Two wildlife parks to join Zoo, Night Safari in Mandai
SINGAPORE will soon have a wildlife and nature attraction in Mandai, complete with eco-lodges and a rainforest-themed park where visitors can get up close to wildlife.
When the Mandai nature precinct is complete by 2023, two new wildlife parks - the Rainforest Park and the Bird Park - will join the existing trio: the Singapore Zoo, the River Safari and the Night Safari.
Sleeping under the stars could be an option for those who want to spend a night or two in Mandai, as accommodation options such as tents, suites and family rooms are being considered.
There will also be nature trails, boardwalks, outdoor seating and playgrounds, where no admission fees will be charged.
The 126ha Mandai hub sits just outside the Central Catchment Nature Reserve and borders Upper Seletar Reservoir.
The plans to turn the area into a nature precinct were announced yesterday by developer Mandai Safari Park, and were welcomed by tourism experts who said they could help Singapore jump on the fast-growing nature tourism bandwagon.
At the new 12.5ha Rainforest Park, visitors can stroll along aerial walkways that extend from the forest floor to treetop canopies, or enjoy the coolness of the forest as they relax in pods suspended from the ground.
The Bird Park, which will be relocated from Jurong, will occupy 17ha and open as early as 2020. Birds will fly freely in nine "upsized" aviaries, each featuring a unique landscape such as wetlands and bamboo forests. Mike Barclay, group chief executive of Mandai Safari Park, said at the press conference yesterday: "We may be surrounded by the forests while in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, but many people may not get a chance to encounter wildlife there. Now, they'll be able to do so here."
The Mandai precinct is being designed to be in harmony with nature. The two new wildlife parks will be developed on previously occupied land and measures will be taken to minimise impact on the flora and fauna in the area.
An eco-bridge will be built across Mandai Lake Road for animals to move between the central and northern reaches of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.
Plans for the Mandai makeover were first announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in September 2014. The first phase of its development, which could start as early as later this year, costs $1 billion. It will cover the construction of the two new parks.
Michael Chiam, Ngee Ann Polytechnic's senior tourism lecturer, said: "More Singapore residents are getting away from their concrete jungle environment into nature and wilderness, to relax and be rejuvenated. This hub has great potential to attract them."
Housewife Foo Kailing, 34, liked the idea of having public access spaces.
The mother of two children, aged six and eight, said: "I've only taken my children to the zoo once. With more open spaces that are free, there are more reasons to go back."