Thursday, May 28, 2015

Family Day Out Under the Sun @ Adventure Cove Waterpark

Wow how time flies! The last time Daddy brought the girls out to Adventure Cove Waterpark (Click HERE) was in 2013. Since then, they have been raving about it and looking forward to the day we get to go back with Mummy. However, we never seemed to have time for that day, until.....

A year and a half later, the opportunity presented itself as part of the MOE Family Day promotion. Daddy took leave so we could visit on a weekday school holiday to avoid the crowds. The girls had grown since our last visit and we hoped that they would be able to try more slides and have different experiences.

We got there right after it opened at 10.00 am, quickly changed out and got ourselves a locker before heading into the Adventure River for a lazy float around. The girls found it difficult to lie in the tube as they were small and fell through it easily. To mitigate this, they sat on Daddy's and Mummy's lap as we floated lazily around the park. The ride provides a good summary of all the attractions at a leisurely pace. However, for those who are familiar with the park, the Adventure River also allows you to disembark at the attraction of your choice without returning to your start point.

The Adventure River takes us through a tunnel with marine fish and sharks swimming all around us.

We float by the Ray Bay, part of the park's Immersive Experiences where you can interact with the rays for a fee.

We let the currents send us through caves and grottos complete with lighting, sound and props to create a number of different environments and scenarios. Now and then we'd glide under waterfalls and there are sections of the river where the current is stronger.

We allowed the river to take us a complete round and got off near our start point at the locker area. The giant wave pool, Bluwater Bay, caught our attention as the loud music and crashing sounds signalled that the large waves were activated. Mummy accompanied the older girl who was overwhelmed with excitement, while Daddy played the role of photographer with the younger girl who was intimidated by the large swells.

Very happy campers getting tossed around. This was significant as the last time we were here, the girl did not dare to try this. How quickly they change as they grow up! 

We were glad to have arrived early on a weekday. All the rides had no queues and we could try each slide as many times as we wished. The last time we were here on a weekend, each ride cost us 15 minutes in the queue.

Riptide Rocket: a roller-coasting experience in a tube. Mummy was simply 'washed-out' by our first slide and we could hear her screams long before they splashed down at the exit. The kid however, simply wanted to go again.

The Pipeline Plunge was up next, and it was Daddy's turn to take the all excited girl.

Splashing down after an exciting ride in the Pipeline Plunge with Daddy. So enjoyable we get to do it again.

Mummy's turn to accompany the kid on the Tidal Twister.

It was a pity that the younger girl did not meet the height requirement for the Pipeline Plunge and the Tidal Twister. Mummy and Daddy felt these were milder than the Riptide Rocket and something she could enjoy, but the height requirements were stricter.

The weather alternated between baking hot and occasional clouds. To cool off, the girls picked out ice-creams. One tip when visiting the park is to carry some cash with you, either in a small purse or as in Daddy's case, a pocket with a zipper. There are many snack kiosks selling food and drinks and you don't want to have to return to your locker to get your cash. In addition, opening the locker ends the rental.

Ice-cream for the kids.

Popcorn chicken for the adults.

Don't fill up those tummies just yet though. There are still lots of rides to try and many of them are too exhilarating for a full stomach. This next ride is one such example: the Duel Racer!

Weeee! Water sliding at it's purest. And as if the steep plunge was not enough, how about a mat to reduce friction and make it faster? The older girls had a few tries. Here, she races a total stranger.

"Can I have another go?"

Sirens, music and the wave pool calls once more

This time, she dons a life jacket and is able to enjoy being tossed around on the surface even in the deep end.

Seahorse Hideaway: a shallow wading pool to relax. The girls had fun splashing around in between the other rides.

During our last visit, the Big Bucket Treehouse was quite a hit as it was a safe climbing and sliding environment complete with spontaneous splashing buckets and water-cannons. The water slides were mild enough for younger kids to enjoy.

Sister bonding time!

Mother-daughter bonding time!

