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Earlier this year, I was convinced that our tiny island country Singapore has reached its saturation point for indoor playgrounds. We saw the closure of many indoor playgrounds, including some favourites like Hokey Pokey Millenia Walk branch and Polliwogs Robertson Walk and East Coast Park branches.
But as the year drew to an end, we suddenly saw new indoor playgrounds sprouting out again! First it was Little Planet Playland, and now Aquarius Cove. Aquarius Cove is located at SAFRA Carpenter Street near Clarke Quay MRT. And if you are a fan of indoor playgrounds like me, you would know that Clarke Quay area is pretty competitive – with Royce Kids Gym and The City located at Liang Court.
Fortunately for Aquarius Cove, they are not exactly in direct competition with Royce Kids Gym and The City – whose focus is on pretend play. Aquarius Cove is purely for active play. (Not sure what’s the difference between pretend play and active play? Start by reading this post!)
After chatting with Jasmine, the lady behind Aquarius Cove, I found out that the strange choice of location at SAFRA Carpenter Street was because their family kind of runs Qian Xi group (yes the Qian Xi group of restaurants that has been around for almost 20 years). And Qian Xi group essentially runs the whole SAFRA Carpenter Street building, starting from the restaurant on the first story right up to the lounge on the sixth floor. Aquarius Cove occupies the 5th floor.
Why the lengthy introduction?
Because I was invited to a free visit and I owe it to the owners to do some explanation. Because if I were to review Aquarius Cove as an indoor playground per say, I would be very puzzled over their whole concept. Firstly, Aquarius Cove is the SMALLEST indoor playground ever. So small I’m not even sure I should consider it to be an indoor playground. Secondly, it is located at a place where NOBODY would ever walk past. But understanding that it is actually part of Qian Xi’s operation of the entire building, it started to make a bit more sense to me, which I would explain at the end of the post when I talk about party packages.
Aquarius Cove Play Area Review
But since they are open for free play like any other indoor playground, let’s first review it as an indoor playground. The active play area was built around an underwater theme. (Hence the name AQUARIUS cove.) You get your tunnel in the shape of a submarine.
There was a little ‘observation deck’ at the end of the tunnel. Reminded me of Polliwogs at Vivocity.
There was a small slide leading into the ball pit. The ball pit was super deep and full of balls by the way. It was one of the best ball pits around imo.
Little MY couldn’t resist joining in at the slide and had some difficulty getting out of the ball pit because it was so deep! But really, that’s what makes it fun.
MF could totally bury himself inside the ball pit. See the photo below… Can you find MF?
Oh, he was inside those balls alright. Peek a boo!
And beside the ball pit was a rock-climbing wall – which MF climbed up with ease.
And the best part of the rock-climbing wall was not the climbing up. It was the jumping down – into the deep ball pit! I lost count of how many times MF climbed up and jumped down. He just went over and over, like the pic below:
And that rounds up all there is to the active play area! It was that small. Made my job reviewing the playground so easy yah? Okay okay, that was not the end.
Moving on, there were some Singkids-style structures beside the active play area. The kids started with the boat – because it was nearest to the entrance. Not exactly a novelty – pretty sure I saw this at Singkids Vivocity before.
The boat rocked back and forth and played some music – which the kids could sing along to. And they were like, “I like this song!” After a while, the kids decided to not just sit inside the boat, but the climb around the boat – while it was swaying. These boys were ready to become frogmen when they go to NS! (Okay, I watched too much ‘Ah Boys to Men’.)
Just beside the boat was an automated merry-go-round. Aww… look the boys sharing a dolphin. Made me feel for a split second that having two boys ain’t such a bad thing.
Okay, that lovey dovey moment did not last long. MF was up on his feet right after that, swinging from dolphin to dolphin to catch up with the little brother sitting on his favourite pink dolphin.
The fact that MY insisted on sitting on the pink dolphin, and ONLY the pink dolphin, slightly disturbed me. Have I been bringing him along on my Hello Kitty crazes too often?
Next, we moved on the the Hamster ball thingy – again not new. You can find this at Singkids Changi Airport.
MY had a super good time spinning his elder brother around. And MF seemed to enjoy tumbling around like clothes in a washing machine.
In the middle of Aquarius Cove, there was a large and somewhat empty space. The space was supposed to hold a bouncy castle – but it was brought out for maintenance on the day I was there. Seriously bummer. The bouncy castle would have upped the fun factor.
On the other end of the playground, you would find the party area. It was pretty spacious and great for large parties.
When there were no parties going on, the space doubled up as a resting area for parents. There were TV monitors for you to see what was going on in the play area.
They sold some drinks and finger food within the playground which you could purchase and consume at the party area.
If there was a party going on, no worries. There were some more benches along a small corridor next to the play area where parents could rest at.
