So it turned out that Daddy & Mummy had sneaked off on a tiny date together last Saturday. Never mind that they didn't bring us along. What got di-di & me all green-eyed was that they went to the newest place in Singapore - Gardens by the Bay!
And when Youth Day - which is a School Holiday - came along last Monday, Daddy had to make it up to us.
Anticipating that it would be swarmed with kids later in the day, we decided to head down at 8am. The 2 domes and Supertree Skywalk don't open until 9am though, but the rest of the Gardens is already open since 5am. So if you are really kiasu, you know what to do.
It turned out that we made the correct decision to go down earlier to explore the rest of the Gardens, because it is really HUGE!
We started our exploration at The World of Plants, where a multi-sensory encounter with nature is promised. The Secret Life of Trees was our first stop and this was where we learnt how to identify different types of tree species.
There were interactive displays and charts which depict the many different types of tree barks, roots, leaves and branches. Think of it as a bigger version of the Jacob Ballas Garden at Botanical Gardens, but with far more stuff to see and touch.
Well, we could even... uhm, afford to monkie around. Hee.
The Understorey section was next, as it brought us to the lower levels of the forest.
Here, there were many installations like the one below which carried amazing facts about the roles of fungi and bugs as important players of the plant decomposition process.
Speaking of fungi, there was a large creepy-crawly tent with loads of mushrooms for us to rest our legs momentarily.
The Web of Life was one of di-di's & my fave section in The World of Plants area.
Why? Because there 8 animals such as the orang-utan, pangolin, bat and hornbill waiting for us there. Well, they weren't exactly real... rather they were 8 topiary animals, made out of living foliage.
But it was pretty impressive stuff!
And to add to the fun, there were an installation at each side of the topiary animals. Which churned out the sounds of the corresponding animals when we give the wheel a good turn.
With that, we came to the end of The World of Plants and stepped into the Heritage Gardens - a collection of themed gardens and it was here that we discovered how plants are intricately linked to Singapore's culture.
There are 4 themed gardens - Indian Garden, Malay Garden, Chinese Garden and Colonial Garden. Each of these gardens will take you through the history and culture of Singapore’s three main ethnic groups and colonial past.
There were stories waiting to be discovered as we breezed through the gardens. For example, the Malay Garden, ‘a Reflection of Community,’ stresses the role of edible fruits and medicinal plants used by the local Malay population, while the Colonial Garden, ‘a Reflection of Ambition’, covers issues like plant transportation and profitable crops that have shaped Singapore’s history and economy.
But it wasn't all wordy and non-interactive though. There were ample exhibits and installations to keep us occupied; much like the smelling stations at the Colonial Garden where we got a whiff of cocoa, coffee, rubber and pepper!
The OCBC Skyway at the Supertree Grove was OPEN!
And since it was that early, we had the entire Skyway to ourselves.
Needless to say, Daddy went into his photo-taking frenzy mode again.
But that wasn't to say di-di & I minded it... as long as he doesn't bother us by asking us to pose! :p
Do note that entrance to the OCBC Skyway is chargeable - $5 for Adults and $3 for children aged between 3-12. Considering it was pretty cooling up there, and of course the beautiful panoramic view, I would say the fee is worth it. No wonder there was a snaking queue at the entrance when we were making our way down later.
There is a maximum number of people allowed up on the Skyway at any point in time... because as we found out, the walkway shook whenever someone ran along. Well, it didn't shake too violently but it did make the experience more, uhm, exciting and breathtaking! Haha.
We rounded up the excitement by opting to take the spiral staircase down instead of the lift, where we made the 2 Cooled Conservatories - the Flower Dome & Cloud Forest - our next destinations. Click HERE for Part 2!
*All photos in this post were taken with a SONY Alpha a57 DSLR camera, courtesy of SONY SINGAPORE.*
Useful Information about Gardens by the Bay
Bay South Garden is open from 5AM to 2AM daily. Opening hours for the Cooled Conservatories and OCBC Skyway is from 9AM to 9PM daily.
Access to the outdoor gardens in Bay South is free.
Admission to the Cooled Conservatories (Flower Dome & Cloud Forest) and the OCBC Skyway are chargeable. For a full listing of the admission charges, please CLICK HERE.
*An additional 10% discount on admission rates to the cooled conservatories applies for holders of PAssion Card, NTUC Plus! Card, SAFRA Card and Home Team NS Card.
Via the Circle Line:
Alight at Bayfront MRT Station (CE1). Take exit B and follow the underground linkway. Exit and cross the Dragonfly Bridge into Gardens by the Bay.
Via the North-South Line:
Alight at Marina Bay MRT (NS27/CE2) station. Take exit A and hop onto bus service 400. Alight 4 stops later at the bus stop along Marina Gardens Drive.
Walking from Marina Bay:
From the Helix Bridge towards the Art Science Museum, follow the footpath which leads under the ECP, that will bring you directly into Bay South Garden along the waterfront.
From Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre, walk across the Lions Bridge on Level 4 which connects to the Dragonfly Bridge into Bay South Garden.
From ECP take exit 17 (towards Changi Airport) or 17A (towards City). Travel onto Marina Boulevard and turn left onto Marina Gardens Drive. There are 2 car parks available at the Gardens – a basement at the Visitor Centre and an outdoor one at The Meadows.
For more information, visit http://www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/en/home.html