Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Gardens by the Bay: Two Conservatories

Gardens by the Bay (aka GB, not to be confused with Great Britain) is a place that needs to be visited more than once. I had made several visits on different occasions. I wrote about it on my 1st visit here. I also went there for the Mid-Autumn Festival 2014 as well as Christmas Installation 2014.

When my brother and his wife told us of their plan to come to Singapore, Ada stumbled on a Groupon deal that cost $35 for admissions to the Flower Dome, Cloud Forest, and Underwater Water World.

The normal admissions for the 2 domes or Conservatories are $28 ($20 for local residents like me), and $30 for an adult ticket to the Underwater World in Sentosa.  So it's a good deal (all prices are quoted in Singapore dollars).



While I've been here several times, this is the 1st time that I spent a good part of the day to cover the 3 main highlights of GB (2 Conservatories and Supertrees Grove), for my visitors' benefits.

We started off with the 2 conservatories or domes in the afternoon as they're indoor, and best of all, cooled environments. And finish off at Supertrees Grove by about 6:30pm to see it in the dusk, and stayed on until 7:45pm for the light and sound show (Officially known as "OCBC Garden Rhapsody").

Cloud Forest, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
Award-winning Cloud Forest Conservatory

Before entering the 2 domes, I tried to impress my visitors with some facts. The Flower Dome is the largest glasshouse (without columns) in the world (I'm increasingly feeling like a honorary ambassador of Singapore).

Plus, the 2 Cooled Conservatories bagged the World Building of the Year in the high profiled WAF (World Architecture Festival) in 2012 when they were opened. They're also one of the largest climate-controlled green houses int he world.

Impressed? They should feel like money well spent (with or without the discount).

Cloud Forest
When you enter this glasshouse, you'll be greeted with an impressive 35m tall waterfall and man-made mountain that's covered in ferns, clubmosses, epiphytes, etc.

Waterfall from the man-made Cloud Mountain, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
Waterfall from the man-made Cloud Mountain Forest

Another immediate reaction is how refreshing and cool inside, especially coming from a humid sunny days.

Cantilevered walkway extends out of the man-made Cloud Mountain, Cloud Forest Dome, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
Cantilevered walkway extends out of the man-made Cloud Mountain

The cantilevered walkway extends out of the man-made Cloud Mountain allows visitors to walk around it to give different perspective. Water mists are blown out of the pipes below the walkway to create the "cloud" on the mountain, creating the necessary humidity that this structure is trying to emulate in a Cloud Forest.


Amazonian totem pole, Cloud Forest Dome, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
Amazonian totem pole
View of Marina Bay Sands from Cloud Forest Dome, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
View of Marina Bay Sands from Cloud Forest
Wooden sculpture, Cloud Forest Dome, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
Wooden sculpture

Reptiles and human aren't the only animals who eat small insects, carnivorous plants also eat them as well. When the plants couldn't get enough nourishment of main dishes from nutrition-poor soils, they eke out their dinner with side dishes like insects that crawl into their pitchers.

Pitcher plants
Pitcher plants seen in GB


Flower Dome
While the Flower Dome is only slightly larger than the Cloud Forest, because the fact that we get an almost unobstructed view, it seems far larger. Cloud Forest is certainly taller of the two in order to house the Cloud Mountain.

Apart from the permanent plant displays, this greenhouse tend to have different exhibits throughout the year. At the moment, the exhibits are in the theme of Chinese New Year 2015.

Chinese New Year of the Goat decoration, Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
Chinese New Year Displays for the Year of the Goat
Chinese New Year of the Goat decoration, Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore Chinese New Year decoration, Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

Since Flower Dome displays plants from the mediterranean and the semi-arid zones. For the Aussie expat who's a little homesick, go to this garden and get yourself a little sicker.

Kangaroo paws, Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
Kangaroo paws found in Flower Dome
Red Kangaroo Paws
Red Kangaroo Paws found commonly in Sydney

While Kangaroo Paws are native only around area near Perth, Western Australia. These days, they're sold commercially in many places around the world. On the other hand, Kangaroo Paws are found in many places around Sydney (and other capital cities, I suspect). The above photo of Red Kangaroo Paw, for example, was taken near Circular Quay Station in Sydney.

Queensland Bottle Tree, Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
Queensland Bottle Tree

I've also seen and took some photos of this Queensland bottle tree when I visited King's Park last year.



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