The Gardens by the Bay is a nature park spanning 101 hectares (250 acres) in the Central Region of Singapore, adjacent to the Marina Reservoir.
The park consists of three waterfront gardens: Bay South Garden (in Marina South), Bay East Garden (in Marina East), and Bay Central Garden (in Downtown Core and Kallang).
The largest of the gardens is the Bay South Garden at 54 hectares (130 acres), designed by Grant Associates.
Its Flower Dome is the largest glass greenhouse in the world.
Gardens by the Bay was part of the nation’s plans to transform its “Garden City” into a “City in a Garden” to raise the quality of life by enhancing greenery and flora in the city.
First announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at Singapore’s National Day Rally in 2005, Gardens by the Bay was intended to be Singapore’s premier urban outdoor recreation space and a national icon.
Being a popular tourist attraction in Singapore, the park received 6.4 million visitors in 2014 while topping its 20 millionth visitor mark in November 2015 and over 50 million in 2018.
Bay Central Garden
Bay Central Garden will act as a link between Bay South and Bay East Gardens.
It stands at 15 hectares (37 acres) with a 3-kilometer (1.9 mi) waterfront promenade allowing scenic walks stretching from the city center to the east of Singapore.
Bay East Garden
Bay East Garden is 32 hectares (79 acres) in size, and it has a 2-kilometer (1.2 mi) promenade frontage bordering the Marina Reservoir.
Bay East Garden was developed as an interim park in support of the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics.
The first phase of the garden was opened to the public in October 2011, allowing alternative access to the Marina Barrage.
It is designed as a series of large tropical leaf-shaped gardens, each with its specific landscaping design, character, and theme.
Five water inlets will be aligned with the prevailing wind direction, maximizing and extending the shoreline while allowing wind and water to penetrate the site to help cool areas of activity around them.
Bay East Garden provides visitors with an unobstructed view of the city skyline.
Upcoming developments of Bay East Garden will be based on the theme of water.
In 2018, Bay East Garden was designated as the future site of the Founders’ Memorial.
Bay South Garden
Bay South Garden opened to the public on 29 June 2012. It is the largest of the three gardens at 54 hectares (130 acres) and is designed to show the best of tropical horticulture and garden artistry.
The overall concept of its master plan by Grant Associates draws inspiration from an orchid as it is representative of the tropics and Singapore, being the country’s national flower, the Vanda ‘Miss Joaquim’.
The orchid takes root at the waterfront (conservatories), while the leaves (landforms), shoots (paths, roads, and linkways), and secondary sources (water, energy, and communication lines) then form an integrated network with blooms (theme gardens and Supertrees) at key intersections.
The conservatory complex at Gardens by the Bay, Singapore, comprises two cooled conservatories – the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest, situated along the edge of Marina Reservoir.
The conservatories, designed by WilkinsonEyre and Grant Associates, are intended to be an energy-efficient showcase of sustainable building technologies and provide an all-weather edutainment space within the Gardens.
Both are very large (around 1 hectare (2.5 acres), and the Flower Dome is the world’s largest columnless glasshouse.
The construction of the glasshouses is special in two ways.
First of all, having such a large glass roof without additional interior support (such as columns).
In addition, the constructions are designed to minimize their environmental impact.
Rainwater is collected from the surface and circulated in the cooling system connected to the Supertrees.
The Supertrees are used both to vent hot air and to cool circulated water.
The Flower Dome is the largest greenhouse globally as listed in the 2015 Guinness Book of World Records at 1.2 hectares (3.0 acres) and replicates a cool-dry Mediterranean climate.
It features a changing display, the flower field, and eight other gardens, namely The Baobabs, Succulent Garden, Australian Garden, South African Garden, South American Garden, Olive Grove, California Garden, and the Mediterranean Garden.
These eight gardens exhibit exotic flowers and plants from the Mediterranean and semi-arid regions from five different continents.
Here is the list of some plants growing in the Flower Dome:
The Cloud Forest is higher but slightly smaller at 0.8 hectares (2.0 acres).
It replicates the cool, moist conditions found in tropical mountain regions between 1,000 meters (3,300 ft) and 3,000 meters (9,800 ft) above sea level n South-East Asia, Central- and South America.
It features a 42-meter (138 ft) “Cloud Mountain”, accessible by an elevator, and visitors will be able to descend the mountain via a circular path where a 35-meter (115 ft) waterfall provides visitors with refreshing cool air.
