5 Free Activities To Do In Singapore With Your Family And Friends

Looking for great activities that won’t burn a hole in your pocket? You’re in luck because there are plenty of free, fun events and programmes organised by Singapore’s public agencies that you can join.
Singapore’s public libraries
NLB’s On Paper exhibition, running till March 22, showcases 150 paper-based artefacts that tell the story of Singapore’s early history.

Literary lectures and exhibits

Singapore’s public libraries have long been more than just places to loan books and read. The National Library Board (NLB) offers a plethora of programmes for the whole family, including educational talks and lectures. For example, the How to Fall in Love with Classics lecture series celebrates the literary classics that are well-loved by readers all over the world. The session on April 30 will cover Sonny Liew’s The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye. Book your seat here.

Also, be sure to catch the roving exhibitions at a library near you as well as the permanent and seasonal ones at the National Library at Victoria Street. Browse through the entire list of NLB events here.
Sonny Liew viewing his window
Get insights into Sonny Liew’s award-winning graphic novel at Dr Gwee Li Sui’s upcoming lecture for the How to Fall in Love with Classics series.

Feathered friends

From the white-collared kingfisher to the oriental pied hornbill, more than 400 bird species can be found in Singapore. Learn about Singapore’s birds and the local birding scene at the “The Art of Birding – A Nation’s Fascination with Birds” exhibition. You’ll find birds depicted in different styles by artists, and learn where the best bird-watching spots are around the island. Watch a video about bird experts Chris Hails and Frank Jarvis, who together published the book Birds of Singapore. The exhibition is open daily from 9am to 6pm at the CDL Green Gallery, Botanic Gardens Heritage Museum, except for the last Tuesday of the month, till March 31.

Find out more about the exhibition and linked activities here.

Illustrations of long-legged waterbirds
Illustrations show the long-legged waterbirds that can be found near freshwater wetlands.
Map for spotting the birds in the island
An interactive display shows the best places around the island for spotting photogenic birds.
lCDL Green Gallery
The exhibition is held at the CDL Green Gallery, an eco-friendly building near the Botanic Gardens’ Cluny Rd entrance.

Maritime trails

Singapore had a rich maritime history even before the arrival of the British. The Singapore Maritime Trails by the Maritime and Port Authority retell the fascinating story of progress within Singapore’s maritime industry, starting all the way back from the reign of the Singapura kings. You’ll get to visit important local maritime heritage sites and uncover maritime trade activities from the past along the route. Three different trails follow the themes of “Our Heritage”, “Our Progress” and “Our Legacy”, and take place on the first, second and third Saturdays of the month respectively. Set sail for a morning or afternoon of discovery by registering here.

Trail guide guiding the tourist
An MPA Maritime trail guide points out a section of a 40m-long mural behind Thian Hock Keng Temple, featuring Hokkiens arriving at what used to be Telok Ayer Bay.
Launching Maritime Trail 3
Mr Baey Yam Keng, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, after launching Maritime Trail 3.

Get immersed in greenery

Prefer to go at your own pace? Get close to nature by going on easy, do-it-yourself walks at parks and green spots around the island. All you have to do is download the trails designed by National Parks Board from its website and you’re all set. To help you navigate, each guide comes with a clearly labelled map with points of interest to look out for. They even advise how much time you need to complete the trail.

If you prefer some guidance, check out this handy list of guided walks, tours and other fun activities for the whole family.

Our multi-religious heritage

Did you know that Singapore’s oldest Jewish place of worship, the Maghain Aboth Synagogue, is served by a family of Hindu custodians and cooks who have mastered kosher cuisine? Learn about such community interactions on the National Heritage Board’s Harmony Walks, a series of three guided tours that highlights what Singapore's various religions and communities have in common. The first of three trails takes you to seven religious institutions in Queen, Waterloo and Bencoolen Streets. The walks take place on Saturdays at 9am, Sundays at 4pm and the last Friday of every month at 4pm. Two new Harmony Walks for the Telok Ayer and South Bridge Road areas will be announced later in 2020. Register for the guided walks here.

Oldest Jewish synagogue in Singapore
Maghain Aboth Synagogue at Waterloo Street
The first Straits Chinese Methodist Church
The Objectifs building at the junction of Middle Road and Waterloo Street was known as the Middle Road Church, and was also the first Straits Chinese Methodist Church.
Sri Krishnan Temple at Waterloo Street
Sri Krishnan Temple at Waterloo Street
  • POSTED ON
    Mar 3, 2020
  • TEXT BY
    Muneerah Bee
  • PHOTOS BY
    Courtesy of respective agencies
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