A kaleidoscope of colossal musical flowers, gigantic insects in rainbow hues, an enormous watering can that showers visitors with cooling sprays, and a towering tree house right out of the best children’s fantasy books – there is a new whimsical wonderland in town, right inside a shopping mall!
On the fourth floor of Westgate is a sprawling 11,000-square-foot outdoor playground, the largest of its kind in a shopping mall within Singapore. Aptly named Westgate Wonderland, the fantasy garden-themed play area has been a hit with young families since it opened in February 2014.
“[It’s] definitely a great place for the young shoppers to have hours of fun,” declared mother of two, Serene Seah, on her blog, Xavvy-licious .
Another blogging mom, Pooja Kawatra, founder of Mums and Babies parenting group, agreed, “[It’s a] good way to keep your kids occupied with outdoor activities.”
A Garden of Wonder
The larger-than-life garden-themed playground for children (aged two to 12) is the centrepiece of the family and lifestyle mall’s Family Zone on Level 4. Everything about it has been supersized, including its fun factor! A magnificent 10-metre-tall tree house takes centrestage, and is connected to the different coloured play areas – pink, purple and orange.
Nets and climbing structures beckon thrill-seekers to scale the tree to the winding slide at the top and a swaying suspension bridge. If these are not enough, there is a rock-climbing wall for the young ones to scale. Those who relish even greater action-packed fun will enjoy the labyrinth of nets, tunnels and slides built into an over-sized flower pot next to the tree house.
Adding to the excitement of being reduced to mite size are the gargantuan garden fauna that inhabit the grounds such as lady bugs and frogs.
There are plenty of interactive elements as well. Enormous flowers boast buds that are steel drums, inviting tiny hands to make music. Come nightfall, blue bells chime and light up when touched, while a canopy of spinning blooms creates a light show on the ground.
In the wet play area, a large watering can stands ready to douse the little ones as they side step jets of water that spring forth from the ground.
“At the onset of conceptualisation, we envisioned Westgate as a mall that goes ‘beyond shopping’ – a gathering place for the community and a place where families come to enjoy themselves and spend the day,” said Ms Wee Su Lin, Development Manager of Westgate.
The fact that the fun comes free adds to its allure.
“By opening Westgate Wonderland to the public for free, we hope to make world-class play facilities more accessible to our shoppers. This is also part of our commitment to make Westgate the premier mall in the west of Singapore,” said Ms Wee.
A Den Full of Fun
Extending the play zone is Kids Club on Level 5, one floor above Westgate Wonderland, which will be ready by the middle of 2014. The supervised play area for children aged four to 12 includes a 4,600-square-foot outdoor playground and an indoor club house.
Here, children can engage in creatively designed activities such as obstacle races and treasure hunts. On weekends, there will be thematic education activities such as arts and crafts sessions by enrichment school Genius R Us; story-telling by National Library Board volunteers; and screenings of popular children’s movies!
Simply spend a minimum of S$60 at the mall and your child can enjoy two hours of play at Kids Club. A minimum spend of $30 applies for Kids Club members. Shoppers who spend a minimum of S$250 (maximum three same-day receipts) are eligible to register for a free six-month Kids Club membership.
Kids Club is also a great place to drop your children off while you indulge in some retail therapy. Shoppers who plan to send their children to Kids Club before
embarking on their shopping can pay a cash deposit ($15 per child for non-member / $10 per child for Kids Club member), which will be refunded upon proof of receipts that meet the minimum spend requirements described above.
An Expertly-designed Wonderland
The experts behind Westgate’s two outdoor playgrounds on Level 4 and 5 are CT-Art, a Singapore-based playground specialist, COEN Design International Pte Ltd and Adirondack Studios. The latter is the United States-based designer responsible for theme park attractions such as The Simpsons Ride at Universal Studios Florida and Revenge of the Mummy at Universal Studios Singapore.
“(The concept of a themed outdoor playground in a shopping mall) is believed to be a first in Singapore, and possibly the whole of South-east Asia. With the playground’s larger-than-life imaginary landscape, we hope to create an inspired play space for our young shoppers and make their visit to Westgate more enjoyable and memorable,” added Ms Wee.
A Wonderful Experience All Around
Kids are not the only ones who will enjoy the wonderland experience. Moms and dads can have their share of fun too, when shopping for junior(s)! Apart from Westgate Wonderland, the Family Zone on Level 4 houses a wide range of retailers that cater to a child’s every need.
For the improvement of young minds, there is a host of enrichment centres such as I Love Learning Achievement Centre, MindChamps Reading & Writing, Stalford Learning Centre, The Ballet School and Yamaha Music School.
To pamper your little ones and give them a good workout, there are BabySPA and My Gym. Other kiddy needs, from clothes to books, toys and health supplements are covered as well at Avenue Kids, adidas Kids, Baby Elephant, Borders, Kiddy Palace, Mini Toons, Tom & Stefanie and Vitakids. Established Australian photography studio, Flash by Morffew, which specialises in children’s photography, has also set up its first branch in Singapore at Westgate. One floor up is My First Skool child care centre.
Since its opening in December 2013, Westgate has added buzz to the increasingly exciting shopping mall scene in Jurong East. Now, with Westgate Wonderland, families have even more reasons to shop, dine and indulge in wholesome family fun at Westgate. This wonderland of family fun is certainly to shoppers what flowers are to bees – a real attraction.