A day out in the Singapore Botanic Gardens is a must-do for locals and tourists alike. If you’re looking for wide open spaces to let off some steam, tranquil views to inspire your inner-calm, fun things to keep your little ones occupied, and kid-friendly places to eat, all you need is our top tips for planning a fun family day in the gardens…
This beautiful park is the only tropical garden in the world that is a UNESCO world heritage site. Strolling through the 52 hectares of trees, lawns, and wetlands it’s easy to imagine yourself 100 miles and 100 years away from the chrome and concrete of the modern city. And the best thing? There’s plenty to keep your little explorers happy too.
KID-FRIENDLY THINGS TO DO
The Learning Forest at Singapore Botanic Gardens
Your little monkeys will love the elevated walkways in the treetops of the Learning Forest. Not only will they enjoy getting up close and personal with the trees and their feathered friends, they’ll also love peering down on the wetlands below.
Top tips for the Learning Forest:
- The SPH Walk Of Giants and the Keppel Discovery Wetlands is open 7am to 7pm.
- Remember to bring bug spray and a bottle of water.
- Print out a copy of the Learning Forest Map so you can set your little explorers the task of navigating your way.
Now you’re in the heart of the gardens, you’re all set to explore the wonders of the Ginger Garden. Your kids will love playing hide and seek behind the waterfall and searching for frogs on the giant Amazon water lilies in the pond. Who knows, maybe they’ll find a prince in disguise!
National Orchid Garden
Orchids have a special place in the heart of Singaporeans, and nowhere is better to marvel at their beauty than in the National Orchid Garden. Download a trail guide and see if your little ones can spot the different kinds of blooms as they explore this beautiful garden. Enjoy the path through the iconic Golden Shower Arches or Dancing Lady Orchids and make sure you look out for Singapore’s national flower, the beautiful Vanda Miss Joaquim.
Top tips for the National Orchid Garden:
- The National Orchid Garden is open 8.30am to 7pm (last entry 6pm).
- Tickets cost $5 for adults and $1 for senior citizens and students. Children under 12 years are free.
The Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden
The Children’s Garden is a great place for kids to have fun while learning about ecology. Your kids will love cooling off in the water jets, getting lost in the melting maze and whizzing down the treehouse slides. Why not download an activity sheet so you can be sure they don’t miss anything?
Bear in mind some areas of the children’s garden are currently closed for refurbishment works. We’re super excited about the new garden which will be twice as big, making it the largest children’s garden in Asia. The best news for parents of bigger kids is there will be a new rainforest adventure zone so teens up to the age of 14 can come and enjoy the fun.
Top tips for the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden:
- The nearest gate to the Children’s Garden is the Bukit Timah Gate.
- To enter the garden, all children must be accompanied by an adult, and all adults must be accompanied by a child.
- While dogs on a leash are welcome in the Botanic Gardens, they are not allowed in the Children’s Garden.
- The Children’s Garden is open 8am to 7pm and is closed on Mondays (except public holidays).
If you enter the Botanic Gardens through the impressive Tanglin Gate, you’ll go straight into the heart of the Tanglin Core. The CDL Green Gallery and SBG Heritage Museum have multimedia exhibits about the gardens that are worth checking out. If you’re feeling energetic, set your explorers the task of guiding you along the Heritage Trail. See if you can spot the beautiful swans from Amsterdam gliding serenely across Swan Lake.
If you’re feeling adventurous, go off-trail to take in the beauty of the tiny trees in the Bonsai Garden and the spiky cacti and succulents of the Sun Garden.
Finish up with a trip to the Bandstand – one of the iconic sights of the Botanic Gardens – and an obligatory photo opportunity.
Palm Valley, Symphony Lake, The Rain Forest
If you’re looking for a wide open space to let off some steam, head for the beautiful soft hills of Palm Valley and Symphony Lake – perfect for a spot of grass rolling! In contrast, your little explorers will feel like they are entering the depths of the jungle as they step into the Rain Forest and marvel at the towers of ferns, climbers and 50m high trees.
