The husband & I are not fans of crowded places. Hence he took me by surprise when he said “let’s go!” after I casually mentioned that Marine Cove, aka the “old” McDonalds at East Coast Park, just re-opened this week, with a mega huge playground to boot and that we should probably stay away especially on the first weekend of opening – much like the recently launched McDonalds’ Salted Egg Yolk Burger which have resulted in insanely long queues – annoying me aplenty for the last 2 mornings when I simply wanted to get my kids good ol’ shoestring fries and cup corn…
But of course, nothing could deter this “Eastside kid” who spent most of his life in the East with many fond memories at “East Coast Park Macs” despite my best attempts to suggest spending the day elsewhere.
And what d’ya know, arriving at Marine Cove at lunchtime – 12.30pm – actually paid off in terms of finding parking (we parked at carpark C3, with close proximity to the playground) and decent play space (the playground was relatively empty!).
And before you scream what an insane and irresponsible parent I am, potentially giving my family a heat stroke at the expense of avoiding crowds, the first thought the came to mind when I saw the playground was – PERFECT BIRTHDAY VENUE WITH GUARANTEED FUN, WITHOUT NEEDING TO SPEND TOO MUCH MONEY TO HOST EVERYONE!
As I was explaining myself earlier…the intention was to have lunch first at one of the many new eateries before playground time. But of course how often do our plans go as intended? The kids got so excited seeing the playground that they ditched their favourite skate scooters on the spot, and just ran towards the slides! And so I did the next best thing, which was to slap lots of sunscreen on them, have them drink lots of water to hydrate, make them wear their caps and sunglasses and most importantly, let them have fun!
And yes, I wondered the same too about the 3 main metal slides, especially under the unforgiving heat, not hot meh? They were definitely hot when I touched them, though it didn’t seem to deter the kids – Liam was happy to slide his bum on the hot metal slide for 4 consecutive times – save for one unhappy incident where the older kids behind him pushed and kicked their way down because they wanted to slide down faster. Parents with toddlers will be relieved to know that the slide at the little ones’ area is a plastic one. Ollie went up and down on his own about 10 times, and enjoyed it so much that it was challenging to get him to move on to play other stuff.
Things to note for parents with kids 4 years and younger: To get to one of the 3 main metal slides, you will have to climb up a rope ladder. For some reason, the stairs next to the rope ladder leading to level 2 – where 2 of the 3 slides’ entrances are located – was closed, so there’s no other way up except to climb the rope.
And here’s where I had a proud mama moment.
There are 2 rope ladders up to the slides. One leads directly to the entrances of the slides while the other takes you to the start of a rope bridge which you have to cross (as seen in the above photo) in order to get to the “main tower” where the slides are.
Right after completing his climb up the rope ladder, Liam froze after taking a few steps onto the rope bridge. The ability to look straight down beneath his feet scared him, fearing that he would slip through the squares of the “floor”, that our shouts of encouragement could not be heard. Our 4-year-old starting retracing his steps and wanted to climb back down the rope ladder only to realize that he couldn’t do so with so many kids filling up every possible gap on the rope ladder and us not being able to get close enough to him to support his climb down.
The husband was about to join the queue to climb up (yes, a queue started to form just to climb the rope ladder!) when we saw Liam slowly but surely overcoming his initial fear, conquering it with steady steps and a firm grasp on the rope! What a champ, he even managed to climb up to the tallest slide without a hitch despite the older kids all trying to overtake him from behind (and you could see several parents of younger kids starting to be a little frantic that they could only watch their kids from a slope – there’s no direct access to them once the kids are on the rope).
I was so proud of my firstborn that I teared.
During our visit to Marine Cove, we also took a stroll (17 minutes for a leisure stroll, 10 minutes if you skate scoot) to Parkland Green for lunch – it was the quietest we’ve seen since its opening – and went to the beach post-lunch for a much welcomed sand play.
This photo got me realizing that it’s been a long time since I took a couple shot with the husband…
And my favourite photo of the outing has got to be this family one taken by our super helper! Wished I had a camera to capture this in raw format though instead of relying on the iPhone, but I still love it nonetheless.
Despite the crowds and heat, would we still be back at Marine Cove in the near future? That’s for sure. I’m looking forward to having future play dates here and having some of that awesome-looking salad from their new salad bar, and desserts from the impressive range of cakes at McDonalds.
Want to find out more about Marine Cove? Get comprehensive information and ogle at prettier, clearer, better overview of the playground without photobombers and unbiased photos from these highly-recommended blogs:
The not-necessary-disclosure: This is not a sponsored post, but one I had lots of fun writing about.