Gardens by the Bay - The Cloud Forest

This is a monthly post on 'Educational Places'. Every 4th week of the month I will post on local educational places we have brought AJ to.

Jan - The Coins & Notes Museum
Feb - The NEWater Plant

For a while, I was understudying with Gardens by the Bay (GB) & I do find this Garden unique, something Botanical Gardens & other parks do not offer.  However, I do find the entrance fees to the 2 conservatories ($20 for adult; $12 for children) a little hefty if you simply go in to snap some photos.  Actually, if you are a plant lover, GB has a lot to offer you, which will make the entrance fees worthwhile.

1 of the ways is to tour the Gardens via guided tour.  To make the cost more effective, size matters. So if you have a group size of > 12, do consider this option.

The other way is audio tour.  The conservatories audio tour device is available for rental at $4 each.  AJ used that for his tour as there were only 2 of us.  The audio tour explained how the conservatories were built & the plant type in great details.  The beauty of audio tour is you can listen to it over & over again on topics you like & skip those that you do not like.




The Cloud Forest Conservatory is 58-metre high, replicating real life cloud forest.  The 'mountain' itself is 35-metre. It is cool & moist here, with temperature ranging from 23-25 degree C though it often feel colder because of the waterfall.  Do remember to bring jackets for your little ones.

Here are some plants we have learnt during our educational trip:

At the Foothills

Tasmania Tree Fern


The Tasmania Tree Fern is the largest fern in this conservatory.  What seems like a trunk is actually not a trunk, it is the remains of the earlier decay.  It is a medium for roots to grow.

Cycad


The Cycad has naked seeds, beetles pollinate them.  They are slow growing & also slow to reproduce.  It is often confused with fern but it is not a fern because it does not have pores.

Magnolia


Magnolia has white flowers & can grow up to 30 cm in diameter.  The flower has a fruity sweet smell. 

Coffee


Coffee is native to Africa.  It is a shrub that can grow up to 5 metres.  It grows 600 metres above sea level & requires no insects to help in pollination (only lowland plants depend on insects to pollinate). 

The Lost World

This is the highest point of the 'mountain'. The Lost World replicates the cloud forest vegetation at 2000 metres above sea level.  This area gets the most light & air circulation.  Plants grow best here.  The main attractions here are the carnivorous plants.

Pitcher Plant & Trumpet Pitcher


This kind of plant is accustomed to acidic soil which is poor in nutrients. They capture insects to produce nitrogen for food.  They are also called Climber Plants or Ambititis.

Venus Flytrap  


This kind of plant captures & digest insects.  It has tiny hairs in the internal surface.  When the insects touch the hairs, the trap would close within 20 seconds.  The insects are then digested by the enzymes produced.  Digestion would take about 10 days, after which, the trap would open again.

Cloud Walk

If you are afraid of height, you would probably want to skip this & go down by the elevator instead.  Cloud Walk takes you outside the mountain for a closed-up view of the of epiphytes plant species that clad the side of the mountain.

Bromeliad


As you walk down from the Lost World via the Tree Top Walk, you may spot some Bromeliad & Medinilla.  Bromeliad belongs to the Pineapple family.  It collects water/dew/mist to supply for the plant.  Frogs like to lay eggs inside too.

Medinilla


Medinilla is a shrub.  It has hanging groups of flowers, which act like an umbrella for the predators.

+5 Degrees

On your way out, you will come to this theatre where they showcase how the world would be like if the temperature were to raise 5 degrees more.  It is a 5-min show & is extremely educational.  It teaches the children the importance of conserving resources.  You may catch a glimpse of the show here:

video

AJ enjoyed this trip very much as this is his 1st audio tour.  He liked the autonomy of listening to the audio device & select which one to repeat when he has missed out something.  We also visited the Flower Dome & the Supertree Grove, which will be covered in separate posts.

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