Website zooms in on fun outings for kids

By: Jeremy Au Yong
Date: 19th Sep 2004
Publication: The Straits Times, Singapore

IF PLANNING a weekend family outing with the kids usually involves a lot of fruitless head-scratching, then it may be worth your while clicking on to www.singaporeforkids.com.

This website has loads of information about kid-friendly attractions from ice-skating rinks to fire station open houses.

Said one of its creators, author Anita Thomas: ‘We just wanted to have everything in one place. We wanted detailed information that was accurate and that we could use to make decisions on the day’s outings.’

Mrs Thomas started the project in May with her friend, IT professional Asha Ramakrishnan, but the website was only fully completed three weeks ago.

Both of the founders are mothers in their early 40s. Mrs Thomas, whose husband works in finance, has a 10-year-old son named Vikram. Mrs Ramakrishnan is married to a management consultant and they have a seven-year-old boy, Krishnan.

The two women enlisted a professional design company to set up the website but compiled the content themselves. ‘About 60 to 70 per cent of the information on the site comes from personal experience,’ said Mrs Thomas.

From the information on the site, it’s clear that they do give their highlighted attractions a thorough going over.

A page describing the Jurong Bird Park does not just have the standard information like opening times and admission prices. It tells you that the park is stroller-friendly and that the children’s playground can get quite hot.

The founders have not been officially promoting the site, relying on word-of-mouth to generate hits. Traffic, however, has been very encouraging. The site averages almost 2,000 hits a day.

Initial reactions from parents have also been positive.

Said Ms Sandra Oh, 35, a training programme manager with a five-year-old son: ‘I think it’s great. Sometimes you read some stuff in the papers that you are interested in and if you don’t cut it out, you forget. Here it’s all in one place.’

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) also saw value in the project when Ms Thomas and Ms Ramakrishnan approached them for assistance with content.

Said Ms Leong See Kay, the manager of destination communications at STB: ‘I thought it was a refreshing idea and it was in line with what STB is doing. They promote tourism and depict Singapore in a interesting way.’

The venture has already cost the two women about $10,000 out of pocket, but they do have plans to generate some profit. In a section called Marketplace, advertisers with children-related products are invited to rent ad space for $50 a month.

Said Ms Ramakrishnan: ‘So far we have made nothing. But we want the site to grow and develop, and we know for that to happen we need to go commercial.’