Family-friendly suggestions from the Kidsworld team to make the most of the super-long weekend.
The Gregorian calendar welcomed the official start of 2017 with a long weekend, and—hip hurray!—the same applies to this year’s Lunar calendar too, with yet another extended weekend (thanks to CNY’s second day falling on a Sunday, Monday is also a public holiday). Yes, Spring is here, and there’s no better way to enter the Rooster year than with a spring in your strut by getting out and about (hey, that kinda rhymes!).
1. Get Dazzled!
Where: Chinatown, Eu Tong Sen Street, New Bridge Road and South Bridge Road
Dates: Until 7 February
The annual CNY night bazaar and street shows may be over, but don’t let that stop you from heading down to continue soaking up the festive atmosphere. And there’s even better reason to, as this year’s light-up features the largest number of lanterns ever on display in the history of the Chinatown Festival and took some five months to put together. Marvel at 5,500 handcrafted lanterns lit with 13,000 LED bulbs that are further adorned with 8km of LED light strips (no camera flash required!). Forty master craftsmen have created a medley of delightful lanterns designed in various shapes of golden eggs, chicks, roosters and hens; peach blossoms and peach blossom trees. Altogether, the lantern narrative depicts the journey of this year’s astrological animal that culminates in the magnificent form of a 13m tall Rooster lantern that literally stops traffic with its commanding post at the junction of Eu Tong Sen Street and Upper Cross Street. See it to believe it! (Gawk… don’t squawk!)
2. Make Feathered Friends!
Where: Jurong Bird Park
Dates: 28-30th January
Considering that Singapore’s beloved open-air aviary will relocate to its new 17-hectare home at Mandai by 2020, a visit to the Jurong Bird Park to commemorate the Rooster year is definitely in order! With so many highlights happening around the park during the long weekend, everyone will be in constant flight (pun intended!). A must-view is of the pheasant birds, where visitors can catch them in action at Wings of Asia, 1145am. At 130pm, the eponymous lovelies of Parrot Paradise will feast on red packets filled with treats. Make your way over to the Pools Amphitheatre next at 3pm for a special festive edition show that showcases the Park’s Amazon and cockatoo birds in a flapping performance. Remember to drop by Penguin Coast as well as the Breeding and Research Centre, where you can learn more about chickens and get won over by the sight of adorable baby chicks. The former venue is also where you’ll be entertained by a lively and rowdy lion dance troupe, a sure sign that CNY is in full swing! What’s more, if you apply for Friends of Wildlife membership at membership.wrs.com.sg and enter code CNY0117, you’ll enjoy 10% off the original fee—but only when you do so from 28-30 January. Seize the chance!
3. Snap Incredible Photos!
Where: Alive Museum Singapore
Dates: Special admission fees until 15 February
Perhaps you had planned to celebrate Christmas or mark the first day of 2017 with a trip to Alive Museum recently… only to find it closed, to your great disappointment. Here’s great news—the attraction is open once again after the temporary closure of nearly a month. There’s even better news: to mark the reopening, admission prices have been slashed by half for both Adults and Children, which means you can enter for just $12.50, while it’s just $10 for kiddo! Don’t forget to check out the newest additions to the existing eccentric and zany backdrops—the Young@Heart Zone, as well as the Live.Laugh.Love Zone. Our particular favourite is the latter, where the literal word “LOVE” on display makes it perfect for the family to gather round for a memorable and apt we-fie. Unlike other prim and proper museums, Alive is where you are encouraged to ham it up as much as you can while interacting with the props, displays and backdrops in every way you think is possible! So go on… from hopping on a flying bird to catching some plopping penguins, just remember to bring along your selfie stick!
4. Go With the Flow(ers)
Where: Gardens by the Bay, Flower Dome Conservatory
Dates: 30 January to 12 February (Spring Treats); 30 January, 4-5 February, 11-12 February (God of Fortune Meet and Greet); 19 February (Dahlia Dreams)
To usher in the Year of the Rooster and the arrival of Spring, Gardens by the Bay has planned “Spring Surprise” with the bulk of events happening at the Supertree Grove and Flower Dome Conservatory areas. Kidsworld is spotlighting the latter—the breath-taking Flower Dome, which is the world’s largest glass greenhouse, with an area that covers more than two football fields! Troop down to the venue to explore these three subevents: Spring Treats (12pm-5pm), God of Fortune Meet and Greet (12pm, 2pm, 4pm) and Dahlia Dreams (9am-9pm). Gather the family on 30 January for a leisurely afternoon perusing the activities and wares available at special craft booths that will set up shop only for a fortnight. Bring home your own scroll of self-penned Chinese calligraphy or a personalised prosperity egg. Whilst there, you may just bump into the ever-joyous and generous God of Fortune, who will endow all with good luck and blessings in every photo he graces! By far, the biggest highlight is Dahlia Dreams, also the Gardens’ first floral showcase of 2017. Declared Mexico’s national flower in 1963, there are 42 species of dahlias, with the prominently yellow, orange and red varieties selected especially to go on display, given their auspicious and festive hues. Within the conservatory, an oriental landscape has been pruned to perfection just for CNY, complemented with an authentic pagoda, pavilion, moon gates and even elaborate fowl sculptures. In another first, Dahlia Dreams will also feature digital iconography of Lunar New Year festivities, which further adds to the celebratory atmosphere. Note that admission fees within the Flower Dome Conservatory will apply.
5. Keep the River Hongbao Tradition Alive!
Where: The Float @ Marina Bay
Dates: 26 January-4 February
The annual River Hongbao is truly one of, if not the most anticipated and attended mainstay attractions of Singapore’s Lunar New Year festive celebrations. As its name indicates, a backdrop of water has always been part of the scenic sights and sounds that characterise the event, which is now into its 31st year! If you fondly remember River Hongbao as part of your childhood memories and are all grown up now with kids of your own, then Kidsworld strongly urges you to continue that revered tradition with your young family! Paying tribute to Singapore’s melting pot of race and cultures, this year’s edition features an exhibition that showcases the different festivals and festivities celebrated here. It’s a wonderful and unique opportunity to educate the kids about their local identity. If you can’t get enough of lanterns and lights at Chinatown, River Hongbao has bedazzling set pieces of its own: from a mother hen laying golden eggs, glowing heart arches, illuminated zodiac animal displays and lots more besides. Indeed, there really is something for everyone crammed into 10 fun-filled days, with other highlights that include carnival rides and games, delectable food stands, as well as stalls selling delicate trinkets and unique handicrafts. Open from 2pm-11pm daily; until 1am on CNY eve.
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