Happy New Year : 1 January 2019 and the morning is fresh and fair – perfect for the magical moments happening in the Botanic Gardens.


The Gardens are abuzz with goings-on : children, pets, joggers, groups, yoga and tai chi, strollers, grandparents, families, photographers.


Perhaps because it is the beginning of the year … perhaps because there is no reason to rush anywhere … or perhaps because of the promise of fresh possibilities, the Gardens present much more than a walk, a run or exercise.


Three otters have taken residence in the body of water near the Cluny Park/MRT entrance and people are entranced with their antics. Sleek little heads torpedo through the water; there are plenty of photo-ops as they tumble ashore, sunbathe, play, turn topsy turvy or investigate sans fear, often coming close to the groups and children standing at a respectful distance.



Four black swans occupy the lake shore opposite the Jacob Ballas Gardens entry point to the  Gardens; their slender necks outlined in the reflecting waters, preening, grooming, ignoring the people who pause with interest and in delight.

Black swans



Countless turtles swim up to the boardwalk spanning a part of the water body between the Cluny Park and Jacob Ballas entry points; they submerge and re-appear endlessly, little heads bobbing, bobbing.



Monitor Lizards / NParks website

Monitor lizards and their families go about their business, and visitors stand aside as parents and youngsters cross paths, pause under palms or disappear into the undergrowth.




Pheasant / Mantamola blog

Varieties of birds and their calls fill the air: owls, parrots, cockatoos, the ubiquitous mynahs, sparrows, sun birds, golden orioles, green pigeons, pheasants …






Parrots / Mantamola Blog
From the Mantamola Blog


Woodpecker / Mantablog


Families of jungle fowl stir up the morning with crowing, fights between males, clucking mothers shepherding their chicks and a general busyness.


Singapore Botanic Gardens


These then, are the unexpected, inspiring, heart-lifting magical moments that you might chance upon on a visit to the Botanical Gardens. Any time. Any day. All for free.


Photographs of the birds borrowed from the Mantamola Blog.