Check out the kids-friendly facilities at Marine Cove

The centrepiece of the big playground is a tower modelled after a lighthouse (above). The Cosy Cocoon (left) with time-out space for children with special needs.
The centrepiece of the big playground is a tower modelled after a lighthouse (above).PHOTOS: MATTHIAS HO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
The Cosy Cocoon (above) with time-out space for children with special needs.
The Cosy Cocoon (above) with time-out space for children with special needs. PHOTOS: MATTHIAS HO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

After an $18-million revamp, the recreational enclave at East Coast Park boasts new eateries and a play area which also caters to children with special needs

A renovated Marine Cove at East Coast Park has thrown open its doors this week, welcoming visitors to spanking new eateries, as well as a big children's playground.

People probably know the recreational enclave by its former landmark, the McDonald's outlet, which has been torn down.

In its place is a new beach-style building, with more "gourmet" offerings, such as a salad bar.

Marine Cove had always been family-friendly, but the post- revamp version takes it to a new level, with five new restaurants that have children's play areas, more covered walkways, toilets for youngsters and bigger carparks.

The main draw for families is probably a 3,500 sq m playground (about half the size of a football field) catering to children of different ages and diverse abilities.

For example, one station features a Horizontal Roller - a low monkey bar set atop a roller belt. Children sit on the roller belt and pull themselves forward with the overhead bars. This caters to those with weaker lower body strength while building upper body strength.

Wheelchair-friendly play equipment are also available, such as the Neo ring, an interactive game station installed at waist-level that gives wheelchair-using children easy access to play it.

A yellow and blue Cosy Cocoon sits in a corner, serving as a space to escape from overstimulation, which some children with special needs may face after intense play.

The most eye-catching structure in the playground is an 8m-tall structure modelled after a lighthouse. An exuberant Jihan Shah, five, who clambered down a rope funnel within the tower, proclaimed it as his favourite station.

Marine Cove cost National Parks Board $18 million to refurbish and is close to 21,500 sq m in size. It is the latest development in East Coast Park to be opened, following Parkland Green which opened in September 2014.

The new restaurants in Marine Cove include Indian-Muslim restaurant My Briyani House; Babalicious, which serves Peranakan cuisine and Hainanese chicken rice; Hill Street Coffee Shop, which offers local delights; The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, which has opened its biggest outlet in Singapore there, seating 250 people.

Parents are pleased with Marine Cove's seaside setting, free playground and family-friendly dining options.

Mr Bhavesh Shah, 48, a chief purchasing officer and father of two, was there with his son, Jihan, on Wednesday morning.

He said: "It's really nice - the playground's variety of apparatus, the cleanliness, the new amenities and the restaurants."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 01, 2016, with the headline 'Marine Cove playground a draw'. Print Edition | Subscribe