Sunday, 5 March 2017

Fun Afternoon Spent at the National Gallery Singapore

Intermittent heavy downpours thwarted our outdoor plans for the day but it didn't dampen our spirits to have a fun-filled Sunday. Recalling a recommendation by a fellow mummy gf, we made our way to the National Gallery Singapore & it certainly exceeded our initial expectations!!

One point to note: For Singapore citizens & PRs, before starting your exploration, go to the ticketing counters at the basement concourse to get a free ticket & admission sticker which allows you to enter the exhibition galleries. Since we usually adopt a top-down approach, we took the lift to the 5th storey which brought us to the Ng Teng Fong Roof Garden Gallery. From here, you can get a partial view of the city skyscrapers above one of the 2 reflection pools.

Walking around the garden, we came to our first exhibit for the day which is a series of compelling sculptures presented by Vietnamese-born Danish artist Danh Vo as part of his first outdoor installation in Singapore. Please note the warning sign displayed around the exhibit, especially on rainy days.

Don't forget to climb up the flight of wooden steps as you'll be in for a lil' treat at the Public Viewing Deck ;) BB can never resist the temptation of climbing up (as well as down) stairs so that's exactly what we did & it was all worth it! You can get a totally unblocked view of Padang & the Marina Bay area <3 

It started to drizzle again so we took the tour indoors. From the external architecture, to right inside where the Rotunda Gallery was, we were awed by the various parts of the building which were preserved. Lil' boy is still too young to appreciate these but he was enjoying the open spaces & stairs..yes, lotsa stairways within the building but u can always opt for the lift too *wink*

    Replica chairs, 1 of the 2 link bridges that connect the former Supreme Court & City Hall buildings
    as well as parts of the original architecture of the buildings.

    Originally, a circular law library lies beneath the smaller Rotunda dome of the former Supreme Court
    (viewed from Supreme Court Terrace)...coooool!!!

After so much walking, it was time for TEABREAK! We happened to chance upon some cube-like enclosures (in front of the main entrance of the Keppel Centre for Art Education) where some families were resting. Seeing this, BB climbed into an empty one & started monkeying around..lolz! We had the yummy traditional custard buns & pie we brought from Chinatown earlier but Daddy-O was still hungry so we decided to try out the Owl cafe which is just round the corner. The chicken strips in the prawn noodles were kinda Atough & soup was a far cry from our fave Beach Road Prawn Noodles but at least the 3 prawns were fresh & of a decent size. 

Once recharged, BB cldn't wait to enter the Keppel Centre for Art Education (L1, City Hall Wing) where children can discover art through imaginative play. We noticed several huge rooms situated along the walkway so we decided to explore all of them. We were captivated by the interesting artworks of homes in the sky, buses & boats hanging from the ceiling of the Project Gallery so we purchased a $4 buses kit for BB to build his own miniature versions. Both the big & small boys got to work immediately so they were done in no time at all.

Next, we came to the Art Playscape which features a fantastical play area, The Enchanted Treehouse by Sandra Lee whose whimsical works bring the wonder of fairy tales, children literature & nursery rhymes to life through elaborate, intricate drawings. Here, LOs can explore a magical forest, roam through a labyrinth & even survive a treacherous river. I feel like I've entered the world of 'Alice in Wonderland' & BB was completely ecstatic! He was running all around, crawling the holes, climbing up the ramp & downtvthe stairs with other kids. There're also long benches where one can sit & read one of the books provided but that did not happen for us with the 'Energizer' boy who had found an outlet to burn off his unlimited energy..hee ;)

We skipped the Children's Museum that allows you to explore handling art tools & materials or purchase a special activity kit to create a pocket sculpture as BB had spotted the playroom he had been searching for next door. 

The playroom includes magma tiles, cardboard bricks & colouring areas for the kids to entertain themselves. BB loves building with the bricks & knocking them over gives him much pleasure too >.< 

We had intended to just wait out the rain then proceed on with our planned programme of bouncing time at Art-Zoo, kite flying followed by the i Lights Marina Bay 2017. Just when we were about to leave, we realised it had started to pour again. However, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise as we actually got to explore more parts of the gallery & found more fun areas for BB. Therefore, we procceded to the Ticketing Office to get our free tickets before backtracking to where we had stopped just before taking our break earlier. 

The Chief Justice's Chamber has a very solemn yet peaceful atmosphere & we only had some quick glances of the art pieces on display as BB were not really into them yet.

Exiting the gallery, we came to the Former Supreme Court Historical Lobby then proceeded down some steps & an olden days' police post was standing right in front of us at the Former Supreme Court Foyer. So nostalgic! Bet you didn't know that a time capsule containing Straits Settlements currency & newspaper, to be opened in the year 3000, lies underneath the original eight-sided foundation stone ;)

Evening was upon us so we mentally-prepped BB that we would be leaving for dinner then. On the way to the carpark, a cute-looking poster greeted us at L1, City Hall Foyer & who can resist taking a peek inside Who's in the Woods, right? So, inside the interactive platform we went & we sure weren't disappointed! All three of us, yes Daddy & Mummy included, each found a monitor & put our creative juices to work ^.~ After creating your masterpiece using different colours & patterns, you can even send a copy to your email before sending it onto the gigantic screen. Nothing beats seeing your animated creature walking across the day-to-night digital forest-scape & interacting with other animals.

Just as we thought we are able to leave finally, something colourful caught BB's eyes again. He dashed towards the Art corridor & wasted no time in fitting the colourful chips into the various slots, completely ignoring the colour & distance challenges. Well, at least he enjoyed himself immensely in the process. Voyage is actually a large scale, colourful puzzle artwork by Twardzik-Ching Chor Leng who has received the President's Young Talent Award in 2009. It develops curiosity, imagination & tactile sensibilities in younger visitors. One can learn about colour theory by observing the interplay of colours, patterns & rhythms.

The National Gallery Singapore never fails to surprise us around every corner & we'll definitely be back. Sad to say that while doing some research during the writing of this blog post, I saw the temporary closure notice of the Project Gallery, Children's Museum & the Art Corridor from 13 March to 19 May :'( However, this means that we can all look forward to a brand new experience from 20th May 2017!!!


  1. So much activities to entertain the little ones, and best of all FOC :)
    Love how stately Supreme Court can bring forth such an enriching experience.

    cheers, Andy

  2. Our last visit to the the gallery was last year and we missed the Keppel Centre for Art Education. Its great that there are always interesting activities for families . Lovely post!

  3. We visited National Gallery some months back. Loved the place and kids enjoyed a lot there.

  4. Such a beautiful building. We visited when it was first opened to public. It's been awhile, we really should visit again soon.

  5. National Gallery is a beautiful place and we too visited a couple of months back for some activities.

  6. Oooh, have you attended their building tours? Those are very child friendly.

  7. Yes we are familiar with these and every time we read about it, it always reminds me that we truly have a world-class many gems of activities to engage kids and families. Thanks for reminding me...time for another visit!

  8. I have never been to the National Gallery Singapore, it looks so interesting! I am definitely planning a trip there with the kids too.

  9. Love it. Let the kids smell the fresh air and see the beauties of the world. Stay safe. Live your life in color. Pax.