Singapore is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Southeast Asia, known for its modern architecture, diverse cultural attractions, and stunning natural scenery. From bustling cityscapes to tranquil parks and gardens, the Lion City has something for everyone. However, due to various reasons, some of Singapore’s most notable tourist attractions have had to permanently close down since 2020. Here are some more details about these closures.
Jurong Bird Park
On January 3, 2023, the Jurong Bird Park, Asia’s largest bird park, closed its doors for the final time after 52 years of operation. The park, which had won numerous accolades for breeding threatened species, housed 3,500 birds that will continue to be cared for as they prepare to move to a new, slightly smaller bird park called Bird Paradise, set to open in the second quarter of that year at the Mandai Wildlife Reserve. Over 30,000 visitors flocked to the park in its final five days, with around 2,600 visitors showing up on the final day.
The park’s closure was a sentimental day for many, including two 19-year-old students who stayed until it closed, joining the crowds who were taking pictures and videos of the automated shutters rolling down. The park’s closure marks the end of an era for Singapore’s wildlife parks, but visitors and locals alike are looking forward to the opening of the new bird park at Mandai.
Trick Eye Museum
The Trick Eye Museum, located in Resorts World Sentosa, was a popular attraction that featured a collection of 3D optical illusions and interactive paintings. Visitors could pose for photos with various exhibits, including a giant dragon, a pirate ship, and more.
However, in June 2020, the Trick Eye Museum permanently closed its doors due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The closure was a result of decreased visitor traffic and revenue, as well as ongoing health and safety concerns.
While the Trick Eye Museum is no longer open, there are still plenty of other unique and engaging attractions to explore in Resorts World Sentosa. These include Universal Studios Singapore, a theme park with a variety of thrilling rides and attractions, and S.E.A. Aquarium, one of the largest aquariums in the world.
Wave House Sentosa
Wave House Sentosa was a popular beachfront venue that offered artificial wave rides and other water-based activities. The venue was a favorite among surf enthusiasts and beachgoers, and it hosted a variety of events and competitions throughout the year.
Unfortunately, in October 2020, Wave House Sentosa permanently closed its doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the expiry of its lease. The closure was a significant loss for Singapore’s beach culture and left many locals and tourists alike feeling disappointed.
Despite the closure of Wave House Sentosa, there are still plenty of other opportunities to enjoy Singapore’s beautiful beaches and watersports activities. Some of the best beaches to visit include Sentosa Beach, East Coast Park, and Tanjong Beach Club. Visitors can also enjoy activities like kayaking, paddleboarding, and wakeboarding at various locations throughout the city.
KidZania Singapore was an interactive children’s attraction that allowed kids to role-play different professions and learn about various industries, such as healthcare, entertainment, and media. The attraction was designed to be both fun and educational, providing kids with a hands-on learning experience that was both engaging and informative.
Unfortunately, in April 2021, KidZania Singapore permanently closed its doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the expiry of its lease. The closure was a significant loss for families with young children, who had come to enjoy the attraction.
Butterfly Park and Insect Kingdom
The Butterfly Park and Insect Kingdom attraction in Sentosa announced on its website that it would close for good on July 6th, 2021, after operating for almost four decades. While it had been in slow decline in recent years due to falling attendance and aging infrastructure, the COVID pandemic did it in by keeping tourists away for the past one and a half years.
Although the demolition of the Sentosa Merlion started at the end of 2019, we have still included its closure on this list of attraction closures since 2020, to make way for a themed linkway between the north and south shores of Sentosa. Built in 1995, the Sentosa Merlion was designed by Australian sculptor James Martin and was the tallest Merlion in Singapore. The statue, which houses exhibits such as a three-dimensional animated story of how Sang Nila Utama discovered Singapore, closed its doors to visitors on 20 October 2019.
