In the +65: Singapore Botanic Gardens

 

For many, it takes more than colorful flowers, trimmed grass, and towering tropical trees to be convinced to visit a park. The Singapore Botanic Gardens is many things: a habitat for the nation’s native wildlife, breeding grounds of the rarest flowers on earth, a conservation effort of Singaporean heritage, but it’s definitely not a typical public park. Since the opening of the monumental Gardens by the Bay in 2012, Singapore’s oldest park can be easily outshone. However, there still remains many reasons why the Singapore Botanic Gardens is worth your visit.

Located near the busy streets of Orchard, it easily accessible by foot, MRT, and bus, which is all the more reason to visit. Not to mention, admission is free for most of the park. Its position in central Singapore makes it much more convenient than other public parks like Gardens by the Bay.

What the Botanic Gardens has that other parks lack is intimacy; the atmosphere is both welcoming and accommodating for families, friends and pets. Sounds of busy streets surrounding the park are muted by the sheltering trees and conserved forest nearby. Hidden pathways, quaint wooden gazebos, and park benches can be found all over the park, along with areas designed for Yoga, Tai-Chi, and picnicking. At night, the park is quiet, peaceful walkways are pooled with warm yellow light, and the dark night sky is clear of city lights, which is a sight often hard to find these days.

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photo by Daniel Kwon @crescentlens

Third, the luxuriant trees and flora in the park make it perfect for Instagram. SAS students, tourists and locals alike can be found here taking photos, and it’s easy to see why.

Another great aspect of the park is its kid-friendly areas. The Jacob Ballas children’s garden, the first park dedicated to children in Asia, features playgrounds and programs to educate children. Along with this, the Learning Forest opened earlier this year, unveiling a majestic elevated walkway with a ‘canopy web’, a section for kids to climb a web of ropes suspended from the walkway. The new Learning Forest at Botanic Gardens is a stunning 10-hectare forest, home to Singapore’s native plant species.

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photo by Justin Teo @justinfoodprints

Besides from delicate flowers and brilliantly colored trees, the Botanic Gardens has a lot to offer when it comes to dining. With over six restaurants including the newly opened Bees Knees at the Garage, there are many choices of cuisine in the serene garden setting. This treat, the Honey-Lemon Rosemary Tart ($8) from Bees Knees, is a fitting dessert for the location because of it’s likeness to the Singapore National fruit, durian.

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photo from Singapore Botanic Gardens Archive

Lastly, the Gardens is rich in cultural, social and most importantly historical significance.  In the early 1800’s, modern Singapore’s founder, Stamford Raffles, had the vision to create botanic gardens to showcase the island’s diverse tropical native plant species. From 1928, the Gardens has been a large innovator in breeding the national flower, Orchids, along with hybrids, and many of these are on display at the Orchid Gardens. Some of these orchids include the ‘Dendrobium Barack and Michelle Obama’ and the ‘Dendrobium Memoria Princess Diana’, both gifts from Singapore to the U.S. and United Kingdom.

The Singapore Botanic Gardens is full of great restaurants, enchanting wildlife and nature, and perfect locations for Instagram-worthy pictures. Located in an easily accessible location, off Orchard and connected via MRT and bus, the Gardens will be waiting for your visit!

Author: Chloe Venn

Chloe Venn is a sophomore and a first year reporter for The Eye. She’s from the San Fransisco Bay Area, but has only ever lived in Asia. She enjoys movies, rainstorms, and thursday afternoons. You can contact her at: venn19557@sas.edu.sg

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