Gardens by the Bay's Christmas fair will be ticketed this year to control the number of visitors
The popular Christmas Wonderland fair at Gardens by the Bay returns for a third edition this December - and it will be bigger but costlier for visitors.
The event, which runs from Dec 2 to Jan 1 next year, is charging visitors admission fees for the first time.
The fee is $4 a person in the first week, $6 the following week and $8 for the rest of the fair. Up to three children under 0.9m in height can enter for free with each paying adult.
Ms Sarah Martin, director of Blue Sky Events, the fair's organiser, says the admission fee is to manage the huge crowds that are expected.
Last year's edition attracted 1.6 million visitors, up from 900,000 in 2014.
"It was a pity a lot of people last year couldn't do a lot of the activities because it was really crowded. Hence, the idea for capacity control," Ms Martin says.
At its peak last year, more than 110,000 people visited the fair on Christmas Day.
This year, the number of visitors will be limited to 30,000 daily.
Visitors must buy their tickets online before going to the event. There will be no sales on-site.
Civil servant Wang Peijie, 30, had heard about the event and wanted to go this year. But she says she will skip it now because of the admission fee.
"There are many other Christmas events I can go to," she says.
Wedding stylist Thaneswari Asathamby, 28, enjoyed the magical atmosphere at the fair last year, but agrees that the crowds were "crazy".
"This time, I might head there in the initial two weeks instead of later, when it is more expensive and will get more crowded," she says.
There will be more areas for visitors to explore as the festival grounds will be expanded to 57,000 sq m from last year's 35,000 sq m.
Like in previous editions, the festival grounds will festooned in intricate hand-made Italian luminarie, or sculptures of light. This year's designs will be based on 17th- and 18th- century Baroque architecture.
New activities include a magical forest packed with 150 Christmas trees up to 4m tall. Visitors can take a photo with Santa at Santa's cottage, too.
Another new attraction is the Hi-5 Funtastic House, where young children can play in a bouncy castle or sing along to their favourite Hi-5 songs. Each 45-minute session there costs $24 for a child and an accompanying adult.
The popular ice palace will be upsized this year too. Along with the ice-skating rink, the snow playground returns, twice as big as before.
Look out for a new attraction: a 25m-long ice slide. These activities are ticketed and prices start from $4 for a go on the slide.
Visitors can pre-book tickets for the Hi-5 Funtastic House, ice-skating rink and snow playground online.
There will be sales at the event too, but they are subject to availability.
BOOK IT/CHRISTMAS WONDERLAND 2016
WHERE: Supertree Grove and The Meadows, Gardens by the Bay
WHEN: Dec 2 to Jan 1 next year, 3.30 to 11pm daily
ADMISSION: $4 from Dec 2 to 8, $6 from Dec 9 to 15 and $8 from Dec 16 to Jan 1. Free entry for up to three children below 0.9m in height with each paying adult. Buy tickets online before going to the event. There will be no sales on-site.
INFO: www.christmaswonderland. sg
This article was first published on Oct 29, 2016.
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