SINGAPORE: With the opening of a ridge-top hiking trail and a new arboretum on Saturday (Oct 19), there's now more to see and do at the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
They are part of the 8ha Gallop extension - the largest expansion in the Gardens' 160-year history.
Here are some highlights of the extension, with more attractions to open in 2020.
MINGXIN FOUNDATION RAMBLER'S RIDGE
This walking trail, which extends into the heart of the Gallop extension, draws inspiration from forest habitats on the tropical hills of Southeast Asia.
Visitors will be able to see unique plants such as the carnivorous Raffles' Pitcher Plant and the Ant Plant.
For those who want a more adventurous experience, they can hike up the ridge-top trail, which leads to the highest point in the gardens at around 40m above sea level.
Described as a "living library of trees", the arboretum is touted as the first of its kind in Southeast Asia which houses more than 2,000 specimens of over 200 species of dipterocarps - giant forest trees that can grow up to 80m tall.
It also uses an Internet of Things system to remotely and continuously monitor the trees and their environment as they grow.
The endangered dipterocarp trees are excellent for absorbing and storing carbon. Two thousand trees in the arboretum can store 80 million kg of carbon dioxide in their lifetimes, said the National Parks Board (NParks).
HPL CANOPY LINK
This is a 200m-long barrier-free bridge that would allow visitors a sweeping view of the Gardens.
When it opens next year, it will also improve accessibility as it will connect visitors from the Learning Forest to the Gallop extension.
COMO ADVENTURE GROVE
Also opening next year is Como Adventure Grove, a nature-inspired play area for children to learn about native flora and fauna.
"Children can swing, slide and climb on structures resembling parts of trees and fruits. These adaptive components will help introduce children to nature through play," said NParks.
FOREST DISCOVERY CENTRE
The Forest Discovery Centre, which will open in 2020, will be housed in the oldest surviving colonial-era bungalow in Singapore.
It will feature interactive displays that allow visitors to learn about the ecology of Singapore’s forests and how they can be involved in NParks’ conservation efforts.
The centre will also conduct workshops and activities on forest ecology.
BOTANICAL ART GALLERY
This art gallery will also be housed within a colonial-era bungalow which was restored by the government in 2012.
Here, visitors can browse rare books and art from the Gardens’ collection. It is scheduled to open in 2020.
ACTIVITIES TO CELEBRATE NEW ATTRACTIONS
If you can't wait to visit the new attractions, head down to the Singapore Botanic Gardens this weekend and the next, as NParks has organised a lineup of activities to mark the opening of the ridge-top hiking trail and arboretum.
For instance, there will be a concert by the NUS Wind Symphony at the Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage on Sunday (Oct 20). Highlights include familiar tunes from movies like Star Wars, My Neighbour Totoro, Aladdin and Frozen.
There will also be children's craft activities and guided tours over the two weekends, as well as a screening of the movie Marnie's World, an animation feature film about a smart cat and her quirky friends.
The full list of activities can be found on NParks' website.