Sengkang
Thanks to the recent election buzz, you might be curious about what Sengkang has to offer. One person to ask is Sengkang MP Jamus Lim, who recommends visiting Sengkang Riverside Park and going on the Fruit Tree Trail, which lets you get a close look at 16 fruit trees — perfect if your kids’ only exposure to fruit is at the supermarket! You can also try having a meal at a vending machine cafe, or head to one of the area’s popular food stalls for some hearty local fare. (Get Jamus’s full Sengkang Tour itinerary here.)