Tag Archives: nature

Open Farm Community

We had brunch at Open Farm Community a few Saturdays ago. To be honest, I wanted to visit Open Farm Community because of their playground. I saw it on someone’s Instagram account and just had to take the kids there to play. The cow and pig are too adorable for words and the sand is nice and clean.

I love how bright and open the place is and the staggering amount of greenery surrounding it. The food is great and the service is very decent. Adrian is happy to go back again just for the coffee. There’s a large garden area where the kids can explore and run around before the food comes. There’s even a little shop selling children’s clothing, bags, waterbottles, etc.

Even though we really liked the food, it is quite pricey and portions are rather small. I also wish they would open earlier, especially on weekends. But I like that they are trying to promote local farming and cooking with locally-grown produce through events such as community gardening sessions (last Sat of the month) and workshops like Pasta Masterclass and Jam & Sauces Masterclass.

Open Farm Community

Open Farm Community

I do not have a green thumb

I do not have a green thumb

climbing into the cow

climbing into the cow

adorable playground

adorable playground

a game of ping pong, perhaps?

a game of ping pong, perhaps?

some retail therapy

some retail therapy

gardening needs

gardening needs

the restaurant

the restaurant

inside

inside

lovely children's plate

lovely children’s plate

from the outside

from the outside

exploring before brunch

exploring before brunch

eggs

potato rosti served with scrambled eggs, sliced pork sausages, crème fraîche & red onion brown jus

pasta

taglierini with fresh clams & garlic sauce, parsley shad, lemon butter

pasta

rigatoni, local mushrooms, smoked pancetta topped with stilton & balsamic reduction

pasta

open-face lasagna with bolognese and béchamel sauce

kids loved the food

kids loved the food

OPEN FARM COMMUNITY
+65 6471 0306
130E Minden Road
Singapore 248819
enquiries@ofcsingapore.com.sg
Mon – Fri: 12pm to 3pm; 6pm to 10pm
Sat/ Sun/ PH: 11am to 10pm

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Celebrations of Chrysanthemums at Garden by the Bay

Last Saturday, we had a bit of a respite from the hazy weather and spent a lovely time celebrating Mid-Autumn Festival at Gardens by the Bay. In fact, it’s the perfect place to hang out these days. If the PSI goes up suddenly, you can seek refuge in the Flower Dome and admire more than 10,000 pristine chrysanthemums in the latest floral display ‘Celebration of Chrysanthemums’.

Celebration of Chrysanthemums

Celebration of Chrysanthemums

beautiful blooms

beautiful blooms

There are more than 40 varieties of chrysanthemums on display, including magnificent spider chrysanthemums specially brought into Singapore for the very first time. The kids were especially fond of the small round blooms that reminded them of fishballs! Adding to the charming feel of a traditional Chinese garden are bonsai trees that are more than 100 years old and regal maple trees.

a traditional moon gate

a traditional moon gate

how many types can you see?

how many types can you see?

standing in front of a tea house

standing in front of a tea house

their favourite chrysanthemums

their favourite chrysanthemums

With the Mid-Autumn Festival Children’s Promotion, kids aged 12 and below who show up with a lantern at the ticketing counter between 5 and 9 pm from now until 4 October can redeem a free ticket to enter the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest on the same day. Make it a family outing and bring the grandparents too, because local senior citizens aged 60 and above can enter the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest for free while accompanying caretakers enjoy 50% off tickets. This SG50 Seniors Special is valid until 31 December.

kids with a lantern get free entry!

kids with a lantern get free entry!

Anya took this picture of me with her lantern

Anya took this picture of me with her lantern

If the PSI drops to a healthy level, then check out Mid-Autumn Festival @ Gardens by the Bay and marvel at the sight of 17 different lantern sets comprising 300 magnificent lanterns. There are lanterns shaped like plants and animals, the zodiac, dinosaurs, dragon boats, and even a majestic sea palace. The lanterns are handmade by master craftsmen from Sichuan, China and will be on display until 4 October.

dinosaurs roaming freely

dinosaurs roaming freely

Year of the Goat

Year of the Goat

Chinese traditions

Chinese traditions and celebrations

dragon boat

dragon boat

sea palace

sea palace

Go on an empty stomach because there’s lots of yummy food for sale at the Food Street. We had Taiwan sausage, fried chicken, muah chee, spiral potato on a stick, and fried Oreo, all washed down with refreshing sugarcane juice.

food street

food street

potato on a stick

potato on a stick

Just a little tip for taking photos with the lanterns. If you’re not using the right type of flash, the background tends to look too bright and doesn’t bring out the warm glow of the lanterns. If you’re not using a flash at all, you’ll appear as a dark shadow in contrast with the brightness of the lantern. We make it a point to pose with our Zodiac lantern every year and we usually try to stand as close to the lantern as possible, turning our face and body towards the lantern so that we are lit up by the light of the lantern as well!

