Jun 1, 2017

Laze on an 8m-high Canopy Web & Walk on Elevated Boardwalks at the Family-friendly Learning Forest


There's a new park to bring the kids, where they get to soak in the sights and sounds of nature, walk on elevated boardwalks and - without a doubt, this has got to be the highlight - laze on canopy webs, 8-metres above the ground!


The Learning Forest is the newest extension of Singapore Botanic Gardens and located in located in the new Tyersall-Gallop Core. It is designed to integrate with the existing 6-hectare Rain Forest to form an enlarged forest habitat.

Spread over a stunning 10-hectare area (that's equivalent to 15 football fields!), it was destroyed by fire more than 100 years ago but has slowly and naturally regenerated over the years. Now, the Learning Forest features a network of boardwalks and elevated walkways that allow visitors to explore habitats ranging from a freshwater forest wetland to a lowland rainforest.


The Learning Forest is divided into five areas - The SPH Walk of Giants, the Lowland Rainforest, Keppel Discovery Wetlands, Bambusetum, and Wild Fruit Tree Arboretum.

Map Credit: NParks (Click to enlarge)

Main entrance is through the Tyersall Gate, while there is very limited parking near the Visitor Services Counter. However, it is a leisure walk from Swan Lake as well so getting there via the main Botanic Gardens area will not be that strenuous either.


Our first stop was the Keppel Discovery Wetlands, where a 1.8-hectare restoration project of the forest wetland ecosystem  awaited us. As we walked along the elevated boardwalk, the monkies took the chance to pick out some of the plant species that are typical of freshwater forest wetland habitats in the region... which, as they found out, the habitats are highly endangered.


The Keppel Discovery Wetlands is also home to the Orchid Islands, Botanists' Boardwalk and Pulai Marsh, where the latter is a freshwater swamp habitat that eventually feeds into Swan Lake, a natural water source in the main garden.



As we walked further, we arrived at the Lowland Rainforest boardwalk which consists of three sections - Bark of Trees, Products of the Forest and Durian Theory.


The Bark of Trees features exposition of the diversity of textures and colours exhibited by trees in their bark. Do not miss having a feel of the white flaky bark of the Gelam tree while you are there!

The Products of the Forest collection features forest plants that are cultivated for human uses such as timber, building materials and food. Pretty interesting for the monkies, though it was not as interesting as stumbling onto a huge family of mushrooms!


As for me, I found the Durian Theory to be quite fascinating. This part of the Learning Forest features tree species with specialised growth forms that inspired E J H Corner to formulate his 'Durian Theory'. Corner postulated that many of today's plants are descended from tree species with large fruit similar to durians.


As we moved on, the path brought us back to an elevated boardwalk once again where we were in the company of towering trees at the SPH Walk of Giants.


Measuring approximately 260 m in length, the boardwalk took us from ground level up to a height of 8 m and brought us up-close to a diversity of plant species that are found in lowland rainforests in the region, including a variety of forest 'giants', palms, epiphytes and climbers.


But the real highlight at SPH Walk of Giants has got to be this.


The Canopy Web allows visitors to experience being in the canopy of a forest from a height of about 8m and it is awesome!


Just ask the monkies.


Visitors get to lie on the installed canopy webs, be among the canopy layer of century-old trees and gaze up into the crowns of trees.

We even bumped into Dana and Buddy from Life's Tiny Miracles while we were there!


A word of caution: the web is NOT meant to be a trampoline so jumping on the netting is not allowed.

Near the Keppel Discovery Wetlands is the Wild Fruit Trees Arboretum, where it is home to more than 50 species of trees. Most of the fruit trees are still young though, but expect to see them bear fruit soon with the likes of lychee, jackfruit, mangosteen and nutmeg.


The fifth section is the Bambusetum, which features over 30 species of tropical bamboos, showcasing the wide diversity of growth forms that occur naturally in the wild. Look out for the Giant Bamboo, which can grow up to 10 storeys, and its stems are wide enough to be used as buckets when cut!

No matter whether your kids are young or old, I strongly recommend paying The Learning Forest a visit. The entire area is extremely walkable as there are hardly any steps to climb. It's even stroller-friendly, thanks to the walkways and elevated boardwalks.


I love how the terrain changes - from elevated to ground and back to elevated - as we made our way through The Learning Forest. Definitely a non-exhausting and kid-friendly way to learn more about our flora and fauna right here in Singapore. And best of all, it is all FREE!



Useful Information

The Learning Forest
Singapore Botanic Gardens
Opening Hours: 5am – 12 midnight daily
*The SPH Walk of Giants and Keppel Discovery Wetlands will be closed from 7pm to 7am to maintain a conducive habitat for wildlife
FREE Admission
Getting here:
By Train: Alight at Botanic Gardens MRT Station (Circle Line); 20-min walk to Learning Forest
By Bus: SBS Transit 7, 105, 123, 174,174e; SMRT 75, 77, 106, NR8. Alight at Napier/Holland Road (Tanglin Gate) 10-min walk to Learning Forest & Tyersall Gate (via Tyersall Avenue).
By Car: Parking is available at Botany Centre, Tanglin Gate (via junction of Holland/Napier Road); 5–7-min walk to Learning Forest & Tyersall Gate (via Tyersall Avenue).



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2 comments :

Anonymous said...

How long did the walk take? Was it hot? Do you think it will be tiring for 3.5 yr old kid? Thanks!

Kelvin Ang said...

Hi,

One round takes no more than 30 minutes. Not hot at all as most part of it is sheltered by trees. I think it is suitable for young kids.

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