All the splashing action at the Big Bucket Treehouse.

Bring along a waterproof camera to capture all the fun and action if you have access to one. Alternatively, if you find holding on to a camera too troublesome, there are many photographers that will help you take photos along the way. Retrieve your photos at the exit in the gift shop using a serial number the photographers will issue to you on a wrist band. Do be warned, however, that should you fall in love with any of the photographs, you can take home a print out for $35 per piece.

We left the park in time for a late lunch after about three and a half hours play. Although not very long for a visit to the park, we managed to pack a lot in in as there were no queues.

A 'Build Your Own' salad and add a soup for a light hearted set meal.

The girls were tired and napped in the cab on the way home after a healthy salad lunch at the Cedele's at Resorts World Sentosa, and we were all slightly sun-baked. It was good quality time together, and with schedules getting more and more packed as the girls get older and more involved with school and other commitments, it was a nice chance to get together under the sun and grow closer.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Chicken Up @ Century Square, Tampines

Some say Singaporeans are united by the diversity and innovation of their cuisine. For us, food is definitely a 'language of love' and hearty meals are opportunities to bring us closer together.

I brought K to Chicken Up at Century Square after school one day. As it was a weekday and before lunchtime, the restaurant was not crowded although the crowd started streaming in quickly around 12.30 pm. We ordered Topokki With Cheese and Seafood ($20) and one of their in house specials - the Ganjang Chicken Wings (4 for $12). We wanted to order more chicken wings but the waitress advised us not to as the serving might be too big for just the two of us. It was good that we took her advice because we had difficulty finishing what we ordered.

Deep fried to maximum crispiness... sinful and full of flavour, just the way we like love it!

We love chicken wings very much. I peeled the chicken for K because they were freshly fried and were too hot for her to hold. The Topokki was hot and spicy, just the way we like it. I did not fancy the unique mussels and scallops mixed in, but they would have been perfect for Daddy if he was here.

The creative Koreans know how to make their deserts both visually appealing and tasty. We shared the Watermelon Bingsu - hollowed out watermelon with powdered ice and ice-cream.

If only Daddy was here. Well, that just means we had to come back with everyone else right?

Back again on a Sunday for dinner after a visit to the library, we got there around 6.30 pm and there was already a queue outside the restaurant. Chairs are provided in the queue outside the restaurant so we could rest our tired feet. The restaurant has both indoor and outdoor dining areas. We chose to sit outside to avoid a longer wait and it was good that they had two big cooling fans to disperse the heat. However, our table was just in front of the cooling fans so the kids had to sit facing the fans just so that our hair would not get into our mouths as we eat. Mummy had to eat with a hand holding her hair as the fans were just behind her She wished she could enjoy the meal properly.

We ordered my favourite Ganjang Chicken Wings again and this time the kids had a kid's set each. It comes with a watermelon or orange juice and a coloring activity book. Mummy ordered the Yangnyum Chicken Wings (4 for $12) and Japchae ($12).

The Japchae came first. K took such a liking to it that she finished half the plate before her kids' set arrived. It was seasoned with sweet soy sauce.
Yangnyum chicken wings - sweet sauce and seasame seeds. We preferred the original Ganjang wings as these were a little on the sweet side, and the skin-soaked sauce took away some of the dry-crispy feel.

The kids' set had this curry-rice option which is quite a hit with the older girl.

For the wing lovers among the kids. The sets were served with cheese-stuffed spring rolls that were simply yummy.

The colouring set that came along with the kids' meals.

And the bones get tossed in here!

What's dinner out without desert? We opted to share the Melon Bingsu and a Mango Bingsu.

Massive! We had difficulty keeping the melon spheres on while we tucked in and a couple of them rolled off and onto the table at first. Good thing Daddy was there to catch them and apply the 'five second rule'.

Pureed mango mixed in with a flurry of crushed ice and ice-cream.

I ordered a Coke along with my meal, and you know you've reached that milestone in life when the waiter chooses to share a Coke with...

