Newly opened in February 2016, Kranji Marshes is a world away from the typical Singapore city life. The 56.8-hectare marshland is one of the largest freshwater marshes in Singapore, and home to more than 170 species of birds, 54 species of butterflies, and 33 species of dragonflies.
On our visit, the songs of birds filled the air, occasionally punctuated by croaks and other interesting sounds. Peaceful and inviting, the Marshes are a good change from the usual activity-packed, high-tech man-made destinations that kids are more accustomed to.
Checking out dragonflies at the Kranji Gate entrance. Red, blue, green, yellow – we saw dragonflies in a myriad of colours.
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Kranji Marshes – Escape to Nature
The main man-made attraction at Kranji Marshes is the Raptor Tower, a 10.65-metre tall structure that offers a 360-degree panorama of the surround. It is only a one-km walk from the main entrance, easily achievable even with younger children.
Along the way, there are no themed playgrounds, no digital installations – just nature and two shelters. On paper, it doesn’t look like there’s much for the little ones – especially if they’re not wildlife buffs. However, you’d be surprised how interesting nature can be if only you’d give it a chance.
The spectacular view from Raptor Tower
Keep a Look Out
We witnessed a moth breaking free from a spider web (a good object lesson on not giving up), saw a bright orange lizard from a distance, and learnt about nest boxes and wildlife piles at the two shelters along the walking route. Also along the way to the tower is a sculpture of a baya weaver’s nest, complete with information panels that provide curious young ones with information on how the bird builds its nest.
It pays to keep your eyes peeled. On our visit, we spotted a woodpecker and a bright yellow oriole – thanks to tips from a couple of birdwatchers. We also saw a lizard eyeing a wriggly green worm, then making lunch of it.
While visiting Raptor Tower, don’t miss Kingfisher Burrow, an inconspicuous structure just a few steps away. An echoey surprise is in store when you step in under its arch.
Near the Raptor Tower, you’ll also find two lookout shelters – Moorhen Blind and Swamphen Hide. These enable you to observe marsh birds without scaring them away. Admittedly, sitting down to look out for birds quietly may be a bit of a stretch for active little kids, especially when it’s not that easy to spot the birds.
All in all, Kranji Marshes is a good nature spot where kids get a break from digital screens and artificial indoor lighting. Don’t expect it to be crammed with pre-designed activities. It is a place for you to explore at a leisurely pace and take time to bond as a family.
Tips for Visiting Kranji Marshes
Here are a few tips for a more enjoyable visit:
– Pack your own snack and water for the visit. Alternatively, you can buy drinks from the vending machine at the entrance. No food is available for sale at Kranji Marshes.
– Use an insect repellent or mosquito patches if you’re worried about bites.
– Cycling is not allowed in Kranji Marshes as it may disturb the wildlife. Leave your wheels at the Kranji Gate entrance and be prepared to walk.
– There is no lighting at Kranji Marshes, so visit in the day.
– Keep to the designated trails and respect the animals you encounter.
– Pets are not allowed in Kranji Marshes.
– To get there by public transport, take the Kranji Express bus from Kranji MRT Station, which operates daily from 8.30am to 5.45pm. Alight at D’Kranji Farm Resort and take a short walk to Kranji Gate. For those who drive, there is carpark with 20 parking lots. 10 motorcycle lots and 30 bicycle lots are also located at Kranji Gate.
– If you’re interested in visiting the core conservation area, which is open to the public only via free guided tours conducted once a month on Saturday evenings, register with NParks here.