Our little roving reporter, Elliott, heads to Punggol once again, this time to check out Happy Park, the new wet and dry playground that has just opened at Waterway Point.
Elliott getting his feet wet at a water playground has become something of a weekly ritual but this week, my little tiger was bursting with excitement because we were headed to Singapore’s newest outdoor playground at Waterway Point. New ground to conquer!
It’s located on an outdoor terrace of the second level of Waterway Point, the new-ish mall just opposite Punggol MRT station. You can get to it either via the outdoor escalators that lead up from the side facing the Punggol Waterway Park, or via the mall itself. Running alongside is a food court, which means that parents and caregivers of older kids who need minimal supervision can hang out in its air-conditioned comfort and enjoy a snack while they wait.
Happy Park is set against the beautifully tranquil backdrop of the Punggol Waterway Park, so riding up to it on bicycles is an actual option for the more athletic families. It’s also a great place for everyone to cool off after getting all sweaty on the trails, since half of the rooftop playground comprises a water play area.
Indeed, what truly sets this playground apart from others is that it has both a wet and a dry play zone. Not only can kids have a splash at the water play area, but they can also get their adrenaline pumping at the outdoor playground which features a wide array of fun activities.
The entire playground is obviously designed to complement the Punggol Waterway theme. It features undulating slopes and terraces, as well as a mini meandering river, not unlike the one in the surrounds of the mall. The floor is also entirely padded, so it’s not slippery and any falls would be cushioned.
Having a Splash
It was about 1.30pm when we arrived and the sun was out in full force. So it came as no surprise that Elliott headed straight to explore the wet play area first.
There are so many interactive play features that he was easily kept entertained. It didn’t even matter that he didn’t have a playmate along that day.
The lily pads in the lake, for example, were one of his favourites. Elliott had a ball of a time trying to get water to squirt out by jumping on them. Sadly, he’s still too much of a lightweight to succeed, so I had to step in (pun intended)!
Another highlight was a peculiar looking musical fountain. Every time you step on a spout, a note will play! Elliott just might have discovered his inner musician here.
One of the nice things about this water play area is that many of the water spouts are designed to shoot water out quite gently. No rude shocks to be had for the younger ones.
Still, it didn’t take long for Elliott to catch sight of the dry play zone. Before I had time to even blink, he sped off to check out the other half of Happy Park.
When Elliott tried to explore the dry play zone, however, he stopped short and started crying. The rubbery padded floor was scorching hot due to the midday sun. I rushed over to rescue him back to the safety of the wet zone.
I asked the security guards on duty if he could put his shoes on, but they said that Happy Park was a strictly barefoot area. I guess that’s because the kids run from the dry to the wet zones and back, so it’s the only way to prevent the water from getting too murky. Thankfully, he really did enjoy himself at the wet play area.
So unfortunately, Elliott was unable to truly enjoy the features of the dry play zone. It was a real pity because he would have absolutely loved them under different circumstances. I decided to bring him back a few days later, this time at around 4pm when the late afternoon sun was much kinder.
Ins & Outs
This time, Elliott was able to run amok and have fun. And have fun he certainly did. Check out these wicked looking slides. Unlike most slides that require children to climb up ladders and steps, they only have to make their way up the terraced slopes. So you can imagine how Elliott kept going up and zooming down these slides, all the while sporting a big grin on his face.
One of the hot favourites with kids of all ages are the mini ‘caves’ set into the ‘hills’. You can crawl through the ‘rabbit holes’ which lead to the caves.
Once inside, you can look up through ‘bubble’ windows and see the world from a different perspective.
Of course, a playground wouldn’t be much of a playground if it didn’t have swings and Happy Park certainly has plenty of those. The swings are designed in such a way that overzealous children wouldn’t be able to swing too high. There is a hammock which runs on the same principle, where more than one child can swing at the same time.
Ups & Downs
Another eye-catching feature of Happy Park are these strangely shaped funnels that you can spot from quite a distance away. They remind me a little of the Supertrees at Gardens by the Bay. At first glance, I thought they were just there for decorative purposes.
Upon closer inspection, there’s actually a rope ladder inside them for kids to unleash their inner monkeys. There are also taller tunnel slides that lead out of them, made more for the older kids aged six to 12. The ones within the water play zone also double up as water curtains, which is a fun touch.
If the rope ladders aren’t challenging enough, the spider web climbing frame should do the trick. There is also a suspension bridge for your child to up their balancing game!
Last but not least, there are built-in trampolines which are a relatively new addition to outdoor playgrounds. Able to hold several kids at once, this unique attraction is arguably the biggest highlight of the dry play zone.
Note that there is only one kiddie toilet stall, one changing area and a few taps for feet washing purposes at Happy Park. So brace yourselves for a long queue on weekends. There are also no diaper changing areas (venture further into the mall for those) and no showers there either. So you would have to wait till you get home before you can give your kid a proper scrub.
Sunblock is a must, although there are a fair number of shady spots scattered around the playground where you can take a break. If the sun does get too overwhelming, just dry off and head indoors. There’s an Alice in Wonderland-themed playground, similarly located on level two of Waterway Point. It’s also free, and open to kids up to 12 years of age.
Our connoisseur, Elliott’s rating:
Elliott had fun at Happy Park, apart from the heat factor underfoot on our first day. Still, it’s definitely a welcome addition to the local playground scene and certainly well worth a visit.
- There is a pleasant changing room just for kids with one kiddie toilet.
- There is no shower or diaper changing area.
- It’s closed every Wednesday for maintenance.
Opening hours: Daily except Wed, 10.30am – 9.30pm
Address: Level 2, Waterway Point, 83 Punggol Central, Singapore 828761