A jungle of family fun at Pavilion by the Lake
What makes a Family Day Out bright and beautiful?
The SAFRA Family Day Out at the Zoo on Sunday, 16 March 2014 was off to a bright and dry start. Joining the morning call at 8:30am was a stream of dads and mums, pushing and pulling babies in strollers, and toddlers in bright red wagons, accompanied elderly parents in a leisurely walk to the Pavilion by the Lake.
En route, they stopped to say ‘hello’ to Pygmy Hippo, waved at Grey Kangaroos, Wallabies and peered at White Tigers.
“Mr Bottle”, the magician, entertained the kids with his roving magic tricks using cards, strings and even a SAFRA member’s wedding ring!
Akbar’s family has been to the zoo several times, but he happily signed up nonetheless. He feels that “active fatherhood means being around for his daughter, spending time with her, teaching, guiding her and having fun”, much like spending his rest day at the zoo with daughter Nadia, 5 and wife, Genie.
For other dads like Alan Tang, the SAFRA Family Day was a good get-together outing with his wife and daughters, Hui Ting, 8 and Hui Xian, 5. It has been 6 years since their last visit and it was the 5-year-old’s first time there. Pheck Lian had been egging her husband to carve out more time to spend with the children. Participating in organized family events like this adds spice to their usual weekend routine of swimming or visiting the library.
Frederick Fun and his homemaker wife, Veronica were at the zoo with their youngest boy, Farrell, 10. Mum Veronica feels that an outing of this nature strengthens family bonds, and she much prefers spending quality time together rather than spending money on things.
The fun goes indoors!
Looming grey clouds eventually broke Singapore’s month-long dry spell and activities quickly moved under the Pavilion’s shelter.
Yet, the spirit of families, determined to enjoy the Sunday come what may, was hardly dampened.
A few parents went along with their kids’ ideas of pure fun: Stretching their hands out to enjoy water droplets falling from the roof.
Others settled down on their SAFRA mats and tucked into snacks.
Md. Reyhan, accompanied by wife, Megaselvia, and 1-year-old daughter, Reyhana, were delighted with the many treats and souvenirs in their goodie bag!
Mascots, mesmerising magic and musical games
The lion and elephant mascots brought cheer to many who shook hands and nestled in cosy hugs with them. At noon, “Mr Bottle’s Magic Show” continued to entertain and tickle.
Kids bent over aching in laughter at times, or else sat still, mesmerised by the magician’s clever tricks. Many raised their hands excitedly, offering to be the magician’s volunteers.
Deejay host, JK of Power 98 FM, mingled with the crowd, handing out premium popcorn to quiz participants. Parent-kid pairs were invited to participate in interactive games and three married couples sportingly agreed to be “tested” on their knowledge of their spouses’ habits, likes and dislikes, such as favourite hawker dishes!
Snaking queues and a day to remember
At the hand and face painting counters, parents formed snaking queues with their children, happily munching popcorn and sticky candy floss. Numerous families patiently awaited their turns to take home family portrait souvenirs, holding big “I Love My Family” placards.
Despite the wetness, Dad Eckson, was seen happily strolling around with his wife, Apple and daughter Summer, 2½, clad in eye-catching “Dad-Mom-Daughter” Family T-shirts.
When the rain finally stopped in mid afternoon, families leaped up enthusiastically to roam the expanse of the zoological grounds in free-and-easy fashion taking in sights, smells and sounds of the wild.
It was truly a Family Day Out for one and all to remember!
“Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.” ~ Michael J. Fox
About the Author: The Dads for Life Resource Team comprises local content writers and experts, including psychologists, counsellors, educators and social service professionals, dedicated to developing useful resources for dads.