For the most part, Esplanade Park is a quiet and unassuming park. Its peaceful atmosphere is usually only broken by the sound of tourists returning to their buses after visiting the nearby Merlion Park.
However, this wasn’t always the case.
In colonial times, this area was at the centre of Singapore’s social life. There was even a spot nicknamed “Scandal Point” because of all the town gossips congregating there. More recently, in the 1970s to 1990s, this was where Satay Club was located.
Nowadays, Esplanade Park faces the traffic-bearing Esplanade Bridge instead of foot traffic looking for satay. Even though overshadowed by the glitz and glamour of Marina Bay, it still oozes plenty of charm and character.
Joggers pass by the Park’s greenery en route to the Singapore River. It is also the location of one of the few children’s playgrounds found in the city.
Esplanade Park Playground
Esplanade Park playground is a rare public children’s playground in the heart of the city. Others nearby include a playground at Bras Basah, another at the Marina Bay City Gallery and Gardens by the Bay’s Far East Organization Children’s Garden.
The Esplanade Park playground brings back the element of play to the Civic District. It complements family-friendly activities such as the Car-Free Sundays organised by the Urban Redevelopment Authority at the Civic District on the last Sunday of every month.
The playground at Esplanade Park has two sets of swings – one set for kids between two to five years old and another set of swings for older children between five to 12 years old.
It also features a rather nostalgic-looking slide, seesaw and a spinning disc.
The metallic finish of the play equipment is in keeping with the nearby Esplanade Bridge and spikey dome of Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay which peeks out from behind the bridge.
Timber turtle sculptures and green lily pads look like they belong in the water nearby.
A unique feature of the Esplanade Park playground is a wall of bells beside the Esplanade Bridge.
Just a stone’s throw away from Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, the Esplanade Park playground provides a draw for parents and children to visit the historic park.
And there is the bell of the ice-cream man too.
Esplanade Park – A Place to Remember
Beyond the playground, Esplanade Park has long been a place to remember significant milestones in civic life.
The ornate Tan Kim Seng Fountain (we are probably more familiar nowadays with Kim Seng Road, named after him) was moved to the area in 1882.
The Cenotaph honours soldiers who lost their lives in World War I. It was unveiled in 1922 and later expanded to remember those who died in World War II.
In 1953, the promenade facing the water was renamed Queen Elizabeth Walk on the occasion of her coronation, and a year later, the Lim Bo Seng Memorial was revealed nearby on the 10th anniversary of the war hero’s death.
These sights give Esplanade Park a stately air, in keeping with the rest of the Civic District and buildings such as the Asian Civilisations Museum, Victoria Concert and Memorial Hall, and National Gallery Singapore.
Getting to Esplanade Park and Its Playground
Esplanade Park and its playground are located close to Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay. From Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, take the walkway under the Esplanade Bridge to reach Esplanade Park and its playground. Also close by is the War Memorial Park.