From 20th May – 8th October 2017 the Children’s Biennale is taking over the National Gallery of Singapore. It’s a brilliant celebration of the world of art and creativity all with the young and young at heart in mind. So of course we had to go and see what it’s all about! Typically the words “art gallery” fill me with dread when it comes to the kids. Who finds pleasure in an afternoon spent non-stop shushing and hissing threats at kids with zero appreciation or patience for art? Not me. Someone somewhere knows this feeling oh too well, clearly, because the Children’s Biennale is anything but boring. And, for the most part, our afternoon was shush free.
Top Tips For A Successful Trip
- Whilst kiddies under 7 are free (as are all Singaporeans and PR’s), adults have to purchase a gallery ticket. At most this will cost you $20, however concession prices are available (for a 25% saving be ready to present your KrisFlyer ID. Don’t have a KrisFlyer ID? Sign up here– it’s FREE). Tickets can be purchased at the basement counters or online, and the Gallery accepts cash and major cards.
- Remember to pick up a Children’s Biennale Art Pack whilst picking up your tickets. They cost $5 each but are worth waaay more when you consider what you get: beautifully illustrated activity cards that correspond with the art works, a sheet of stickers for “The Obliteration Room” (which will set you back $2 a sheet if bought separately), a Children Biennale Gallery map, a kiddie pass on a lanyard, and a rainbow pencil all in a handy little folder. BARGAIN!
- Take a camera. Duh, I know. But there are so many brilliant photo op’s (aka Insta-shots) throughout the Gallery that you will be kicking yourself if you haven’t charged your phone or grabbed your camera. The Gallery is also really pro-photo’s (taken for non-commercial reasons and without using a flash/selfie stick/tripod) and has several social media hashtags on the go (#ChildrensBiennale is the one).
- There is quite a lot to see, and it’s possible to spend a chunk of time exploring only some of the art works. So plan your time wisely, and make time for snack breaks. Being a culture vulture is exhausting, especially when you’re mini. We got about half of the exhibits ticked off in an afternoon, plus coffee and cake, and there were still tired cries as we left.
- Whilst the Children’s Biennale is the main attraction, don’t forget about about the updated Keppel Centre for Art Education. This is an area of the gallery that is home to permanent kiddie focused activities and exhibits on Level 1. It’s the place to head to when little’s need to let off steam with space for them to run around (and a coffee shop conveniently close by).
- There is one exhibit – The Bridge – that should come with two warnings. Firstly, it might induce some very tight hand holding from little people as they step out on a glass bridge over – what they think – is some sort of bottomless pit. Obviously it’s not actually bottomless and is all an illusion using mirrors. Here come’s the second warning, you’ll be walking over mirrors so maybe avoid if you’re wearing a dress or skirt and don’t fancy flashing your skimpies.
How To Get To The Gallery
Taxi: Drop-off/pick-up point is to the side of the gallery on Coleman Street. There is a designated area off street, so if you have little’s to get in/out, pushchairs, bags etc, you have the space and safety. If ordering an Uber or Grab be sure to specify the Coleman Street entrance though, there’s a crazy one way system in this area and if they miss the turn there’s a big block to go round.
Public Transport: The closest MRT is City Hall, and you can walk from the MRT station to the gallery almost entirely undercover via the Art Connector. Other nearby MRT’s include Clarke Quay and Raffles Place. Being so central the gallery is well served by buses. Depending on which route your bus takes you might arrive at the Padang Atrium entrance (instead of the Coleman Street entrance).
When To Go
The National Gallery and Children’s Biennale are open everyday:
Sun/Mon/Tues/Wed/Thurs from 10am until 7pm
Fri/Sat from 10am until 10pm
Admission closes 30mins before the advertised closing times. Admission hours may vary during Public Holidays. Please check the National Gallery website for updates.
The Children’s Biennale is on from 20th May 2017 until 8th October 2017. Other exhibitions may vary, please check with the National Gallery.
Other Useful Information
There are cash machines within the gallery. They can be found on level B1, to the rear and right of the ticket counters.
Strollers are permitted in the gallery, however during busy periods you may need to park it.
No food or drink is permitted in the galleries. There are child friendly cafes available.
There are toilets throughout, ask a staff member for directions if needs be. Signage is good though.
Some of the activities request a donation for use of art materials. Take a stash of $2 notes.
If you plan on visiting the Gallery more than once it might be worth investing in Membership. Anyone can sign up, find out more here.
We love the additions to the National Gallery. In fact, I think this might be our favourite day out now it’s so hot outside. See you there!