A Fantasy in Flowers

In 2019, Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay opened its latest indoor attraction: Floral Fantasy.

In comparison to the giant Cloud Forest and Flower Dome greenhouses, Floral Fantasy is quite modest (for comparison’s sake, the Flower Dome is 12,000 square meters; Floral Fantasy is 1,500). And rather than being one cohesive structure, it’s more like a space that happens to house four separate flower-related exhibits. The four areas even have different names. The first is called Dance, which I might subtitle “Dried Flowers Hanging From the Ceiling.”

Some of them even move:

I don’t think that this little guy is a permanent part of the exhibit — he looked like a Christmas addition — but I really liked him:

The next portion of Floral Fantasy is titled Float, which I might call “Large & Vaguely Flora-Related Sculpture.” Here you can find birds …

… Nobu the Garden Guardian…

… whom I found rather creepy …

… a globe ringed with dried flowers …

… and a pile of stuff called “Joy.”

To me, the most exciting parts of Float were the one hundred fuchsia plants hanging down from the ceiling (I finally felt like I was starting to get the flowers I’d been promised)…

… and the little bits of whimsy like crocheted models of pitcher plants, a larger-than-life blue beetle sculpture, a fabulous Oceanic carving, and what might or might not be a child’s T-Rex toy lost in a plant pot:

The next section, waltz, is where the “floral” part of “Floral Fantasy” really starts to take shape.

Set into a background of “waterfalls” (sheets of water falling from rain tubes) and soothing music are dozens of anthuriums …

… bromeliads …

… and orchids in all shapes and sizes:

But the real stars of the show in Waltz are the poison dart frogs (I don’t know why they’re in a Floral Fantasy exhibit, but they’re irresistible) …

… and it’s hard to miss this very aggressive version of the Merlion:

The final attraction in Floral Fantasy is Drift, a cave-like area that features plants from Central and South America.

Ferns predominate here; they hang down from the ceiling, they cling to the walls, and they spring up from the ground.

And there are, of course, more orchids:

In non-COVID times, Floral Fantasy also features something called “Fantasy Theatre: Flight of the Dragonfly,” which is billed as a “multi-sensory 4D experience.” But that’s closed at the moment, so I missed it.

I’ve been trying to decide whether I would return to (and pay the entrance fee for) Floral Fantasy. On the one hand, I love flowers of all kinds, and Floral Fantasy has 3,000 plants from more than 150 species on display. The orchids in particular are probably worth the price of admission if that’s your thing. On the other hand, Floral Fantasy feels a little muddled somehow, like the place can’t decide exactly what it wants to be. So time will tell whether I decide to go back.

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