#TIL Jurong Bird Park to relocate
#TIL Jurong Bird Park was built for our own people’s delight. Then-Minister for Finance Goh Keng Swee said at its opening (3 Jan 1971 ) that it “will not make our society more rugged”, it will not increase “the productivity of work”, nor will it contribute much towards “tightening national cohesions” or “raising cultural or education standards of the population”.
He said: “…the Bird Park will achieve none of those admirable ends. But it will add to the enjoyment of our citizens, especially our children.”
Jurong Bird Park had opened to much fanfare and excitement. As Singapore’s first and only avian park, it was packed with unique attractions such as a dramatic 30-metre-high man-made waterfall (at the time, the world’s highest) and a huge walk-in aviary (at the time, the world’s largest), with over 600 free-flying birds. Visitors enjoyed an immersive experience with large open-concept displays featuring exhibits simulating the natural habitats of birds. Today, with more than 5,000 birds across 400 species in the 20.2 hectares of space, the park has welcomed 41 million guests since its opening and is one of the largest and most popular in Asia.
Jurong Bird Park in its current form will cease operations after 52 years to relocate to Mandai as a new park – Bird Paradise, which will be neighbour to the Singapore Zoo, River Wonders, Night Safari, and the upcoming Rainforest Wild. This is part of the plan to transform Mandai into a precinct of nature-themed attractions for education and recreation – the Mandai Wildlife Reserve.
The relocation presents an opportunity for our nation’s avian park to re-invent itself with state-of-the-art facilities and better living environments for its avian residents. The next weekends are the last ones for us to experience Jurong Bird Park at its original site before it ceases operations on 3 Jan 2023 and morphs into a better one at Mandai!
[Jurong Bird Park will be running a series of heritage tours and displays on its history until 3 Jan 2023.]