Going to the toilet was a bit of a hassle. There was no toilet within the playground. You had to exit the door in the middle of the playground, put on the slippers provided and go down to level 4 to use the toilet there.
Thankfully, there was a diaper-changing table and nursing area within the playground itself.
Aquarius Cove Play Rates / Admission Fees
I found the $18 admission fee a bit steep, considering the size of the playground. The ideal age group to come here would be between 24 – 29 months. While they are mobile enough to move around the active play area on their own, but the admission fee is still $10.
If your children are 30 months and above, I recommend you grab another friend or two to visit together, sharing the package of 4 visits for $50.
If you are looking at hosting a typical indoor playground party for your kids and their friends, you can find the party package details on Aquarius Cove’s website.
However, if you have tried hosting baby showers or first birthday parties that involve a lot of adult relatives, you would know that it is hard to cater to the needs of both the adults and children. This is where Aquarius Cove has an advantage. Recall my lengthy introduction about Qian Xi group running the whole building? This means that you can host a party of 40 – 60 pax at their private ballroom downstairs, while the kids are given access to the Aquarius Cove playground! And you know how adults usually dislike party food served at indoor playgrounds? You won’t have that problem here since the food will be provided by Qian Xi group. They even have halal food options!
I picked up a copy of their party packages and scanned them below for your reference. Click on the images to enlarge them:
I found the above packages pretty attractive. Imagine you are hosting say, a baby shower for 60 pax.
- You need to find a venue to accommodate all your guests. Typically renting a function room or chalet.
- Next, you would probably rent some equipment like bouncy castles to keep the kids entertained.
- You then need to cater food for all your guests.
If you add up the total cost of the above, it will easily cost you more than $2000. And you need to source for all the above service providers separately. While Aquarius Cove can do everything for you for $2000 nett. And the venue is pretty centrally located near Clarke Quay MRT.
Frankly, I am not sure I would even consider Aquarius Cove to be an indoor playground. The way I see it, it is more like a function venue. I see it as a huge function room with a play area, and I think it’s a great place for hosting parties.
As an indoor playground, for $18, you can definitely find bigger and more well-equipped playgrounds that are more value-for-money. But after visiting so many playgrounds, I have found that small is not always bad thing. There are advantages of a small playground, such as being able to keep track of your kids easily.
To the kids, they didn’t seem to care that the playground was small. MF was exclaiming, “This playground is FUN!” Sure, he had tons of fun jumping off the rock wall, sliding into the ball bit, swinging around the merry-go-round and tumbling around in the ‘hamster ball’.
So if you are looking for a nice and quiet place to let the kids run loose on a weekday (we were there on a weekday and there was nobody else around), this place would meet the purpose. But I would avoid going there on weekends because the place is simply too small.
The one thing I did not like was that they did not allow re-entry. Which essentially made unlimited play time on weekdays pretty redundant. I have never been a big fan of having my lunch at playground cafes, so not being able to go out for lunch and come back again later on defeats the whole purpose of unlimited playtime imo. If you want to maximise your visit on a weekday, I advise you to have lunch first before coming to play the whole afternoon. Of course, that’s provided your kids do not need afternoon naps.
Information on Aquarius Cove:
Address: 29 Carpenter Street, Level 5, Singapore 059923
Getting there: Cross the road from Clarke Quay MRT (NE5) and walk down Carpenter Street. Go into SAFRA Carpenter Street, walking through the restaurant. (Once you enter the building, you will be inside the restaurant. Strange, but you’re on the correct track.) Take the lift up to Level 5 and you will arrive at Aquarius Cove.
Contact Telephone Number: 6532 5550
- Mon to Fri 11.30am – 6pm
- Sat & Sun 10.30am – 6.30pm
Pin it up for later!
Looking for other indoor playgrounds?
Visit my Singapore Indoor Playgrounds page for complete listing and reviews of ALL indoor playgrounds in Singapore! Or jump directly to the reviews below:
Want to check out Aquarius Cove this holidays? We are giving away 5 play passes, 1 each to 5 lucky readers! Complete the steps below to stand a chance to win!
Step 1: Lock in your entry on Rafflecopter below:
Step 2: Leave a comment on this Facebook Post to give the apparatus below a fancy name! (E.g. “The Hamster Ball”. Okay, that’s not very fancy, I’m sure you can you think of something better! 🙂 )
Terms & Conditions:
- Giveaway ends on 25 Nov 2015 at 2359.
- Each play pass admits 1 child.
Passes are valid till 24 Jan 2016.
Play Pass valid for 2 hours play session only
Play passes will be mailed to the winners by normal mail. Neither Bumble Bee Mum nor Aquarius Cove will be responsible for lost mail.