Gardens by the Bay is set to introduce a new “experiential” attraction within the next three years, aiming to provide visitors with a unique experience of the Kingfisher Wetlands, a 1.5-hectare area filled with mangrove plants. The proposed attraction may incorporate augmented and virtual reality elements, according to Felix Loh, the CEO of Gardens by the Bay.
This initiative is part of the Gardens’ strategy to diversify its offerings as it moves into the next phase beyond its initial decade of operations since officially opening in 2012. To give visitors a glimpse of what to expect, two upcoming installations are planned. The first, “Monet’s Garden,” is slated to open in mid-2024 at the Flower Dome, offering an immersive art experience featuring re-creations of Claude Monet’s works and his gardens in Giverny, France.
The second installation, located in the Cloud Forest, will serve as a trial for concepts that may be implemented at the future attraction near Kingfisher Wetlands. Currently, the Cloud Forest hosts the “Avatar: The Experience” installation, which concludes on January 1, 2024. Subsequent to this, a National Geographic exhibition will run from February to April, followed by a revamp of the exhibition space and Cloud Forest Gallery.
Felix Loh emphasized the importance of maintaining a balance between immersive experiences and the prominence of plants within the Gardens. While details about the upcoming attraction near Kingfisher Wetlands are yet to be disclosed, Loh’s team is actively working on the project, considering it alongside other upgrades to meet the needs of three key objectives.
Firstly, Gardens by the Bay aims to expand its capacity as visitor numbers gradually return to pre-pandemic levels, which exceeded 13 million people annually. The Bay South Garden, the current location of the conservatories, and other attractions is experiencing increased crowding.
Secondly, the Gardens strives to remain relevant to each generation of Singaporeans by continuously evolving and innovating as a “people’s garden.” Lastly, financial sustainability is a key consideration, with the hope that the Gardens can eventually operate independently of significant government grants.
In the 2023 financial year, Gardens by the Bay recorded a deficit, before government grants, of $15.4 million, a substantial improvement from the $55.8 million deficit the previous year.
Beyond the upcoming attraction, plans for a third domed conservatory and further development of The Meadow, an outdoor event space, are being considered. The Bay East Garden is also set to open in 2027, featuring the Founders’ Memorial. While smaller-scale upgrades are planned for the Family Zone within Bay South, including a new woodland-themed family playground, the focus remains on the completion of Bay East Garden and its associated projects.
In addition, Gardens by the Bay is exploring the possibility of introducing a new horticulture-themed eatery at the Active Garden, emphasizing food sustainability and potentially sourcing fresh ingredients from the Gardens.
The organization is also actively involved in environmental initiatives, including the development of a second renewable energy plant, which will use gasification to convert carbon-based waste into fuel. Discussions are ongoing with authorities to determine the plant’s location, ensuring it aligns with the commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2045, ahead of the national 2050 target.
As Gardens by the Bay continues its commitment to responsible citizenship and sustainability, these initiatives aim to enhance the overall visitor experience while contributing to environmental and community well-being.