Over 46,000 visitors at the Istana's Chinese New Year open house

Dancers from the SOKA Sunflower Dance Ensemble peform at the Istana Lawn during the Chinese New Year open house at the Istana on Feb 20, 2015. -- PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Dancers from the SOKA Sunflower Dance Ensemble peform at the Istana Lawn during the Chinese New Year open house at the Istana on Feb 20, 2015. -- PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
President Tony Tan (right), looks at goats from Hay Dairies put on display in an animal pen during the Chinese New Year open house at the Istana on Feb 20, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
President Tony Tan (right), looks at goats from Hay Dairies put on display in an animal pen during the Chinese New Year open house at the Istana on Feb 20, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
A member of the Nanyang Girls' School Lion Dance Troupe entertains the crowd during the Chinese New Year open house at the Istana on Feb 20, 2015. The Istana opened its gates to more than 46,000 visitors on Friday, the second day of Chinese New Year.
A member of the Nanyang Girls' School Lion Dance Troupe entertains the crowd during the Chinese New Year open house at the Istana on Feb 20, 2015. The Istana opened its gates to more than 46,000 visitors on Friday, the second day of Chinese New Year. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
President Tony Tan and his wife First Lady Mary Tan, flanked by assistant director (Marketing and Communication) Singapore Chingay and Events Network, People's Association Zhang Kai Jie (left), 29, and project staff from the Singapore Chingay and Eve
President Tony Tan and his wife First Lady Mary Tan, flanked by assistant director (Marketing and Communication) Singapore Chingay and Events Network, People's Association Zhang Kai Jie (left), 29, and project staff from the Singapore Chingay and Events Network, People's Association Casie Zheng, 34, display their flowers which they made out of recycled plastic bags during the Chinese New Year open house at the Istana on Feb 20, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - The Istana opened its gates to more than 46,000 visitors on Friday, the second day of Chinese New Year.

The 40ha President's residence in the heart of the city is open to the public just four days a year. It hosted lion dance performances and appearances from macaws, from Jurong Bird Park, and goats from a local farm.

Visitors enjoyed picnics and took photos.

Among them was 28-year-old Charmaine Su, who took her grandmother. "She is 65 this year, but has never gone to the Istana," said the accountant. "She even made me take a photo of her... you can sort of see the President in the crowd behind her. She was pretty excited about that."

About 8,000 of the visitors were foreigners.

President Tony Tan Keng Yam and his wife Mary joined the crowd at about 4pm, greeting visitors and watching performances from local and international groups - including an all-girls' lion dance troupe from Nanyang Girls' High School and a team of acrobats from China.

The Istana opens to the public on selected dates each year, to mark Chinese New Year, Labour Day, Hari Raya Aidilfitri, National Day and Deepavali.

Entry is free for Singaporeans and permanent residents, while others pay $1.