The Merlion was designed by British zoologist Alec Fraser-Brunner in 1964, as the logo of the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board, which is now the Singapore Tourism Board. The fish’s body was intended to allude to Singapore’s beginnings as a fishing village. The lion’s head was a reference to Sang Nila Utama, the Srivijaya prince who named the island Singapura, or “lion city” in Sanskrit, after spotting a lion. Lions have never been native to the region.
There are now six Merlions left in Singapore, including two statues at Merlion Park, a pair of 3-metre tall statues at the peak of Mount Faber and the Singapore Tourism Board headquarters, and two Merlions in the heartland in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1.
Other Notable Singapore Attraction Closures Before 2020
- Tiger Sky Tower – This tower was located on Sentosa Island and was opened in 2004. It was a revolving observation tower that offered panoramic views of the island and the surrounding areas. The tower was closed in 2018 for redevelopment, and a new attraction is expected to open in its place in 2022.
- Underwater World – This aquarium was also located on Sentosa Island and was opened in 1991. It had various exhibits showcasing marine life from around the world, including a large oceanarium with a moving walkway that allowed visitors to walk through a tunnel surrounded by fish and other sea creatures. The aquarium was closed in 2016 to make way for a new development on the site.
- Sentosa Musical Fountain – This fountain was located on Sentosa Island and was opened in 1982. It had water jets that were synchronized with music and lights to create a visual spectacle for visitors. The fountain was closed in 2007 and has since been replaced by the Wings of Time light and sound show.
- Singapore History Museum – This museum was located in the former Tao Nan School building in Stamford Road and was opened in 1993. It had exhibits showcasing the history and culture of Singapore, from its early days as a fishing village to its modern development. The museum was closed in 2011 for redevelopment, and a new National Museum of Singapore was opened in its place.
- Van Kleef Aquarium – This aquarium was located in Fort Canning Park and was opened in the early 1950s. It was named after a Dutchman, Dr. W. F. R. Van Kleef, who was a renowned marine biologist. The aquarium was closed in the mid-1990s due to a lack of funding.
- New World Amusement Park – This amusement park was located in Jalan Besar and was opened in the 1920s. It was one of the largest amusement parks in Southeast Asia at the time. The park had various rides and attractions, including a roller coaster and a Ferris wheel. The park was closed in the 1980s due to declining attendance.
- Great World Amusement Park – This amusement park was located in Kim Seng Road and was opened in the 1930s. It was another popular amusement park in Singapore, with attractions such as a merry-go-round and a shooting gallery. The park was closed in the 1970s and the site is now occupied by Great World City shopping mall.
- Haw Par Villa – This theme park was located in Pasir Panjang and was opened in 1937. It was built by the creators of Tiger Balm and had a large collection of Chinese mythology-themed statues and dioramas. The park was closed in the 1980s for renovations and reopened in the 1990s with some changes to its attractions.
- Tang Dynasty City was another Singapore tourist attraction that has since closed down. It was a theme park located in Jurong and was opened in 1994. The park was designed to resemble an ancient Chinese city during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) and had various attractions such as a replica of the famous Xi’an Terracotta Warriors, a live performance of Tang Dynasty music and dance, and a Chinese garden. Visitors could also dress up in Tang Dynasty-style costumes and take photos with the park’s performers. However, Tang Dynasty City faced financial difficulties and was closed in 1999, just five years after it opened.
- The DHL Balloon was a popular Singapore tourist attraction that has since been decommissioned. It was a tethered helium balloon located at the Marina Bay area. The balloon was able to lift passengers to a height of 150 meters, offering panoramic views of the Singapore skyline and the surrounding areas. It was a popular attraction for both locals and tourists, and operated until October 2008 when it was decommissioned due to expiry of the lease of the site.
- Chinese Garden – This garden was located in Jurong and was opened in 1975. It was designed to showcase Chinese landscaping and architecture, and had various features such as a pagoda and a bridge modeled after the one in the Summer Palace in Beijing. The garden was closed in 2019 for renovations and is expected to reopen in 2023.