Singapore's first permanent snow centre, Snow City, is known as a fun attraction for those who want to experience winter here.
However, with the introduction of new features and activities after a recent four-month revamp - its first since opening in 2000 - the attraction at Science Centre Singapore hopes to educate visitors about the very serious threat of climate change as well.
The 1,500 sq m Snow City, which simulates a sub-freezing climate, will offer visitors the full Arctic experience, including snowfall, from Dec 29. The rest of its new features are already open to the public.
A new snow-making machine produces 40 tonnes of snow daily, compared with 6 tonnes previously. The snow is also now more realistic and durable.
There is a new theme centring on the Arctic spread over six zones. Visitors will get to join forces with Snow City's five new mascots - including Suki the magical snow owl, Oki the Inuit boy and Nooka the polar bear - to battle climate change and raise awareness about global warming.
Starting at the snow playground, visitors will get a feel of how the Inuit, the indigenous people of the Arctic, live. They can also interact with the life-size snow sculptures of the mascots.
Continuing on to the snow field, they will learn about the Northern Lights phenomenon - the result of collisions between particles in the Earth's atmosphere and charged particles released from the sun's atmosphere.
At the traditional Inuit's home on the mezzanine floor, visitors can find out about ice fishing, which the Inuits do, and the garb they wear to keep warm. They can then top off their experience with a ride down the three-storey-high Arctic snow slide in a toboggan.
There is also the Arctic exhibition, which is co-produced by the Norwegian embassy and highlights the effects of climate change and how one can help fight it from Singapore.
Explaining the revamp, which started in July and was completed in late October, Mr Norazani Shaiddin, 54, general manager of Snow City Singapore, says it was time to brand Snow City as more than just a place of fun.
"We want to provide a value- added experience and educate the public about the dangers of climate change. We want them to go home with a lesson learnt instead of solely having fun," he says.
Snow City, which opens daily from 10am to 6pm, draws 150,000 visitors annually. An hour of snow play will cost $15 for an adult and $12 for a child. Admission is $18 for both adults and children if they are not Singapore citizens or permanent residents.
Mr Edward Manchester, 44, was there on Wednesday with his three kids aged six to 11. His eldest, Joseph, says: "It's great to experience the cold of the winter you can get only in places like Europe. My favourite was the big ice slide. Our bums were freezing, but it was very fun."
Other than Snow City, Singa- poreans can also get a feel of winter at the Christmas Wonderland at Gardens by the Bay, where there is an ice-skating rink and a snow playground. The event, which drew 900,000 people in its inaugural edition last year, runs till Jan 3.
Ms Sarah Martin, 40, director of Blue Sky Events, which co-organised Christmas Wonderland, says: "We reintroduced it to uphold the tradition of celebrating the festive season in the tropics and curated new attractions to enhance the experience - bringing visitors into a wintry Christmas world typical of a traditional Christmas in Europe, with real snow-related activities to indulge and play in, from skiing to making a snowman."
For the more adventurous, winter sports activities are also available in Singapore. Urban Ski in Millenia Walk offers skiing and snowboarding, while ice skating is available at The Rink @ JCube in Jurong East.
This article was first published on December 18, 2015.
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