We’ve already written a couple of kids adventure blogs within the Singapore Botanical Gardens here and here, but it’s a massive place, with lots of options to do with young children. We’ve been going to the Gardens for nearly 10 years, and somehow, we continue to find new activities to do with our boys. A recent discovery is the Rainforest Walk. We’ve spent so much time on either side of this walk, but we never noticed this treasure in the middle. So on a recent adventure, we accidentally discovered the Rainforest and it’s just beautiful – some of the trees are magnificent, and the canopy is really coming together as well – very special.
To help you find it, start at the main visitor centre just off Cluny Road at the junction of Nassim road (click here for location map) and walk straight through the café area following signs to the Symphony Lake. When you get to the crest of the path, head towards the lake, down the steep-ish steps or path – our boys usually run full tilt down here and I shudder to think the amount of skin we have lost off their knees after multiple spills.
Once you hit the lake with the stage immediately in front of you, take a right and follow the lake around counter-clockwise. At the far end there is a shade house built out into the lake, which is a good spot to feed the fish and terrapins. On this subject, there are signs everywhere strongly suggesting to only feed the aquatic animals food purchased from the vending machines (which cost $1 per capsule and are at the visitor centre, main entrance and this shade house), but we see plenty of families using bread to nourish the wildlife.
Continue walking around the lake, if you’re lucky you might see one of the big monitor lizards in the undergrowth or in the water, and there’s usually a plethora of fish jumping around. You will find yourself back at the other side of the stage. Here, off to the right, is a set of concrete steps, which the boys love sliding down. I know it sounds painful, but it looks like many a small bottom has done it over the years, so it’s actually quite smooth now. Walk a little further and you will see “Palm Valley” which is the grassy hill area sloping up towards the Orchid Gardens. Essentially, this is where the crowds sit when there’s a concert on the stage.
Palm Valley is a good picnic spot and seems to be where everyone hangs out to kick a ball, play Frisbee and just relax. However, being a valley, sometimes it feels like there is no air circulating and it can be stiflingly hot and humid. Walk all the way to the top of this valley, to the stairs.
At the top in the Orchid Plaza there is a gift shop, a restaurant and also The Garden Refreshment Kiosk which sells drinks, snacks and ice cream. Be warned, the ice cream is not good – really sugary and brightly coloured – so obviously heaps of artificial stuff. Our boys tend to go ballistic on this, so we try to avoid it if possible – may be a good idea if any of your kids are super-sugar sensitive also…
Standing with your back to Palm Valley, just over to the left is the start of the Rainforest Walk up a small incline. It seems this is either not popular, or so hidden away that many people miss it. It’s a beautiful boardwalk that meanders through the rainforest area, and it feels untouched. There are massive trees, lots of birds and wildlife to look at, and many of the trees have information plaques telling you what they are, how old, etc. There are also a few rest stops and benches. All up it’s not that long – I’d reckon 500 metres if that – but the kids take their time and seem to really love it. It’s also surprisingly cool, and you can get yourself a great big lung full of oxygen – so it makes you feel good as well.
The last couple of times we went, there were two paths – one heading back to the main entrance, and the other heading to what we call Swan Lake – we’ll be doing a Swan Lake Blog soon. However, the path to Swan Lake has been under construction for some time, so we haven’t headed that way yet, and as such, we’ve always headed back to the main entrance, or if you want to go the other way, turn around to where you came from, and turn left when you get to the path.
At the end of the Rainforest walk (heading back in the direction of the main entrance to the Botanical Gardens), you head down some steep steps, which brings you out overlooking the lake, close to the visitor centre. The café at the visitor centre, Casa Verde, does good homemade pizzas, pastries, coffee and fresh juices, so you can thread this into your adventure as well.
It can get very hot and steamy, so maybe think about this for either a morning or late afternoon option. If you are there at dusk the mosquitos can get a bit urgent, so remember repellent, and of course hats, water and sunblock.
Done quickly, you could easily do this circuit in half an hour, but we take our time and find it a nice way to spend two-three hours in an afternoon. Obviously it’s not the most “exciting” adventure, but our kids seem to enjoy variety and they love this place. It offers lots of poking around opportunities – something small kids love – and there are plenty of things for the kids to poke their heads and hands into. We think it’s a great adventure to do with our boys, and we enjoy doing it as well.