10 Things To Do At The Botanic Gardens

Singapore's first Unesco site isn't just for joggers and tree huggers

1. Embark on an art discovery trail
13 Aug 2015

1. Embark on an art discovery trail

There are more than 20 sculptures tucked away in different parts of the Gardens, including this carefree one by Sydney Harpley entitled Girl on a Bicycle at Lawn O. Seek out the pieces and their stories as you stroll amid the plants and trees. There’s also the occasional art exhibition held at the various galleries and SBG Heritage Museum. 

2. Hang out with famous names
13 Aug 2015

2. Hang out with famous names

Joe and Jill Biden, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and more have all graced the Gardens and had orchids named after them. Now you can spend some time with these blooms at the English-styled VIP Orchid Garden – and say you’ve chillaxed with (Dendrobium) Margaret Thatcher and (Papilonanda) Ban Ki-Moon.

3. Learn to tell time like the ancients
13 Aug 2015

3. Learn to tell time like the ancients

Quite the survival skill, we say. Leave your watches at home and practice using the sundials at the National Orchid Garden and the Sundial Garden. If you want to go one Indiana Jones step further, try solving the identities of two of the carved figurines on the latter’s base – no one’s been able to yet.

4. Picnic at the bandstand
13 Aug 2015

4. Picnic at the bandstand

Ta pow a basket of yummy grub (we recommend the customisable version from Cocotte) and head to this 1930s gazebo in the Tanglin bit of the Botanic Gardens.  There you can enjoy a view of the ring of yellow rain trees surrounding it, or watch one of the many wedding photo shoots that take place here.

5. Go on a guided walk
13 Aug 2015

5. Go on a guided walk

Whether you’re interested in medicinal plants, the history of the Botanic Gardens or the ecosystem, there’s a walking trail for you. Held every Saturday (except for the fifth Saturday of the month), they’re available in English, Mandarin and Japanese. The best part? The tours are free.

6. Attend a botanical-themed workshop
13 Aug 2015

6. Attend a botanical-themed workshop

The Gardens’ Botany Centre holds regular talks and classes ranging from how to make your own terrariums and breed orchids to aquatic plant gardening workshops. Yup, very hipster cool. Find out what’s on and sign up at NParks.

7. Go animal-spotting
13 Aug 2015

7. Go animal-spotting

Think of the Botanic Gardens as a more central alternative to Jurong Bird Park. Here, you can gaze at swans, ducks and more at Swan Lake and Eco Lake, plus feed fish and terrapins at Swan Lake and the Green Pavilion. (Fish food is available from dispensing machines near the pavilion.)

8. Feed amid the forest
13 Aug 2015

8. Feed amid the forest

More of a chillout person? (Read: no sweat, minimal movement preferred.) Take a table at one of the Gardens’ many restaurants – we recommend casual-chic Casa Verde by the Les Amis Group or the fancier Halia for delish nosh.

9. Watch a concert or a movie
13 Aug 2015

9. Watch a concert or a movie

Whether you’re a classical music buff or a heartland auntie, there’s something for you to watch here. This month alone, check out the SSO Classics in the Park concert at the Shaw Foundation Symphony stage, and a screening of the local movie Taxi! Taxi! at Swan Lake. 

10. Treat yourself (and the kids) to Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden
13 Aug 2015

10. Treat yourself (and the kids) to Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden

Talk about a family-friendly attraction. This is probably the only garden in Singapore where “all children must be accompanied by an adult, and all adults must be accompanied by a child”. This eco-friendly interactive playground features a suspension bridge, tree house slides, a maze and more. Fun for everyone.

There's so much more than greenery in the oldest surviving tropical gardens within the Straits Settlements. Here are 10 ways to enjoy the sprawling 74-hectare, 150-year-old space.

Photos: NParks, Tripadvisor, Casa Verde