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A nature-themed adventure playground is now open to the public, along with two conserved black-and-white bungalows housing exhibits on Singapore’s forests and botanical art.

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Not only for children: The Como Adventure Grove playground at the Singapore Botanical Gardens’ Gallop extension. (Photo: Hanidah Amin)



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SINGAPORE: Two conserved houses and a nature-themed playground are among the new features at the Singapore Botanic Gardens’ 8-hectare Gallop Extension that opened to the public on Saturday (Mar 13).

The new features add to the ridge-top hiking trail and a new arboretum that were opened in October 2019. 

Here’s what you can see and do at the new features.  

FOREST DISCOVERY CENTRE

Built in 1898, the oldest surviving colonial-era bungalow in Singapore is now home to the Forest Discovery Centre @ OCBC Arboretum, which showcases the country’s forest ecosystems.

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Forest Discovery Centre @ OCBC Arboretum is housed in a conserved colonial-era house, the oldest such bungalow in Singapore. (Photo: Hanidah Amin)

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Gallop House No. 5 (Atbara) was built in 1898 and its structure remains unchanged. (Photo: Hanidah Amin)


In the black-and-white bungalow, visitors can learn basic skills in identifying forest wildlife, such as butterflies, birds and dragonflies.

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Visitors can look through a telescope to spot and identify wildlife like butterflies, bird and dragonflies in the forest. (Photo: Hanidah Amin)

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Another part of the bungalow showcases interesting features in Singapore’s forests and highlights the importance of conserving them.

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A photographic installation showcases native trees such as the durian, rhu, sea almond and gelam trees. (Photo: Hanidah Amin)

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Did you know there are several different types of forest habitats in Singapore? 

They include coastal and mangrove forests, freshwater swamp forests and tropical rainforests – and this area showcases them and highlights the importance of conserving them.

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Visitors hear nature sounds as they enter the area, giving them a flavour of what the forest habitat looks and feels like. (Photo: Hanidah Amin)

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Visitors can also watch footage from camera trap videos and listen to recordings of animal calls. (Photo: Ili Nadirah)

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COMO ADVENTURE GROVE PLAYGARDEN

Billed as a “nature playgarden”, the Como Adventure Grove aims to introduce children to nature through play, by recreating the experience of climbing and playing in trees.

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Designed to mimic the sprawling aerial root system of a mature weeping fig tree, visitors can climb the ropes and slide down the tunnel. (Photo: Hanidah Amin)

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A giant cempedak fruit can be seen from the top of the tunnel slide. (Photo: Hanidah Amin)

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A closer look at the giant cempedak fruit, a popular native fruit and a close relative of jackfruit and breadfruit. Visitors can climb up and scramble over the surface of the structure. (Photo: Hanidah Amin)

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Did you play with saga seeds when you were little? Visitors can run up and down the giant seed pod of the saga tree or hop on the bright red seeds. (Photo: Hanidah Amin)

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BOTANICAL ART GALLERY

Another refurbished colonial-era bungalow on the premises is now a gallery housing Singapore’s first permanent display of botanical art.

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Built in 1906, Gallop House No. 7 (Inverturret) is home to more than 2,000 botanical paintings as well as hundreds of sketches, line drawings and photographs. (Photo: Hanidah Amin)

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The entrance of the Botanical Art Gallery. (Photo: Hanidah Amin)

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Hundreds of sketches, line drawings and photographs are on displayed. (Photo: Hanidah Amin)

The art on display is a selection of watercolour botanical illustrations of native species, including some extinct species.

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Some of the watercolour illustrations are of species that are locally extinct. It highlights how botanical art serves as a contemporary record of plants, just like modern colour photographs. (Photo: Hanidah Amin)

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The activity room has sweeping views of the forested areas surrounding the house. Here, visitors can learn various techniques involved in botanical illustration, such as sketching and mixing colours and composing scenes. (Photo: Hanidah Amin)

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At the Botanical Art Gallery table stations, visitors can try out various activities, like sketching plant surface textures. (Photo: Hanidah Amin)

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Visitors can explore leaf shapes. (Photo: Hanidah Amin)

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Visitors can learn to draw flowers using the steps provided to them. (Photo: Hanidah Amin)

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Visitors can also smell the natural scents of plants that can be found in the Singapore Botanical Gardens, and try to identify them. (Photo: Hanidah Amin)

GALLOP VALLEY

If you love nature walks, Gallop Valley is intended as a tranquil retreat nestled amongst mature trees.

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Gallop Valley is a walkway down to Woollerton Drive. Through the estate, you will see Farrer Road MRT station. (Photo: Hanidah Amin)

Admission to all features in the Gallop Extension is free. Visitors are advised to go during off-peak hours.

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The Gallop Extension at the Singapore Botanical Garden is open to public on Saturday (Mar 13). (Photo: Hanidah Amin) 


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