If you have any dinosaur hunters in your pack you might enjoy exploring the Evolution Garden where you can learn about the history of our planet from 3,500 million years ago through to today.
One of our favourite things about the Singapore Botanic Gardens is the enthusiastic volunteers and staff who make all visitors feel so welcome. On Saturdays, volunteers run a variety of guided family tours.
There are also programmes for children and families which include storytelling, biodiversity workshops, drama activities and art and craft events. Check out the events page for concerts, exhibitions, plant sales and special tours.
If your kids enjoy following a trail, download a trail guide. The trails vary in length from 40 to 90 minutes and are a great way of seeing all the iconic sights of the gardens.
WHERE TO EAT
All that exploring is bound to make you work up a healthy appetite. Never fear, there are plenty of options for good food and drink at the Botanic Gardens.
- Enjoy all-day dining in the garden and bistro at The Bee’s Knees at The Garage. We love the breakfast menu, and there are also good salad, sandwich, and fruit bowl options too.
- Pizza is always a popular choice! Casa Verde at the Nassim Gate serves up pizza from their wood-fired oven, as well as delicious pasta.
- If you’re looking for something a bit more Singaporean, Food Canopy just outside the Raffles Building at 1J Cluny Road (Nassim Gate) has stalls selling local favourites such as chicken rice, as well as delicious Thai food and some western choices.
- Alternatively, pack a picnic and find a shady spot under a tree to relax while your kids enjoy rolling around on the grass!
And for the grown-ups…
The Botanic Gardens is the perfect place to come for a romantic evening or a date with friends.
- Enjoy Mediterranean-with-a-splash-of-local flavours at the beautiful Halia restaurant (if you find yourself there at breakfast time, the chili crab eggs are very tasty indeed). Afterwards, take a stroll through the romantic night lighting of the nearby Ginger Garden.
- If you fancy something with the flavour of Spain in the heart of Singapore why not enjoy an evening at the appropriately named Botanico at the Garage.
- But if it’s a touch of French refinement you’re looking for, try out the exclusive Corner House where chef Jason Tan creates beautiful flavours in this historic building at the heart of gardens. Sure to make any special occasion a memorable one.
HOW TO GET THERE
There are four entrances to the Singapore Botanic Gardens:
The Tanglin Gate for the Heritage Trail, Swan Lake and Bandstand
Bus/MRT: SBS Transit 7, 105, 123, 174,174e, SMRT 75, 77, 106, NR8
Nearest MRT station: Orchard MRT (North-South Line) and a 5-min bus ride to Tanglin Gate
Taxi: Drop off / pick up point
Parking: Botany Centre via junction of Holland/Napier Road
The Nassim Gate for Palm Valley, the Halia Restaurant and Casa Verde
Taxi: Drop off/ pickup point
Parking: Visitor Centre via junction of Nassim/Cluny Road
The Bukit Timah Gate for the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden
Bus/MRT: SBS Transit 48, 66, 151, 153, 154, 156, 170, SMRT 67, 171
Nearest MRT station: Botanic Gardens MRT station (circle and Downtown Line)
Taxi: Drop off/ pickup point
Parking: via Bukit Timah Road
The Tyersall Gate for the Learning Forest, The National Orchid Garden and The Ginger Garden
Tourist Shuttle: Hop on / hop off tour, FunVee City Tour
Parking: via Tyersall Ave
A FINAL WORD…
There’s no doubt that there’s plenty to do at Singapore Botanic Gardens which is why it’s such a firm family favourite. The most wonderful things about this beautiful park are the space, the views, and the peace. So make sure you take some time to let your kids loose and enjoy reconnecting with nature.
Be warned, scooters, bikes, and ball games aren’t allowed, but with shady places under the trees for hide and seek, secret paths to explore and lots of wildlife and cheeky sculptures to spot, keeping your little ones occupied will be a pleasure.
Singapore Botanic Gardens, 1 Cluny Road, Singapore 259569
Top image credit: Sue Holloway
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