Not the best way to encourage your 'forever young at heart' guests to return, but for the crispy wings between our teeth, we'll consider coming back next time.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Western Australia Day 12: Aquarium of Western Australia & Sorrento Quay

On our second last day in Australia, we decided to take it easy and enjoy the indoors to get out of the summer heat. We took a short drive down to Hillarys Boat Harbour, to visit the Aquarium of Western Australia (AQWA) and hang out at Sorrento Quay.

A tunnel walk-through inside Australia's largest single aquarium is one of the highlights for the family. This is AQWA's 'Shipwreck Coast' exhibit which features sharks, rays and turtles in a 'bottom of the sea' setting. 

Large rays up close as they swim alongside and over us.

A variety of large and majestic sharks. The aquarium allows guests to dive with them for a fee.

Turtles glide through the 'air' gracefully. What an adorable face.

We could step on an off the travellator as we marveled at the majestic creatures.

Artificial swim-throughs, caves and wrecks. Nothing beats the real thing, but this will do for now.

Jellies! Stingers! Call them whatever you wish, but they make a 'dreamy' spectacle as they toss around the deep like little astronauts in space.

The 'Far North' exhibit showcases the isolated tropical reefy lagoons of the remote north coast.

The Marmion Marine Park is a section of AQWA devoted to visitor interaction with marine life. At the roof-top, there is the touch-pool, stingray-bay and lagoon.

This is a view of the Shipwreck-Coast aquarium from the roof-top.

Stingray-bay! The rays come up close in the shallows and the visitors get a good look at their odd but adorable shapes.

The nursery is where rescued baby animals are nursed back to health before release. There were rays and turtles here.

Whale vertebrae. Is there a chiropractic anywhere? This was part of the Coral-Reef exhibit.

The girls wanted to add a little note about their experience at the touch pool, and so I let them write a paragraph on it:

"When we went to the touch pool, my younger sister was too scared to touch one of small sharks because she thought it would bite her. She loved the sea-cucumbers and was amazed when the sea cucumber changed shape. When we first saw Daddy hold the starfish we thought the starfish will bite him because the mouth was under it."

Visitors of all ages were engaged by the exhibit. There were Port-Jackson sharks, sea-stars, sea-cucumbers, mollusks, sea-urchins and the elusive lobster.

We made the effort to keep the creatures in the water even when we were touching them. This was to reduce the stress placed on it and still enjoy them.

At first, the girls were afraid to pick up the creatures. Daddy helped bring the creatures closer to them. After a little warm-up, they were ready to help themselves.

Oops, this fella is upside down. However, they are able to right themselves pretty quickly without assistance. Fun to watch, but perhaps stressful for the creature.

After rinsing our hands, we had a lovely milkshake from the AQWA Cafe and took some time to browse the adjoining gift shop.

It was time for a late lunch (and desert of course!). Sorrento Quay had the reputation of a happening bay for the young and old alike. We were not prepared to take advantage of the sand and sea, but decided to appreciate soak up the holiday mood and check out the shops.

Kids were somersaulting off this wooden jetty and families were cooling off in the safe swimming bay.

The scene resembles a water-park without the toys. A giant swimming pool perhaps?

The seaside town was quite crowded today.

Youths were hopping off the pontoons into the water to cool-off form the hot sun.

Our hosts had recommended the popular Little Caesars Pizzeria and we settled in quickly, got drinks and a couple of pizzas. The diner is classy and so are their pizzas. But kids are not always classy, and they often skip the sophisticated fare for the simple and sweet.

Pizza by the waterfront! Oysters Kilpatrick (top) and Smoked Salmon (bottom) were not the kids' cup of tea, but the potato wedges in sauce suited them just fine.

The little restaurant has a wide range of flavors so there is definitely a pizza that would suit your taste buds. Would definitely return for more the next time we visit and we would make sure to pack along our swimming gears for the dives into the water.