Double The Fun

The Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden has doubled in size. FELICIA WONG finds out what you and your little ones can do at its new play areas.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

The Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden has doubled in size. FELICIA WONG finds out what you and your little ones can do at its new play areas.

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The Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden at the Singapore Botanic Gardens has always been a favourite spot for parents to take their kids on a fun day out.

After its extension, the Garden has doubled in size to 4ha – that’s around the size of seven football fields.

It’s now the largest children’s garden in Asia and features four brand new zones and educational programmes, which encourage children to experience and learn about different ecosystems.

The new attractions are now accessible to children up to 14 years old; previously, it catered to those up to age 12. Here’s what you can expect:


Your little ones will love the brand new Forest zone (main photo). It boasts tree houses, a trampoline and even a flying fox zipline.

Kids can drink in the scenery as they play around the tall tree houses made of timber logs recycled from locally cut trees.

There’s a swing rope bridge, perfect for your little explorers. Teach your kids the importance of teamwork and cooperation as they navigate through the bridge together.

Tired of chasing your tykes around the playground? The trampoline offers a chance for parents to take a break as their little ones have fun bouncing away.

Finally, glide down towards the forest floor with the thrilling flying fox. Your little ones will love the rush of adrenaline they get on the way down. Don’t worry, parents – there are park rangers on duty at the flying fox to ensure no one gets hurt.


Show your little ones where the food on their plates comes from. Get up close with the fruits and leafy vegetables grown at the new Farm zone.

Check out the informative diagrams at the Farm House, which show where food comes from and how it’s transported.

They will also love learning about how to grow their own food and how to reduce food wastage by making their own compost at home.

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See if your kids can spot the animals and plants that live along the stream here.

They’ll be amazed to discover how these species have made clever adaptations to live in their habitat. This zone encourages children to be curious and learn through play.


End your fun day out with a stroll along the overhead bridge by the new Orchard zone (pictured, top). Enjoy the unique foliage of fruit trees, cocoa, tea and coffee plants, and more.

Engage your little ones in a game of guessing what each tree makes. Then discover how your favourite beverages and desserts are processed.

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All that walking and playing is sure to tire you and your little ones out. Refresh yourselves by grabbing a delicious bite at the Garden.

The popular Food For Thought cafe at the Botanic Gardens closed last August, to much disappointment. But just a few months later, the Food For Thought group returned to the Garden.

It opened the Food For Tots cafe (pictured, top right) at the Children’s Garden last November, with a more child-focused and family-friendly concept.

Surrounded by a lush landscape of flora and fauna, the outdoor cafe is sheltered and features a potted herb wall and colourful bunting all around.

The menu features all-day brunch items, with a healthy touch. Some highlights include Breakfast Works ($16) and Smoked Salmon & Avocado Toast ($12).

There’s also a kids’ menu for kids aged 10 and below, with dishes like Pasta & Meatballs Nest ($9) and Ham & Cheese Toast Dippers ($7).

Food For Tots also has an interactive play area and planned weekly programmes for kids on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons. It offers three core programmes targeted at preschoolers, free of charge.

Try Food Crafternoons with your little one, it’s a food art programme that aims to empower children to create their own after-school snacks from scratch. There are also storytelling sessions and nature bingo trail, where kids are taken out to the Children’s Garden with a bingo sheet.

Food For Tots usually hosts these programmes on its own, but it also collaborates with external vendors, like The Little Things and Cui Creates, from time to time. Visit


Your little one has explored the new extension in the Garden, so now what? Well, the Botanic Gardens has implemented more activities and programmes in the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden to encourage more hands-on learning.

The existing amenities in the old Children’s Garden have been upgraded to support the range of activities and programmes in the new extension.

One of the new enhancements is the family gathering place, which has been fitted out with a brand new Kitchen Classroom.

This hands-on programmes encourages kids to learn about the full food process chain and allows them to experience first-hand how the plants they see around them in the Garden are incorporated in the dishes you eat.

Check out what events and workshops are available for your little ones at the Singapore Botanic Gardens’ website. You can sign up and make payment for the programmes on the website as well.

The Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden is open from 8am to 7pm on Tuesdays to Sunday, and last admission is at 6.30pm. The Garden is closed on Mondays, unless it’s a public holiday. Admission to the Garden is free. Visit