When you travel to Singapore, chances are you will be greeted by the sight of the majestic Marina Bay Sands. It is the country’s iconic landmark and a luxurious lifestyle destination, but another interesting attraction can be found right opposite the extravagant 55-storey tower – the Gardens by the Bay. The expansive and futuristic park in the bay area of Singapore is in line with the country’s mission to be a “city in the garden”, and it is not difficult to understand why.
The man-made mechanical forest is a 250-acre green landscape featuring three waterfront gardens – Bay East, Bay Central and Bay South. This urban park is maintained by an in-house team of landscape designers, horticulturists, arborists, engineers and plant specialists with the aim of educating visitors on the principles of environmental sustainability and conservation. It houses hundreds of trees and plants to discover, making a trip to this park an educational one for both kids and adults.
The main attraction at the park is no doubt the Supertree Grove. The dominance of the steel-framed tree-like structures can be felt as you make your way around the park. These supertrees tower over Gardens by the Bay at 50 meters tall, where over 200 species of plants and tropical flowers cover the exterior of these vertical gardens. Some of the trees are equipped with photovoltaic cells on their canopies to harvest solar energy for lighting themselves up at night, casting a unique glow over the park. Several other trees serve as air exhaust receptacles to the nearby conservatories. To take in the picturesque panoramic views of the park, take a stroll 25 meters up across the connecting bridges called the skywalk and discover the wow factor of the park!
No trip to the Gardens by the Bay is complete without visiting the green conservatories – the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome. These greenhouses are climate-controlled and the size of four football fields, vast enough to house 220,000 plants! The Cloud Forest is the smaller shell-shaped building with a 35-meter high mountain covered in plants that thrive in tropical highlands. It is truly a mysterious world veiled in mist surrounded by lush vegetation. The Cloud Forest is also home to the world’s tallest indoor waterfall. Here, you will enjoy learning about the unique biodiversity while marveling at the diverse plants from tropical highlands. You will also understand the environmental threats these plants face.
The Flower Dome is the largest glass greenhouse in the world as listed in the 2015 Guinness World Records. A world of perpetual greenery, there is an ever-changing display of exotic flowers from all over the world in the Flower Dome. With a climate replicating that of the cool and dry Mediterranean climate, lush tropical foliage and colorful Mediterranean flowers can be found in abundance in the dome. Expect to explore desert plants from around the world while wandering through typical Mediterranean plants such as the baobabs, surrounded by fascinating succulents.
Apart from the lush greenery at the park, the Gardens by the Bay also feature two main lakes – the Dragonfly Lake and Kingfisher Lake. These lakes are habitats for fishes and insects, thanks to the lake system that maintains a diversity of aquatic plants to ensure better water quality, as well as good water circulation and aeration to prevent mosquito breeding in the lakes. As an extension to the Marina Reservoir, water run-off from within the Gardens by the Bay is captured by the lake system and naturally treated through cleansing by the aquatic plants before being discharged into the reservoir.
The importance of plants in the healthy functioning of an ecosystem is highlighted in this beautiful garden. To truly experience the sustainability efforts at the Gardens by the Bay, do drop by the next time you visit Singapore. It is truly amazing how sustainable engineering and cutting-edge technologies can be incorporated to conserve the environment!