Behind the Scenes in Singapore: 4 Essential Tours

Experience a different side of some of Singapore’s popular family-friendly attractions with these interesting back-of-house tours

It's one thing to visit and enjoy Singapore's must-see sites, but have you ever wondered what kind of out-of-sight work takes place to ensure everything runs smoothly? Whether young or young-at-heart, your clients will have plenty of fun on these special tours, where they’ll discover some amazing, rarely seen activities.


Ocean Dreams & VIP Guided Tour

S.E.A. Aquarium

Where: S.E.A. Aquarium

The S.E.A. Aquarium at Resorts World Sentosa is highly recommended for families (especially those with young kids) keen on learning more about our oceans and its majestic inhabitants, like sharks and manta rays. As the Aquarium is home to over 100,000 marine animals, the best way to drink it all in is for visitors to participate in unique programmes such as Ocean Dreams and the S.E.A. Aquarium VIP Guided Tour.

Taking place several times a year, Ocean Dreams is an educational 2D1N excursion offering highlights such as a special 90-minute guided tour through the Aquarium, a multimedia show in the Typhoon Theatre (where one gets to sit through a "storm"), and an exclusive back-of-house experience in the Aquarium. Meals and sleeping bags are provided, and reservations must be made two weeks prior to the scheduled event. Family packages (two adults and two children – best for ages six to 12) are available, and start from S$548.

Not only does the three hour-long VIP Guided Tour provide visitors with in-depth information about the marine life at the Aquarium, it also gives them access to restricted zones and back-of-house areas (including Dolphin Island, where the underwater stars of the show live) for an even closer look at the activities.

Tours are conducted in English; for other languages, write in or call to enquire. Rates start from S$88 per adult and S$58 per child (four to 12 years old). Reservations must be made at least two working days in advance.

Address: 8 Sentosa Gateway, Resorts World Sentosa; Tel: +65 6577 7515;
Email: public.programmes@rwsentosa.com


Race Against Time Tour

Singapore Botanic Gardens [Photo: Marklin Ang]

Where: Singapore Botanic Gardens

From water to land, nature-loving families with older kids (ages nine and above) can consider exploring Singapore Botanic Gardens. At this remarkable 158-year-old green space (which is Singapore's first and only UNESCO World Heritage Site), visitors can experience the Race Against Time Tour.

Held every fourth Saturday of the month at 10am, the free 45-minute session brings participants around the Gardens' no-public-access research facilities, such as the Orchid and Micro-propagation Laboratory, as well as the restricted domain of the Herbarium, where old physical records of reference plant material (some date as far back as 1790) are stored. Participants will also get the chance to learn about the Gardens' hybridisation programme for orchids.

As admission is free, registration at the Visitor Services Counter is on a first-come-first-served basis and visitors need to register 15 minutes before the start of the tour. Slots are limited to a maximum of 25 people. Special prior arrangements can be made for group tours through contacts below.

Address: 1 Cluny Road; Tel: +65 6471 7139 (Steffi) / +65 6471 9920 (Cyrena);
Email: nparks_sbg_visitor_services@nparks.gov.sg


Esplanade Tour

Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay [Photo: Afur Wong]​

Where: Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay

With an exterior looking like a durian – also known as Southeast Asia’s “king of fruits” – it's hard to miss the distinctively designed Esplanade, one of the nation's biggest performing arts centres situated in the Marina Bay area.

Families who enjoy the performing arts and are eager to discover the Esplanade’s unique facilities can sign up for the weekly Esplanade Tour, which happens every Monday, anytime from 9:30am to 4:30pm, for about two hours. The walkabout sheds light on a number of topics, from the venue's bold architectural qualities to how the arts scene in Singapore has evolved. Participants will also get to see both front-of-house and backstage facilities – something that’s usually off limits to the general public – and how they play a part in ensuring shows run smoothly and seamlessly. Other highlights include visits to the Concert Hall and Theatre, the orchestra pit, the dressing rooms, and more. Light refreshments are provided at the end of the tour.

Bookings must be made at least 14 days in advance and a minimum of 12 persons is required to run a group tour. Rates are S$30 per adult and S$24 per child (recommended age for participants is 12 and above; for safety reasons, those below 12 are not permitted). From now until 30 June 2017, for a minimum 25 people, fees are S$24 per person instead of S$30. Also included in this deal are refreshment vouchers from Toast Box, an F&B tenant at the Esplanade.

Address: 1 Esplanade Drive; Tel: +65 6828 8377; Email: ceditha@esplanade.com (Editha) / foh@esplanade.com

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