Ox

Ox

Rabbit

Rabbit

Snake

Snake

Every evening from 7 pm, there will be cultural performances at Supertree Grove put up by local music and cultural arts groups such as the Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan Dance Theatre, Nam Hwa Opera, Dicapella Dizi Ensemble, Malay dance group Azpirasi, and Indian classical dance group Apsaras Arts. The performance schedule is available here. There will even be a fireworks display at Supertree Grove on 3 October at 8pm. Mid-Autumn Festival @ Gardens by the Bay provides both indoor and outdoor fun for the family, regardless of the air quality, so check it out while you can!


Celebration of Chrysanthemums
Date: 24 September to 10 November
Time: 9 am to 9 pm
Details: Admission charges to Flower Dome apply, with special promotions for children and local senior citizens (read above)

Mid-Autumn Festival @ Gardens by the Bay
Date: 25 September to 4 October
Time: 7 pm to 11 pm
Details: Free entry

Exploring Kranji Countryside

It’s the September holidays so we decided to explore Kranji Countryside with the kids! Our first stop was Hay Dairies where we watched the goats being milked, walked around the farm, and then drank some goat’s milk on the spot. The goats are milked before 10.30 am every morning so it’s best to drop by between 9 am and 10.30 am.

The kids didn’t mind the smell all that much and were quite fascinated with the milking process. They have seen cows being milked by hand when we were in Taiwan last year and even had a go at milking, but this was their first time seeing a mechanical process of milking.

watching the milking

watching the milking

leaving the milking area

leaving the milking area

walking around

walking around

what's up, kid?

what’s up, kid?

enjoying some goat's milk

enjoying some goat’s milk

the kids

the kids

If you have less than 20 people in your group, you can visit the farm anytime during the operating hours without prior booking and enjoy a free & easy tour. Groups of 20 or more will be charged an entrance fee that includes an educational tour package.

Hay Dairies
Contact: 6792 0931
Email: order@haydairies.com.sg
Address: 3 Lim Chu Kang Lane 4 Singapore 718859
Operating Hours: 9 am to 4 pm (closed on Tues)


Next up was Jurong Frog Farm. We fed some frogs and took a good look at the frogs in all their various stages from tadpoles to adults. The frogs there are really well-fed! I love the colourful murals that add to the charm of the place and the kids had a good time feeding the frogs.

Jurong Frog Farm

Jurong Frog Farm

feeding the frogs

feeding the frogs

so fat!

so fat!

looking for my prince

looking for my prince

checking out the tadpoles

checking out the tadpoles

pretending to be tadpoles and frogs

pretending to be tadpoles and frogs

You can buy frog meat, frog legs, crocodile meat, hashima, fish, and even frog-themed souvenirs like raincoats and hairbands from the Royal Frog Shop located on the premises.

Jurong Frog Farm
Contact: 6791 7229
Email: events@jurongfrogfarm.com.sg
Address: 51 (Plot 56) Lim Chu Kang Lane 6 Singapore 718864
Operation Hours: 9 am – 5.30 pm (Sat, Sun & PH; closed on Mon; Tue – Fri by appointment)


After feeding frogs, we needed to feed ourselves and we headed to Poison Ivy bistro at Bollywood Veggies for lunch. The food there is pretty good and prices are reasonable. It was the Teacher’s Day weekend and the fabulous people at Poison Ivy had prepared special gifts for teachers who dine there and that was a pleasant surprise for me.

Bollywood Veggies

Bollywood Veggies

Warrior's Platter

Warrior’s Platter

plotting to steal bananas

plotting to steal bananas

a painful tree to climb!

a painful tree to climb!

lookout point

lookout point

family photo at Bollywood Veggies

family photo at Bollywood Veggies

After lunch, we took a walk around the place and admired the various fruits and vegetables being grown there. It was rather warm by then so it didn’t take long before the kids started whining about the heat and the walking. We decided to head back home, but not before buying a lime plant for me to feed to my Common Lime caterpillars. All in all, it was a successful and enjoyable jaunt around Kranji Countryside!

