Why We Love the Botanic Gardens

My family loves to go to the Singapore Botanic Gardens, one of our island's most well-loved tourist attractions which draw about 3 million visitors annually. Its enticing mix of free admission, beautiful 52 hectare landscape, awe-inspiring greenery and thoughtful touches makes it a must visit for us. We always feel rejuvenated after our trips there.

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Our journey begins near the Visitor's Centre section of the Gardens. Most of the amenities are located near here.

The implementation of paid parking was a bane to some and a boon to others. For me, I like the idea of more parking spaces being available, even though I have to pay for it.

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On the way in, I spotted this Hippo Bus, which is an innovative topless Hop-On Hop-Off tour service. Its owner James Heng has been known to an envelope-pushing entrepreneur who recently won the tourism awards.

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The Visitor's Centre provides a nice shady spot to rest and prepare for the hike through the garden. Old-world style clocks telling the time of major cities around the world plus photographic exhibitions add a nice touch. Its ample seats are also useful, especially for the numerous parents with tots on prams.

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SBG's family friendliness is extended to its changing/ maternity room (which is very decent and comfortable I might add) as well as water coolers catering to visitors of different heights.

The rest rooms are almost an attraction in themselves...

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...and of course, we musn't forget that junior needs to wash his hands after his pee pee too!

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Cafe Les Amis has always attracted crowds of all ages despite its relatively pricey (though quality offerings). Foodies will know that its parentage - the Les Amis Group - is one of the top restaurant chains offering pristine fine dining experiences.

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Directional signs are always an important component in any attraction. Try wandering around lost in the tropical heat and you know what I mean.

The sight and sound of cascading waters amidst the serene surroundings helps soothe the savage beasts instantly.

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For those botanically inclined (like me), you can read information panels telling you about the characteristics of various floral families and species.

Another breathtaking sight to behold, this time of the Palm Valley. This is our favourite hangout as it gives Ethan lots of room to run wild and play.

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What are Tina and Ethan looking at? And what is he throwing *gasp* into the water?

No prizes for guessing. The fishes and terrapins seemed ravenous and attacked every single morsel of bread thrown at them.

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Ethan next had some fun with a new bubble-cum-water-gun. Here he is intent on creating the most number of bubbles in a single chain...

...followed by "attack the mama and papa" with the water pistol. Help!

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On our way back, Ethan suddenly decided to take a walk up the Rainforest track. Apparently some of the trees here are more than a century old. And of course, please don't introduce damaging alien species that will disturb the balance of its eco-system.

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On our way up, we spotted this intrepid guide (likely a volunteer) who was sharing with the group about the habits of the Cicada, a fascinating insect that spends 10 over years underground as a nymph before emerging for only a couple of weeks as a winged adult. Of course, its shimmering song is unmistakable in any tropical rainforest.

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Somewhere along the jungle track, Ethan decided to take his cap off to the gardens - literally. Hot, sweaty but happy. I guess that's what we all felt.

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