Today I took my son to the Jacob Ballas Garden in the Botanical Gardens. It is Friday and I wanted somewhere quiet and outdoors as he is off school with a viral infection. We both go stir crazy cooped up inside for more than a day, so it was great to get out,even if the sky was threatening rain.

And we really did have the garden to ourselves. This is good and bad with small children. Of course I didn't want Ben spreading his germs so it was perfect for today, but a children's garden without children is a little sad.

Ben was excited to revisit the tree house, but without his sister to explore with, it was a quick shoot down the bright orange slides, then off again. We explored the maze, but discovered that the internal gates were configured so that all paths lead to dead ends and we had to leave the way we came. I don't know if this was intentional, but it defeated the purpose I felt.

It is a very pleasant garden, and very calm and peaceful during the week with plenty of shade in the form of little huts as well as lovely big trees. Today it felt a bit deserted with no kids splashing in the water play area, only abandoned watering cans lying around, no one playing in the sanded play area, and no children enjoying the herb garden. I'm sure tomorrow will be another story.

When I last wrote about the garden back in October 2007, I was quite glowing about the little cafe at the gates of the Garden. Alas the standard of food here has deteriorated and there was nothing much apart from sandwiches that appealed. Gone is the 'nice brown rice' and different types of pasta. It is now the usual kids' diet of nuggets, chips and pizza. I ordered cheesy nachos in desperation, and was given a bowl of corn chips with a small dish of some sort of warm processed runny cheese to dip the chips into. There are plenty of drinks and icecream to choose from, so if you're coming to the Botanical Gardens for the day, I would recommend packing a picnic and finding a shady spot to enjoy.

The National Parks Board hold various tours and workshops in the Garden- go to their website for details.

If you are driving or cabbing it, there is an entrance to the Garden via Evans Road, close to Bukit Timah. Look out for a small sign, then turn left and head into the NUS, not right as this will take you back to Bukit Timah. There is a small carpark, so get there early.


Anonymous said... @ April 29, 2008 at 12:56 AM

Why would you bring your child to a public place when he has a viral infection? You posted that you didn't want him spreading germs, but how is he supposed to manage that if he is using all the public facilities? Even if there were hardly any kids there that day, there could have been one or two who could have caught what he had. I just don't get it. I don't really care if you have cabin fever after a day of staying in the house or not. It's irresponsible for you to bring your child to the Children's Garden when he could spread his germs.

Milly said... @ April 29, 2008 at 4:51 AM

Hi anonymous,
Thanks for your comment - you have a valid point. I felt it was safe to bring my son to a public place because, as I mentioned in the post, he was RECOVERING from a viral infection. He was not sneezing, coughing, and he didn't have a runny nose. He was not in close proximity to any other children, as I knew would be the case.

Lulu Kat said... @ November 1, 2008 at 11:12 PM

Personally I think the open air and a garden is a perfect place for children to recover from illness. The idea of keeping kids and mums cooped up until they show no signs of illness is very unrealistic and not good for anyone's health. Remember mental health is equally important as physical health, I bet you both felt much better after a play in the park.

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