Bollywood Veggies
Contact: 6898 5001
Email: enquiries@bollywoodveggies.com
Address: 100 Neo Tiew Road Singapore 719026
Operation Hours: 9.30 am – 6.30 pm, Wed – Fri; 8 am – 6.30 pm, Sat, Sun & PH (closed on Mon & Tue, except public holidays)


Kranji Countryside is a lovely place to visit and is very different from the rest of Singapore. If you don’t drive, there’s a shuttle bus service that runs daily. The bus fare is $3 per head for a round trip. You will need to retain your ticket to hop on and off if you are planning to visit several farms using the bus within a day.

If you want to see more than just farms, you can consider doing a self-guided Heritage Trail of the area. The trail covers 14 historical and agricultural trail markers including Kranji War Memorial, World War II First Landing Site, and the farms mentioned above.

Bukit Timah Railway Station with the Kids

When we were in Secondary school, my friends and I spent many an afternoon walking beneath the Bukit Timah railway truss bridge on our way to McDonald’s at King Albert Park (KAP). If a train happened to be rushing past overhead, we always made it a point to count the number of carriages. No trains go by on the track now and KAP is gone too.

But we are creating new memories with our kids. The Green Corridor runs behind our place and we can comfortably walk to either the Bukit Timah railway bridge or the one at Rail Mall. We took a stroll to Rail Mall quite recently so we decided to visit Bukit Timah Railway Station over the Hari Raya long weekend.

We were actually planning to climb Bukit Timah Hill but the path is still closed to visitors. While we were walking from Rifle Range Rd (where we had parked) to Bukit Timah Railway Station, we met many other people cycling or walking across the bridge and along the railway tracks. It’s so encouraging to see that the place is far from being deserted or abandoned.

approaching the bridge

approaching the bridge

imagining the trains that used to rush by

imagining the trains that used to rush by

Adam being pensive

Adam being pensive

posing for a picture

posing for a picture

a beautiful day

a beautiful day

running towards the station

running towards the station

balancing on the tracks

balancing on the tracks

three kids and a sign

three kids and a sign

Sentosa – The State of Fun!

There are a few long weekends and some other public holidays coming up! I find short overseas trips terribly tiring though and always feel like I need a holiday after my holiday. I’d much rather hop over to Sentosa for a fun day of activities or for a staycation. There’s so much to do there these days!

During the June holidays, we visited Sentosa with the Play 3 FUN Pass that gave us the option of choosing 3 out of 20 exciting attractions. At S$44 for adults and S$39 for kids, it’s a real steal, especially if you pick S.E.A. Aquarium as one of your choices because a ticket for a Singapore resident adult is usually S$28. We decided to visit S.E.A. Aquarium, Skyline Luge and Gogreen Segway. That’s a total value of more than S$70!

We bought tickets separately for our session at Wavehouse and for the Wings of Time performance but they are both options that you can choose under the Play 3 FUN Pass. The kids had such a wonderful time that day and we were on Sentosa for more than 10 hours. I thought they would be too exhausted by the time we sat down for the Wings of Time performance, but they really enjoyed the laser show, water display, and the fireworks and it was a brilliant way to end our day of fun on Sentosa.

ready for a day of fun

ready for a day of fun

first stop: Wavehouse

first stop: Wavehouse

the husband did pretty well

the husband did pretty well

Anya had fun too

Anya had fun too

cooling down with coconut ice-cream

cooling down with coconut ice-cream

Skyride

Skyride

looking forward to her first solo ride

looking forward to her first solo Luge ride

wheeee!

wheeee!

next stop: S.E.A. Aquarium

next stop: S.E.A. Aquarium

feeding time

feeding time

we spotted some dolphins

we spotted some dolphins

poking a starfish

poking a starfish

Segway time

Segway time

her first time on a Segway

her first time on a Segway

getting the hang of it

getting the hang of it

Wings of Time

Wings of Time

For more ideas on what to do in Sentosa, check out our posts on Port of Lost WonderAdventure CoveTrick Eye Museum, Rasa Sentosa, and Movenpick Heritage Hotel!

Sam, Sebbie & Di-Di-Di: At the Night Safari & At the S.E.A. Aquarium

Whenever I’m planning to take the kids to an attraction for the first time or to a place they have not visited in a while, I find it useful for them to read about the destination beforehand. Usually, they would get quite excited and have lots to look forward to and look out for when we are there. And after the visit, the kids get to relive their experience by reading the books again.

