Oct 19, 2019

Bring the kids on a ridge-top hiking trail at the newly-opened Gallop Extension, Singapore Botanic Gardens

Nature lovers are having it good. After the opening of Thomson Nature Park last week, a new green space opens today - the Gallop Extension at Singapore Botanic Gardens!

An extension of the Tyersall-Gallop Core of the Singapore Botanic Gardens, Gallop Extension will be the only location in Singapore where visitors can see a curated interpretation of various habitats that are representative of forests in the region.

Occupying a total land area of 8 hectares, only two features of Gallop Extension will be opened for now with the other features opening in 2020. The Mingxin Foundation Rambler's Ridge is a re-created tropical ridge habitat while the OCBC Arboretum is a living library of trees with more than 200 species of dipterocarps.

For families with kids, the Mingxin Foundation Rambler's Ridge will be perfect for that short morning or evening nature walk.

Rambler's Ridge has a ridge-top hiking trail which leads to the highest point in the Singapore Botanic Gardens. Okay, so it is only 40m above sea level which is hardly Bukit Timah Hill standard but it is a trail that even younger kids can complete on their own.

The ridge draws its inspiration from unique forest habitats on the tropical hills of Southeast Asia. Some of these environments are known to be harsh, with poor soil and exposure to strong winds.

Visitors will be able to see plants such as the carnivorous Narrow-Lid Pitcher Plant and Raffles' Pitcher Plant which have adapted to the harsh environment of the hills.

Even more interestingly for kids, there are also Ant Plants along the ridge which have modified roots, stems and leaves that are hollow, producing a network of tunnels for ants to live in!

The walk along the ridge is relatively short at 350m and takes about 15 minutes, which is suited to families with even younger kids. Amazingly, it feels a little cooler atop of the ridge... much like being in the mountains!

The other second feature to open at Gallop Extension is the OCBC Arboretum, a conservation project and a huge living library for dipterocarps species of trees.

Wait, what are dipterocarps?

They are the giants of the forest and can grow up to 80m tall! These trees dominate the rain forests of Southeast Asia, home to a rich diversity of flora and fauna.

A member of the dipterocarps family is the Shorea.

Sounds familiar? That's because if you are as old as me, you will have probably learnt about it and how it is dispersed by wind during primary school days. 😁

The Arboretum acts as a 'gene bank', a living repository of over 200 species of dipterocarps, many of which are threatened by deforestation.

All in all, a great green space to spend some time in the arms of nature.

Gallop Extension is due to be even bigger when the COMO Adventure Grove playground, Forest Discovery Centre and Canopy Link opens in 2020. For now, even though the Mingxin Foundation Rambler's Ridge and OCBC Arboretum may occupy a small area within the Gallop Extension, it is still worth a visit - I strongly recommend visiting the adjacent The Learning Forest which is awesome (and you can read my review HERE) and ending off your visit to the Botanic Gardens to Gallop Extension.

In addition, if you are heading down this weekend and next Deepavali long weekend, there will specially organised free programmes and activities for everyone! These include guided tours, talks, demonstrations, concerts, movie screenings and craft activities for kids.

There will also be free guided shuttle bus services every 10 to 15 minutes from Botanic Gardens MRT Station (Exit B), the Botany Centre (Tanglin Gate) drop-off point and Nassim Gate Visitor Centre drop-off point, from 2pm to 6pm on 19 October 2019, and 10am to 6pm on 20, 26 and 27 October 2019. For a detailed listing of all activities happening, visit HERE.

Useful Information

Gallop Extension
Mingxin Foundation Rambler's Ridge and OCBC Arboretum

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