While the East-side has plenty of popular spots like Jewel, East Coast Park and Punggol Waterway Park, the Westies have their own fair share of fun things to do. The latest kid on the block is none other than Jurong Lake Gardens, which is made up of Lakeside Garden, Chinese Garden, Japanese Garden and Garden Promenade.

Image: Nparks

Although only Lakeside Garden is opened to the public at the moment, it would be foolish to assume that it would be a walk in the park for first-timers. Because of how long it stretches, knowing where and what the activities are is key for a good time.

From sporty activities and playgrounds to Instagram-worthy spots and more, we’ve highlighted some fun things you can do when exploring the heartland’s national gardens.

1. Anything sporty (on land and water)

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Cycling is one easy, breezy way to work those muscles and effortlessly tackle the trails. Head over to GoCycling, which is located near Chinese Garden MRT, where you can rent a single or tandem bike with prices ranging from S$6 to S$16 per hour.

Image: Nparks

Westies can rejoice as there is no need to travel to Kallang or Pasir Ris for water sports anymore. Have a splashin’ good time at PAssion WaVe @ the gardens, which offers kayaking, paddle boating and other activities. Check out the prices here.

If you can’t resist the urge to go for a dip, head over to the ActiveSG park at the gardens which offers swimming pool and even gym facilities.

Pro-tip: As it is situated towards the end of the gardens, we suggest taking bus 49 from Lakeside MRT for a much shorter travelling duration if you are soley hitting the pool or gym.

Image: NParks

Have a dog? Let them run wild at the Dog Run, which is a 2200sqm grass field with grass mounds that act as paw-fect obstacles for your furry best friends. Even if you aren’t a pet owner, we won’t judge you for simply admiring the adorable canine companions of others.

2. Fun for the kids (and adults)

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One glance at this mega-long slide will surely excite both kids and the young at heart. This is just one of 13 adventure stations available at Forest Ramble, which is a playground inspired by nature and the natural movements of freshwater swamp forest creatures.

You can also expect more fun-filled log swings, hammocks, climbing obstacles and more.

Image: NParks

For a fun yet educational time, bring your kids to Clusia Cove. At the water playground, the little ones can splash around and observe how the water mimics tidal patterns, surface ripples and directional currents that occur at coastal shores.

3. Take Instagram-worthy pictures

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If you’re looking to capture some ethereal-looking Instagram pictures, the Grasslands is a must-visit. You’ll be surrounded by a field of what looks like Lalang, but is actually a combination of grasses from six different species under the Pennisetum family.

The photo opportunities are as vast as the field; try experimenting with different angles to produce a variety of cool shots.

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If you’re wondering what the dome-like structure at the middle of the field is, it is actually a hideout that allows you to observe smaller bird species without startling them as they feed on the grass seeds.

Consider playing around with the open-concept and curves of the structure as you frame your pictures.

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A Lone Tree stands grandly in the distance, but upon closer inspection, you’ll realise that it is actually a sculpture. It was inspired by the industrial origins of Jurong, and is made with the recycled iron reinforcement bars that were saved from old park pathways.

Try taking both near and far shots with tree for variety!

4. Replenish your energy at Fusion Spoon

Image: Fusion Spoon

As scenic as the park is, tired visitors will be most delighted to spot Fusion Spoon, which is located near the eco-pond.

The bistro serves up a variety of Western or Asian dishes priced from S$6.80 to S$10.80, whereas some of their poultry and platters go for S$16.80 to S$24.80. Reviews of the food online indicate not to expect a gourmet-dining experience, but the options are plenty and fairly affordable.

Image: Fusion Spoon

If you’re craving something icy cold for your walk, check out the cute little ice cream cart parked at the bistro, which sells decorated ice cream sticks for S$5 each.

5. Look out for cute otters (and other wildlife)

Image: NParks / Kathleen Yap

It is always an otterly pleasant surprise when you manage to spot some wildlife. At Jurong Lake Gardens, you can find smooth-coated otters, which are the larger of the two species that habitat our sunny shores. They can grow up to 1.2 meters, and feature greyish-brown top coats with yellowish-beige undersides.

Image: NParks / Patrick K.T. Tan

Keep a lookout for birds like this Yellow Bittern, which typically can be found near the water. You might also chance upon squirrels, fruit bats, long-tailed macaques (a common type of monkey in Singapore), along with reptiles, insects and other wildlife.

After a long work-week, relaxing amongst nature is a good way to unwind from the stresses of adulting. Grab a buddy and make sure to slap on some sunblock before you head to Jurong Lake Gardens.

Feature image taken from NParks