Enter the Dragon

The dragon playground below Block 28, Toa Payoh Lorong 6.

Back in the days before the era of iPads, iPhones and other electronic devices, kids used to go out and play. The playground is probably one of the favourite places of a kid during the simpler times, before they get distracted by electronic devices and tons of schoolwork.

The most iconic playgrounds of yesterday are probably the dragon-themed ones found in some of the heartlands. Designed by Khor Ean Ghee from the HDB in the late 1970s, it features a mosaic-tiled dragon head and tail, with a body made of concentric circles of steel pipes.

There are 4 such playgrounds remaining today, with the most iconic of all being in the front of Block 28 Toa Payoh Lorong 6. This is also the only one which still has a sand box. The other 3 dragon-themed playgrounds are located at Toa Payoh Lorong 1, Ang Mo Kio and Circuit Road. They however, are smaller and the sandbox have been replaced by rubber mats.

I remember playing on one of these dragon playgrounds which my mom told me was in Marine Parade but I couldn’t seem to find any information about it. With it being featured as being #3 on Flavorwire.com‘s list of the world’s top 15 playgrounds and also on the Singapore Memory Project’s Mosaic Memories, as well as wanting to relive some childhood memories, I decided to make a trip down to see and photograph it.

The body of the dragon is made up of steel pipes in concentric circles.
The colourful steel body of the dragon.
A mother and her 2 daughters take a walk through the dragon’s body
A look down the body of the dragon towards the head
A look through the dragon’s eye.
The platform at the dragon’s head.
One of the two slides at the dragon’s head lets the child quickly slide down to the ground.
View of the dragon body below
The tail of the dragon, which also serves as an entrance through the body to its head.
A hook where a swing once used to hang from.
A lonely horse awaits the day when it’ll be ridden again.
A man takes a photo of his children at the dragon’s head.

With the super-fast pace that our society is moving in, old things inevitably give way to the new. In time to come, I think this will go too. I sure hope it’ll be preserved for the generations to come. It may not compete well with the latest gadgets but it’s a good reminder of the fun we had in the simpler times.


  1. I still yet to find a pic of the dragon playground at Marine Parade. It was at Marine Crescent, in the center of block 44, 46 & 43. I used to stay at block 46 and had endless fun at the playground. Btw the dragon head is made of metal sheets and not concrete and mosaic like the Toa Payoh’s and Ang Mo Kio’s. We kids use to bang on it to cause in din 🙂

    1. Yeah, that’s why my parents told me. Unfortunately it’s been replaced by the more modern kind of playground now. 🙁 Still don’t know why there doesn’t seem to be any information of that particular dragon playground in Marine Parade.

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