The last time they rode up the Tiger Sky Tower more than 10 years ago, Singaporeans Benedict John and his sister Marianne were in primary school, accompanying their parents on a trip to Sentosa.
Now undergraduates, the roles were reversed as the siblings took their parents and grandparents on a family outing and visited the rotating observatory tower one last time yesterday. The attraction, which rises 131m above sea level, will cease operations from today.
Mr John, 24, bought a photo of their last ride on the Sky Tower as a memento. He said: "The views are different from the ones we saw the last time. Now there are more new things around."
They were among 1,200 visitors who took the ride at Imbiah Lookout yesterday. Since the October announcement of its closing, there has been a spike in interest. It drew 500 local visitors - Singaporeans and permanent residents - in October and more than 2,000 last month. These numbers do not include foreign tourists.
Mr Alexander Melchers, the Sky Tower's managing director, said: "This confirms to us that Singaporeans and residents really appreciate the viewing experience."
The Sky Tower opened in 2004 and has had nearly five million visitors. It was also the first attraction on Sentosa to receive foreign direct investment.
It closed for more than three months last year after a stalling incident in August. The ascending gondola stopped moving at the 25m mark, trapping 39 passengers - including children and the elderly - for more than four hours. It reopened only in November last year with permission from the Building and Construction Authority.
Its lease with Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) was due to expire in March next year, but an SDC spokesman had previously told The Straits Times that the Sky Tower would cease operations this month after discussions between the two parties.
Sky Tower general manager Ken Lee said the tower will take up to six months to dismantle, and it will be moved and rebuilt in another country. No date for the start of the dismantling process was given.
Chinese tourist Yang Shiwei, 45, went up the tower with his wife Huang Jing, 35, and said it was unfortunate that the ride was closing.
He said: "At first I thought that since we had already taken the cable car, the view would not differ much. But after going up, I realised the experience was totally different."