Sunday, 22 May 2016

Naga family fun day as SAFRA Explorers!

This mommy is taking a break from writing this blog post as we've been busy packing, unpacking, moving..not once, not twice but 3 times in a span of 3 months!!! ***woahhhh***
So since Mr. Hubby aka daddy attended his first kid's media invite and had so much fun with the kids, this mommy suggested that he should write his 1st ever blog!!! A daddy blogger in the making perhaps??? Lols...

Written by Karthik Naga aka Mr. Hubby aka daddy #SiennaSkyler

As it was my first day with the Singapore parent blogger community, I didn't really know what to expect.  I had heard a lot of good things from Jamie about the community and was excited to meet them.  I was also eagerly anticipating my first visit to Punggol which I have heard is rapidly growing and expanding.  We have heard about the brand new buildings, malls and activities sprouting up in that area.

SAFRA also has just opened a brand new huge building in the area.  SAFRA is a recreational association with mainly membership for Singapore national servicemen, so it is neat whenever us non-Singaporeans get a chance to enjoy it as well!!!  They are generally huge buildings that have lots of activities for the family, and this one in Punggol has announced it has the first indoor water park in Singapore.  That itself was very exciting for me to visit with the family... but more on that later!

We arrived to SAFRA in the early afternoon and were greeted by friendly bloggers, many of whom Jamie already had some acquaintance with.  I didn't know any of them, but had heard of some of them.  One was the blogger that had made a beaded portrait of Skyler last year, which I was really impressed with!

Once we had a quick registration, we went to the first activity.  This was a painting activity at Artary, where the kids were asked to paint a vase and then the flowers. 

The parents helped the kids, especially with the 'non-painting' activities (cutting, tracing the basic shapes needed, etc).  

When it comes to painting, every kid thinks he/she is Vincent Van Gogh, and therefore, forget about helping them paint.  They just take a brush and start stroking away, mixing colors, and making a mess of it.  When Skyler was about 5 minutes into the activity, the paints had all become a dark blue... oops! 


Luckily they gave Sienna a new set of paint so she could be a bit more disciplined and not mix everything up.  She did a pretty decent job, especially since that was her favorite activity in school.  

Sienna, with her do-everything-herself attitude, even ran to the 'hair-dryer' and dried the paint so we could pack it into the to-go plastic bag.

Then we rushed to the next activity... pizza making!  
I, the American, was really looking forward to this activity.  We were all hungry at this point, and pizza is one of my favorite cures for hunger.  I was pleasantly surprised that it was taking place at Pizza Hut!  I didnt realize that Pizza Hut did this type of activity, and it was the first time I heard about it, even after decades of living in the USA.  

The activity itself was fun, and it is something that I feel every member of the family can enjoy.  

We were given the dough, and the toppings.  We had to put the toppings on the pizza in the right order, and spread it out so that it was even on the personal pan pizza.  We were helping Skyler to do this, and he really enjoyed it.  Sienna was able to follow the directions that the leader gave us, which allowed me to take some pictures and just guide her here and there. 

Once we were done, they collected our masterpieces and then the hardest part came... the waiting for the edible finished product.

While we waited, we went to the function room, and did our next activity: making a jelly fish.  They gave us half of a plate that the kids could decorate and then long strips of paper for the tentacles.  This was the activity that we did since the biking had to be unfortunately cancelled due to rain.  This was probably the least enjoyable activity, probably because we had pizza on our minds :)

After a very quick ceremony where the leaders gave each kid their Little Punggol SAFRA Explorer certificates for their successful completion of all the activities, and a few short speeches, it was time for dinner. 

The pizza we made turned out really good, but that was just a small part of it.  Garlic bread, chicken wings, Pepsi and a lot more pizza for the adults as well was sponsored by Pizza Hut!

With all the energy after a enjoyable meal, we were ready to take a "Splash at Kids Amaze"!  We still had more than 3 hours until Splash closed, so that was plenty of time, and we weren't feeling too rushed.