The “Cloud Mountain” itself is an intricate structure completely clad in epiphytes such as orchids, ferns, peacock ferns, spike- and clubmosses, bromeliads, and anthuriums.
The Maiden Hair Fungus inspired the design by Grant Associates. It consisted of several levels, each with a different theme, including The Lost World, The Cavern, The Waterfall View, The Crystal Mountain, The Cloud Forest Gallery, The Cloud Forest Theatre, and The Secret Garden.
The following is a partial list of plants growing in the Cloud Forest:
Supertrees are the 18 tree-like structures that dominate the Gardens’ landscape with heights that range between 25 meters (82 ft) and 50 meters (160 ft).
They were conceived and designed by Grant Associates, with the innovative engineering of Atelier One and Atelier Ten.
They are vertical gardens that perform many functions, including planting, shading, and working as environmental engines for the gardens.
The Supertrees are home to enclaves of unique and exotic ferns, vines, orchids, and a vast collection of bromeliads such as Tillandsia, amongst other plants.
They are fitted with environmental technologies that mimic the ecological function of trees: photovoltaic cells that harness solar energy, allowing them to provide lighting (similar to how trees photosynthesize) and collect rainwater for irrigation, and fountain displays, similar to how trees absorb water through evaporation.
The Supertrees also serve air intake and exhaust functions as part of the conservatories’ cooling systems.
There is an elevated walkway, the OCBC Skyway, between two of the larger Supertrees for visitors to enjoy a panoramic aerial view of the Gardens.
Every night, at 7:45 pm and 8:45 pm, the Supertree Grove comes alive with a coordinated light and music show known as the Garden Rhapsody.
The accompanying music to the show changes every month, with certain themes such as A World of Wonder and A Night of Musical Theatre, which feature excerpts/pieces from films like Jurassic Park and Pirates of the Caribbean.
There is also a newly opened attraction called the Supertree Observatory, which opened on 27 December 2019. This attraction is housed inside the tallest Supertree, which is 50 meters tall.
It consists of three levels, the ground floor, the Observatory Space, and the Open-Air Rooftop Deck.
The visitors should descend the stairs from the Observatory Space to reach the Rooftop Deck.
The Observatory Space is located one level below the rooftop deck, and it consists of an indoor area with full-height glass windows and a peripheral outdoor walkway.
Here, visitors can also experience a message about the effects of climate change creatively conveyed through digital media.
The Open-Air Rooftop Deck, an open-air observation deck on the canopy of this Supertree, offers 360-degree unblocked views of the Gardens and the Marina Bay area.
Italy’s Pavilion in Expo 2015 featured a structure called Albero Della Vita (or “Tree of Life” in Italian), which proved visually similar to Singapore’s Supertrees.
Designed by Grant Associates, who also designed Gardens by the Bay, the Children’s Garden was fully funded by Far East Organization for $10 million.
Opened on January 21, 2014, this attraction was a huge success.
The children’s garden is near the treehouse and the adventure trail.
The adventure trail consists of trampolines, balancing beams, hanging bridges, and more.
It is open from Tuesdays to Fridays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
It is closed on Mondays, or the next working day if Monday is a public holiday.
Horticultural themed gardens
Singapore’s gardens and forests both reflect the horticultural heritage of Singapore’s diverse cultural groups.
As part of the Gardens’ edutainment program, they educate the public about plants.
Singapore’s heritage gardens are themed around the various cultural groups, and the important role plants played in their respective cultures and during Singapore’s colonial history.
It also focuses on economically important plants in Singapore and South East Asia.
The four gardens are the Indian Garden, the Chinese Garden, the Malay Garden, and the Colonial Garden.
The “World of Plants” theme emphasizes the web of relationships amongst the various plants within a fragile forest setting, showcasing the biodiversity of plant life on the planet.
It consists of six subthemes illustrated by six “gardens”: Discovery, Web of Life, Fruits and Flowers, Understorey, World of Palms, and Secret Life of Trees.
Bayfront Plaza and Floral Fantasy
The Bayfront Plaza is the main entry precinct into the Gardens from Bayfront MRT station.
It includes an attraction called Floral Fantasy which consists of four garden landscapes of floral artistry and a 4D ride experience.
The 1,500 sqm Floral Fantasy features floral artistry, as well as a 4D multimedia ride simulating the journey of a dragonfly’s flight path through Gardens by the Bay.
On weekends, an indoor events space, the Bayfront Pavilion, a cafe, and a pop-up market are also included.