Istana to hold Chinese New Year open house on Jan 26

Visitors at the May Day Istana Open House on May 1, 2019. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Istana grounds will be open to the public from 8.30am to 6pm next Sunday (Jan 26), the second day of Chinese New Year.

For the first time, the i'mable gift market will operate at the Istana open house.

The gift market is an initiative by SG Enable - an agency set up by the Ministry of Social and Family Development - to promote and market artworks and artisanal products by talented people with disabilities.

President Halimah Yacob had attended a gift market at the Enabling Village in Lengkok Bahru in November last year when the initiative was announced.

At the Istana open house, the gift market will feature items such as leather products, homeware, jewellery, notebooks and paintings.

There will also be a Wildlife Reserves Singapore awareness booth where visitors can learn about rats and their rodent relatives, including their excellent sense of smell and how they adapt to different environments.

Visitors can even interact with two species of rodents - dumbo rats and guinea pigs - and take part in games and create "rat noses" using recycled red packets.

This Chinese New Year marks the Year of the Rat, one of 12 Chinese zodiac animals.

The Istana grounds will also host performances by buskers at the lawn as well as lion dance, Chinese dance and Chinese drums performances.

Those hungry can head to a food truck selling Thai fusion food and another serving burgers and fries.

Visitors can sign up for the Nature Guided Walk as well, to learn about the Istana's flora, fauna and biodiversity.

In addition, there will be a guided tour of the Istana main building, where selected function rooms and collections of state gifts presented to the president and prime minister can be viewed.

There is also an opportunity to learn more about Singapore's history and heritage at the Istana Heritage Gallery, which will be open from 10am to 6pm on Sunday.

Entry to the Istana grounds is free for Singaporeans and permanent residents. All other visitors are required to pay a $2 entrance fee.

Entry is via the main gate in Orchard Road and people are encouraged to dress in red as part of the celebrations.

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