I know first hand how much my kids enjoy water parks.  When Sienna was younger, she had a one year membership at Port of Lost Wonder in Sentosa Island.  This was the perfect father-daughter bonding opportunity. I got to take her to the water park at POLW as often as I was able to, sometimes weekly, sometimes once in 2 weeks.  I was able to see her go from not even being able to walk on the shallow water without holding my hand, and not even wanting to try the smallest slides, to being able to run around by herself with daddy keeping up with her and going down the biggest slides time after time.

We are fortunate to be able to enjoy Splash during it's soft launch, before the rest of the country gets to.  So this is really a comparison between POLW and Splash, from my perspective.

Where I feel Splash and POLW are similar:
They both are catered to kids of all ages, and their parents.  There is no doubt you will see infants, and of course even some early teens when you go to either of these places.

They are safe.  There are numerous friendly 'life savers' standing around in the water and next to the slides to make sure they are ready to help any kid (or adult) in need.  They are also there to answer any questions, as needed.

They both have various ranges of slides, for the various age groups.

They both, unfortunately, have huge buckets fill up with water that get dumped (and I mean forcefully) at unknown intervals of time.  This was my one main problem with POLW.  Sienna has been dumped on with forceful down pours of water.  I dont find any benefit to it, and it actually seems a bit unsafe.  I haven't seen anyone get hurt by it, but I have told POLW that they could consider removing it.

They both, unfortunately, are slightly remote... as remote as you can be in Singapore.  Well, they are definitely not central.  While POLW is obviously quite a journey, being in a tiny island off of the southern part of the main Singapore island, Splash is at the northern tip.  It took us 3 MRT (metro/train) lines and a LRT (light rail) line stop to get there.  So unless you live in the area, both can be a little time consuming to get to.

Where I feel Splash is better than POLW:
Splash is indoors, the only (first) indoor water park in Singapore.  This means no sun, no tans, no sun tan lotion and less dehydration.  It also means we can stand to stay at the water park for much longer... which we did!  So for the amount of money one pays, the number of hours is probably higher at Splash due to the 'shade'.

Splash is bigger and more spacious than POLW.  There is more of everything that POLW has, and then things that even POLW does not have.  Plus the areas for parents to stand around is bigger.  It definitely does not feel as 'cramped' as POLW.

The slides are far better, bigger and faster!  There are more types of slides... the open air ones are for the littlest kids and, I have to say, were very fun!  My kids were begging for more, even though we went probably 10 times down them.  The closed slides are very long and fast.  I didnt dare take my kids down them, but I tried it myself and I flew down it very fast.  This would probably be for the much bigger kids.  POLW doesn't have slides this big or this fast, but they do have some fun slides for the young kids.

Splash is brand new and we are probably the first few people to enjoy it.  This is in the soft launch period so everything felt like it was untouched.  Even the showers were so clean and new, that I didnt feel like I had to do my normal 'public toilet routine' of not touching anything with my bare hands!
Although POLW has indeed kept its place clean, nice and welcoming, nothing beats brand new!

Where I feel Splash is worse than POLW:
The huge buckets of down pouring water are more forceful and more frequent than at POLW!  This is already something I despised at POLW and the few hours at Splash, I had to really protect Skyler from these buckets since it is anywhere from unpleasant to slightly dangerous for toddlers to get so much fast water poured on their heads.  Even though I shielded Skyler from it, he still cried every time, only to start laughing when I took him down the slide.  I really would recommend to Splash as well to eliminate this feature, but I'm not sure how many other parents agree with this.

Also, Splash has way too many more continual streams of water pouring/squirting/sprouting/dripping everywhere in the slides area.  This is to the point where it literally felt to me like we were in a torrential rainstorm just to get to the top of the slides.  This was honestly irritating to me, and I don't think my kids liked it that much either.  However, the slides were so good that we still put up with it.

It was a long and memorable day with the family, and we had only seen a very small part of SAFRA Punggol.  So I would definitely recommend checking it out, if not just for Splash, but also for the many other activities they offer people of all ages!!

Disclaimer: This is a Media invite. All opinions are solely our own.

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