So when we were planning trips to Night Safari and S.E.A. Aquarium recently, these books by author David Seow were very handy: Sam, Sebbie & Di-Di-Di: At the Night Safari and Sam, Sebbie & Di-Di-Di: At the S.E.A. Aquarium. In both stories, the three children pay a visit to the respective locations and embark on an interesting adventure. I like that the books are not just about what the children see and do but the plot has them in a situation where they have to get creative in order to solve a problem.

In Sam, Sebbie & Di-Di-Di: At the Night Safari, the siblings have to figure out how to move a giraffe who has fallen asleep right in the path of the tram. During our visit to the Night Safari, Anya and Adam were busy looking out for animals that they had seen in the book and were delighted when a tapir came very close to the tram. After the visit, they talked about all the animals there and compared them with the ones in the book.

Sam, Sebbie & Dididi: At the Night Safari

Sam, Sebbie & Di-Di-Di: At the Night Safari

checking out the animals we can see there

checking out the animals we can see there

at the Night Safari!

at the Night Safari!

adventure is out there

adventure is out there

we read about the tram in the book

we read about the tram in the book

meeting some of the animals

meeting some of the animals

watching the show

watching the show

learning about recycling

learning about recycling

In Sam, Sebbie & Di-Di-Di: At the S.E.A. Aquarium, Di-Di-Di goes missing and Sam & Sebbie go around all the tanks to ask if any of the sea creatures have seen Di-Di-Di and they find him in the most unusual place. Like with the other book, the kids were also very excited to spot the underwater creatures that they had read about in the book. The books help to make the visits more enriching and meaningful for the kids and it doesn’t hurt that the illustrations are so beautiful.

Sam, Sebbie & Dididi: At the SEA Aquarium

Sam, Sebbie & Di-Di-Di: At the S.E.A. Aquarium

checking out the fish

checking out the fish

they even brought the book along

they even brought the book along

admiring the fish swimming overhead

admiring the fish swimming overhead

making friends

making friends

touching a star fish

touching a star fish

feeding time

feeding time

they read about the rays in the book

they read about the rays in the book

The Sam, Sebbie & Di-Di-Di books are available from Epigram Books and they are currently having 30% off all books with a minimum spending of $40 (with code HAPPY4TH) until 12 July. This would be a good time to snap up all the books in the Sam, Sebbie & Di-Di-Di series or get some other fabulous books. We like the Lee Kuan Yew series by Patrick Yee!

Making Terrariums at Hort Park

I don’t have a green thumb and tend to kill most of my plants so a terrarium that needs minimal watering and care sounds perfect to me! We were invited to a workshop at The Plant Story hosted by actualyse.com and the kids made their own little terrariums with whimsical glass creatures.

Anya and Adam were fascinated to learn that the plants in the terrarium did not have to be watered daily and learnt a bit about how plants transpire and photosynthesize. They were also very taken by the little Murano glass creatures that they could decorate their terrariums with.

The Plant Story

The Plant Story

checking out some of the terrariums available (Photo credit: Ashley Mak)

checking out some of the terrariums available (Photo credit: Ashley Mak)

being briefed (photo credit: Ashley Mak)

being briefed on how to make a terrarium (photo credit: Ashley Mak)

layers

layers in a terrarium

so this is what I look like when I'm taking photos (photo credit: Ashley Mak)

so this is what I look like when I’m taking photos (photo credit: Ashley Mak)

the kids hard at work

the kids hard at work

choosing pebbles (photo credit: Ashley Mak)

choosing pebbles (photo credit: Ashley Mak)

adding the finishing touches

adding the finishing touches

some water for his plant

some water for his plant

very pleased with their terrariums! (photo credit: Ashley Mak)

very pleased with their terrariums! (photo credit: Ashley Mak)

The kids were really proud of the terrariums they made and truly enjoyed the hands-on experience. I think they learnt some stuff about plants more effectively than if they had merely read about it or watched in on TV!

actualyse.com believes that children learn in different ways and they are there to provide a platform to support learning for all intelligences and learning styles, needs, and all ages. I believe in Multiple Intelligences, and as a parent, I definitely want to cater to my child’s learning style. You can take an MI quiz here and find out more about actualyse.com and their vision ‘to inspire and empower everyone to be the best they can be’.