To create a first-class playground that cuts across all income groups.
That's the vision of Dr Tan Wee Kiat, chief executive officer of the Gardens by the Bay, and his dream is soon set to materialize.
Built at the cost of $10 million, the 1 hectare Children's Garden located between the Cloud Forest and the Mangrove Wetland will be Singapore's newest garden attraction when it opens next June.
A tree-planting ceremony was held on Friday to mark the official opening ceremony on the building of the children’s garden. Guest-of-honour Minister of National Development, Khaw Boon Wan, graced the event.
The garden, which is meant for children from 1 to 12 years old, hopes to encourage a deeper appreciation for nature among the youth.
The two key components of the garden are namely water play and forest adventure. The garden will have four areas.
The first, the Toddler Play Zone, will cater to children up to 5 years old and will feature equipment such as balancing beams, seesaw, hammocks and swings. Within that area is a toddler water play area which utilizes modern water play technology to create an ever changing interactive landscape of water tunnels and sprouts.
The second area, the Rainforest Tree Houses and Associated Play Equipment, will cater to children between ages 6 to 12. Two tree houses at 4 metres and 7.5 metres tall respectively are located within a dense area of rainforest trees. They are linked by timber and rope bridges that span across a 130-metre long forest trail.
The centrepiece of the garden is the Tadpole Water Play. It will feature hydro vaults, splash leaves and splines to form an interactive landscape. This landscape allows sensors to detect movements of the children to create a corresponding sequrnce of water effects.
Lastly, the 320-seater Amphiteatre with Covered Canopy serves as a venue to hold educational events.
Described Dr Tan as Singapore’s first national gardens, the sprawling play garden will complement the more tourist-oriented Singapore Botanical Gardens as the “yin and yang” of Singapore.
The children’s gardens, Tan said, had always been a part of the Gardens by the Bay plan. It only came later because they were initially looking for sponsors.
“Water play is not cheap. It must be safe, fun and exciting…a universal playground,” Tan said, adding that this is a handicap-friendly play area with special customized designs.
He emphasized that apart from the primary issue of safety, the play area also takes into account that there are amenities and food and beverage outlets for the family members.
The children’s gardens is still work in progress. Tan assured the public however, that plans will not stop there. “A garden evolves; a children’s garden will always evolve.”
Apart from the children’s gardens, Tan also revealed more upcoming projects for Gardens by the Bay to include an outdoor cactus garden, and a foodies' area called “Satay by the Bay”.