Singapore Botanic Gardens
The luxurious botanical gardens adjoined to the Singapore central trade square Orchard Road are reckoned to be among the country’s most famous and frequently visited sights. Accurately too; several millions of tourists visit it annually. With the largest collection of tropical plants, the Singapore Gardens are rightly considered to be the leading equatorial botanic gardens in the world. Recently, the respected periodical ‘Time’ awarded it the title of ‘the best urban jungle.’
The city-state’s first experimental botanical gardens were laid out by Singapore's founder Stamford Raffles in 1822. His main objective was to cultivate agricultural crops that were important for the country: cocoa beans, cloves and nutmeg, as well as other spices and fruits that had potential economic importance for the young and developing state. However, seven years after Sir Raffles’ death the botanical garden was shut down.
In 1859, another – this time decorative – garden was laid out in place of the old one. This was planned as a city recreation park, where flower exhibitions and garden festivals could be organized. The creators masterly turned this huge area of primeval tropical forest into magnificent park, with well-groomed alleys, picturesque terraces, artificial lakes, waterfalls, sculptures and benches for relaxation.
The Singapore Botanical Gardens present all the richness and variety of this micro-country’s fauna: almost all of the known samples of tropical plants are gathered on park’s 52-hectare territory. The garden's grounds are divided into several sections, each of which is devoted to certain exposition. Palm Valley, Fern Conservatory, Ginger Garden and Swan Lake are among the most interesting ones. The evolution Garden also enjoys a special popularity among tourists. The exposition here tells the story of life’s origin and development, as well as about plants’ vital role in sustaining life on Earth. The plants that existed on the Earth thousands of years ago can be seen here.
The Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden – the first children’s interactive botanic garden in Asia – is where smaller visitors can make their own discoveries, conduct their first experiments with plants and learn to deal with nature carefully and was opened on the Singapore Gardens’ territory.
Several cafes and restaurants offering a variety of cuisines operate at the Botanical Garden. At weekends, live music concerts are conducted at the concert ground, located near the lake.