Backgrounder on Gardens by the Bay
An integral part of Singapore’s "City in a Garden" vision, Gardens by the Bay spans a total of 101 hectares of prime land at the heart of Singapore’s new downtown – Marina Bay. Comprising three waterfront gardens – Bay South, Bay East and Bay Central – Gardens by the Bay is a horticulture themed leisure destination that showcases the best of garden artistry for the enjoyment of the people. It brings the world of plants to Singapore, and in doing so, presents Singapore to the world.
Bay South, the largest at 54 hectares, officially opened on 29 June 2012. It captures the essence of a garden in a downtown setting, complementing the surrounding developments and contributing to the planning intention of making Marina Bay a vibrant destination to live, work and play.
In a short span of two years, Gardens by the Bay has welcomed over 10 million visitors and received more than 35 international and local awards – from being the first garden to be presented the prestigious Thea Award (deemed the Oscars of the international attractions industry) in 2014, to being recognised by the Singapore Tourism Board for “Breakthrough Contribution to Tourism” in 2013.
KEY FEATURES IN BAY SOUTH GARDEN
Comprising two glass biomes – Flower Dome (1.2 hectares) and Cloud Forest (0.8 hectare) – the conservatories replicate the cool-dry climate of the Mediterranean and semi-arid sub-tropical regions, and the cool-moist climate of the Tropical Montane region respectively. These regions are among the most threatened habitats in the world, with many plant species facing the threat of climate change and habitat loss brought about by human activities.
The conservatories are also a statement in sustainable engineering and apply a suite of cutting-edge technologies that provide energy-efficient solutions in cooling.
A highlight of the Flower Dome is the thematic floral display that is refreshed regularly. Its current floral display entitled “Orchid Extravaganza” celebrates the diversity and colours of orchids, and runs till 21 September 2014.
Ranging in height from 25 to 50 metres, 18 Supertrees serve as vertical gardens to showcase a variety of bromeliads, ferns and tropical flowering climbers, on a scale never before presented in a garden.
Marrying the form and function of mature trees, they not only support a living skin of plants but also mimic the ecological functions of trees through their environmentally sustainable features. Some have photovoltaic cells on their canopies to harvest solar energy for lighting up the Supertrees at night, while others are integrated with the cooled conservatories and serve as air exhaust structures.
During the day, the Supertrees’ canopies provide shade. At night, the vertical gardens come to life with a specially choreographed music and light show called “Garden Rhapsody”. An aerial walkway linking two of the Supertrees enable visitors to take in a different view of Bay South Garden at a height of 22 metres above ground.
Horticultural Themed Gardens
The horticultural themed gardens comprise two collections:
- Heritage Gardens – a collection of four themed gardens that reflect the history and culture of Singapore’s main ethnic groups and colonial heritage.
- The World of Plants – a collection of six themed gardens that reflect the biodiversity of plant life on our planet.
Far East Organization Children’s Garden
The 1-hectare Far East Organization Children’s Garden provides a venue for fun with an emphasis on water play and forest adventure. Its garden setting encourages exploration and interaction with nature among two age groups – toddlers between the ages of one to five years old, and older children between the ages of six to 12 years old. Kids can ‘hang out’ in treehouses, go on an adventure trail, or have a splashing time in the water play area.
Adjacent to the Far East Organization Children’s Garden is the Sun Pavilion. This 800-square-metre outdoor pavilion features over 1,000 succulents consisting of about 100 species from places such as Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, Kenya, Tanzania and Madagascar. Highlights include the spectacular Mexican columnar cacti which conjures images of the Wild West, large Euphorbias, and the Turk’s Cap.
Dragonfly Lake & Kingfisher Lake
The lake system in Bay South comprises two lakes – Dragonfly Lake and Kingfisher Lake – and acts as a natural filtration system for water from the Gardens’ catchment. Water run-off from within the Gardens is captured by the lake system and cleansed by aquatic plants before being discharged into the adjacent Marina Reservoir. The naturally treated water is also used in the built-in irrigation system for the Gardens. The lake system provides an aquatic habitat for biodiversity such as fishes and dragonflies, and depicts the importance of plants in the healthy functioning of our ecosystem.
Bay South offers a choice of event spaces including The Meadow, Singapore’s largest outdoor garden event venue with a standing capacity of up to 30,000 people, and the picturesque Flower Field Hall, an indoor event space nestled within the Flower Dome amidst a Mediterranean garden setting.
There are 10 F&B spaces totalling 5,455 square metres spread across the 54-hectare Bay South. Located among key features such as the cooled conservatories and Supertrees, the F&B options offer a unique garden dining experience. Visitors can choose from a variety of dining establishments depending on their taste preference and budget.
Programmes at the Gardens
As a multi-faceted garden that breathes creativity by combining garden artistry with innovative programming, Gardens by the Bay provides an ideal garden setting for a wide range of activities catering to different segments of the population. It is a popular green venue for leisure and recreation, with programmes ranging from music, arts and culture, to education and sports. The Gardens has played host to numerous local and international performances by well-known artistes such as Jennifer Lopez, Jason Mraz, Aerosmith and Psy.