Half-day Itinerary: Family Fun in Jurong
Jurong, which is often synonymous with Western Singapore, was reclaimed from the swampy hills of a sleepy rural area and transformed into Singapore's industrial domain. Yet, amidst the factories lies sprawling green spaces, theme parks, and edutainment centres which has turned Jurong into an escape from urban life and a major excursion destination for schoolchildren and families alike. The Jurong Bird Park enchants visitors with its waterfall landscapes and the vibrant colours of feathered friends from all around the world, and the Science Centre and Discovery Centre takes young ones on learning journeys as they delve into the wonderful world of science or Singapore's making as a nation. This suburban destination never fails to inspire wonder in childrens' eyes.
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Jurong Bird Park
Jurong lies at the heart of Western Singapore, and is a half hour journey by MRT on the East-West line from the city centre. Alight at Boon Lay MRT Station [EW27] and head to the interchange to board either bus 251 or 194 and travel from from “Boon Lay Int” to “Jurong BirdPark”.
Jurong Bird Park (9am)
Jurong's crown jewel is the Jurong Bird Park, which is the largest bird park in the world. This hillside haven is home to more than 4600 birds representing 380 species which fly freely in its aviaries. The beautifully landscaped setting of waterfalls and free flight aviaries make for a lovely walk in the morning. Alternatively, board the Panorail, an elevated monorail that takes you through the Lory Loft, a delightful Australian rainforest aviary with more than 1000 colourful lories, and past the starlings and bee-eaters flying around the tallest man-made waterfall in the world at the African Waterfall Aviary, the world's largest walk-in aviary.
The world's largest Southeast Asian Birds Aviary has a simulated tropical thunderstorm at noon daily, and the Jungle Jewels Flight Aviary features lush vegetation, cascading waters and a wide variety of South American birds. The Dinosaur Descendants exhibit is home to four species of flightless birds – the ostrich, cassowary, emu and rhea, while the World of Darkness is home to nocturnal owls cast in simulated moonlight. The park is home to many other birds such as flamingoes, hornbills, toucans, pelicans, penguins, crowned pigeons and birds of paradise, and also houses a wet-and-dry playground. Catch two popular shows - the majestic Birds of Prey at Fuji Hawk Walk and the colourfully choreographed Birds n Buddies at Pools Amphitheatre.
(3 hr. 2 Jurong Hill. +65 6265 0022. Daily 8.30am – 6pm. Admission $18 adult, $12 child 12 & under. Panorail $5 adult, $3 child 12 & under.)
At lunchtime, head up the hill to the iconic Jurong Hilltop Restaurant (2 Jurong Hill. +65 6266 3522. Daily 11.30am – 10.30pm.) for excellent Japanese or Indonesian cuisine. Try the popular teppenyaki grill, or nasi goreng (fried rice) accompanied by gado gado (vegetable salad with peanut sauce). After lunch, head back down the hill and board bus 251 from “Opp Jurong Bird Pk” or 194 from “Jurong BirdPark” back to “Boon Lay Int”. For a more local lunch and shopping experience, board either bus after your morning at the Bird Park and dine at one of the many restaurants or cafes at Jurong Point beside the interchange, Singapore's largest suburban retail and lifestyle mall.
Science Centre (for budding scientists) or Discovery Centre (for budding social scientists)
After lunch, embark on a learning journey at either the Science Centre, a treat for any budding scientist, or the Discovery Centre, which gives an enriching tour into the making of Singapore.
EITHER Singapore Science Centre (2pm)
The Science Centre is located in Jurong East, which requires a short MRT ride from Boon Lay [EW27] to Jurong East [EW24/NS1]. From the station/interchange, walk or travel by bus 66 or 335 from “Jurong East Int” to “S’pore Science Ctr”.
The excellent and thoroughly absorbing Science Centre Singapore is home to a huge collection of more than 1000 interactive exhibits featuring the science of outer space, the earth, ecosystems, human bodies, technology, visual illusions, as well as frequent travelling exhibitions, in 14 galleries. The quirky and hands-on activities are a treat for kids that will engage, entertain, and educate them. Catch the signature electrifying Tesla Coil Show, and learn about the increasingly pertinent environmental issues at the Climate Change Show. The outdoor interactive sculptures of the Kinetic Garden and Waterworks are popular attractions. (2 hr. 15 Science Centre Road. +65 6425-2500. Daily 10am – 6pm. Admission $9 adult, $5 child 16 & under, $6 senior 55 & above. Nearest MRT: Jurong East [EW24/NS1].)
If you have time to spare, catch an IMAX Movie at the nearby Omni-Theatre (Admission $10 adult, $7 child 12 & under, $8 senior 55 & above.) or throw yourself down the snow-covered slopes of Snow City (One hour $16 adult, $14 child 16 & under. Tickets include admission to Science Centre.)
OR Singapore Discovery Centre (2pm)
The Discovery Centre is located in an area central to the training of the Singapore Armed Forces, and requires a short ride on either bus 182 or 193 from “Boon Lay Int” to “Opp S’pore Discovery”.
The Singapore Discovery Centre is a journey through Singapore's past, present and future, and aims to inspire future generations in making Singapore and the world a better place to live. This centre offers fun hands-on edutainment for kids and grown-ups alike, such as 4D motion simulator rides, a 3D cinema with a five-storey-high screen, shooting gallery and paintball course, as well as virtual reality games such as the Visionarium and Battlefield Command. The military roots of this centre are seen in the displays of aircraft, weapons and military equipment used by Singapore's Armed Forces. (2 hr. 510 Upper Jurong Road. +65 6792 6188. Daily 9am – 6pm, except Monday closed. Admission $10 adult, $6 child 12 & under. Nearest MRT: Joo Koon [EW29].)
The adjacent Army Museum of Singapore (Admission $5 adult, $3 child 12 & under, $3 senior 60 & above.) will be a treat for those interested in military hardware and “heartware”.