A makeover is on the cards for Mandai.
The major revamp and expansion of the zoo precinct, under plans which could be rolled out by as early as 2020, will be led by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Temasek Holdings. The Ministry of Trade and Industry said on Jan 14, 2015, that the partnership will help to realise the Government's vision for Mandai to become a world-class nature themed attraction.
The Jurong Bird Park could also be moved to the leafy area, which is home to the zoo, River Safari and Night Safari, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Sept 4, 2014. The 41-year-old zoo could be expanded to take up available land next to it, significantly enlarging its present 26ha plot, which is about the size of 23 football fields.
Temasek is a majority shareholder of Wildlife Reserves Singapore, which operates the existing stable of zoos as well as the Jurong Bird Park.
The Straits Times has learnt that a fifth zoo - on top of the current zoo, River Safari, Night Safari and Bird Park - is also on the cards. Among the ideas being considered for it: A jungle adventure theme and suspension bridges built through a tree canopy for visitors to enjoy.
When contacted, the authorities said development plans for the area are still being worked out.
But some have speculated that possible sites which could be freed up for the expansion plan include the space next to the zoo which now houses the former Mandai Orchid Garden and an old fruit orchard. The 4ha Mandai Orchid Garden, the oldest orchid garden here, was relocated from Mandai in 2011 to make way for a 35ha tourist attraction. Details about the attraction were not revealed then.
In 2012, Mr S. Iswaran, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, also said that the Government was looking at adding hotels and more restaurants to the Mandai area to turn it into a complete tourist destination.
The plan was to leverage Singapore's award-winning attractions, such as the zoo, Night Safari and River Safari, and develop a "green lung" for tourists and Singaporeans. But he did not elaborate on it.
What's in the area known for its lush wilderness? Get a good overview of Mandai with the 360-degree aerial video above.