Singapore is known as ‘The Garden City’ for its green spaces, and the Singapore Botanic Gardens is one of the most impressive. The Botanic Gardens is famous not only for its gorgeous tropical flowers and trees, but also its impressive history and cultural events. Whether you’re a plant lover or just looking to enjoy some fresh air and nature, the Gardens are the perfect place to spend a few hours.
Singapore Botanic Gardens History
The Gardens were founded in 1859 by the Agri-horticultural Society. They basically took 82 hectares of overgrown plantations and forest and transformed them into the beautiful gardens you see today. Originally established to be pleasure gardens for the society members and their families, the Gardens soon became a centre for research as well.
Interesting fact: The Gardens played a huge role in the world economy. In 1888, Henry Nicholas Ridley took over as scientific director and began experimenting with rubber plant cultivation. He convinced farmers in Malaya to use his methods, and not long after, the region was the biggest producer and exporter of rubber in the world.
The park was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2016. It is the first and only World Heritage Site in Singapore and the only tropical botanic gardens on the entire list. Today the Gardens boasts over 10,000 species of flora and is one of the most well-respected botanical institutes in the world.
What to See and Do in the Gardens
If you don’t have much time and can only see one area of the gardens, make it the National Orchid Garden. Here you’ll find the world’s largest collection of orchids with more than 1,000 natural orchid species and 2,000 hybrids. Be sure to check out the Vanda Miss Joaquim orchid, Singapore’s national flower, and the VIP orchid collection with hybrids named after famous visitors.
Other interesting areas include the Bonsai Garden, Ginger Garden, and Heritage Trees. Keen horticulturalists will love the Botany Centre with its herbarium and library. The SBG Heritage Museum has multimedia exhibits that explain the rich history of the Gardens. If you have little ones, bring them to the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden. Here they can run along trails, climb trees, and learn about gardening and plants.
Singapore Botanic Gardens Events
The Gardens hosts tons of events throughout the year. These include botanical exhibits at the eco-friendly CDL Green Gallery, guided heritage tours, learning treks for little ones and adults, workshops, classes, conferences and more. There are also some great restaurants in the Gardens. The Garage, Corner House and Halia Restaurant offer special set menus and seasonal events with great food and wine.
Entrance Fee: Free for the main gardens. National Orchid Garden: $5 for adults, $1 for students. $1 senior citizens (60 years and above), free for children (12 years and under)
Opening Hours: Singapore Botanic Gardens: daily 5am – 12am. National Orchid Garden: daily 8:30am – 7pm. Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden: Tues – Sun 8am – 7pm. SBG Heritage Museum: daily 9am – 6pm
Visit website, 1 Cluny Road, Singapore 259569. p. +65 6471 7138.
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