If one thing is for sure, things in Singapore come and go. Progress and development ensure that something usually gets left behind. It is a sad but true reality. But those that are gone are not always forgotten. Especially when they hold a special place in our hearts – like these landmarks that have etched itself into Singapore’s collective memories. Let’s take a look at some of these places from not-too-long-ago that have brought joy and a smile to our faces.


1. Marine Aquarium at Wisma Atria

Image: imagesofsingapore.wordpress.com

A big draw to Wisma Atria used to be their display of over hundreds of fish in its 1.5-metre tall, 20-cubic-metre tank. The tank was built in 1986 when the mall first opened. It was removed in 2008 to allow the marine life within to thrive in a more natural aquatic ecosystem.

Image: forums.hardwarezone.com.sg | C.Y. Leow

The most interesting feature was how the tank surrounded the bubble lift at the basement level, granting you a view that was conventionally impossible within the confines of a mall.


2. Big Splash

Image: geocaching.com

Big Splash was a theme park that was home to the longest and highest water slide in the 1980s, standing at 85-metres tall. However, the water slide was not the only attraction at the theme park. Big Splash had an open-theatre and an arcade, on top of a large pool that could accommodate 1, 380 people.

Image: nas.gov.sg

Its popularity waned when Wild Wild Wet opened in 2004 at Pasir Ris. In a second revamp that lasted from 2006 to 2008, the waterpark was gone and only the distinct rainbow-coloured dome tower was retained.

It has since been remodelled into a lifestyle village called Playground @ Big Splash, housing restaurants and cafes, childcare and enrichment centres and a spacious carpark for weekend car boot sales.


3. Jalan Ampas Malay Film Production Studio

Image credit: commons.wikimedia.org

The Shaw Brothers Ltd, a well-established distributor and cinema operator in Malaya run by brothers Runme and Run Run, began producing films locally in 1937. The studio in Jalan Ampas was converted from a warehouse to facilitate the expansion of their film business. Chinese directors and second-hand equipment were imported from Hong Kong while local Malay (bangsawan) artistes were recruited to act in Malay films.

The proposals to produce Malay and Cantonese talkies and a newsreel service were laid to rest when the Japanese Occupation took place. After the war, the studio reopened to produce post-war Chinese films and revisit their Malay film venture.

However, financial losses and the lack of demand for Malay films led the studio to cease productions and close down for good in 1967. The abandoned buildings still stand today.


4. Escape Theme Park

Image: jbabiesinthedaisies.com

Escape Theme Park was an outdoor theme park that opened in May 2000 located inside NTUC Downtown East in Pasir Ris. It featured thrill and family rides, including a pirate ship, go-kart tracks, a haunted house and the highest log flume in Asia then.

Image: jiexinfyp.wordpress.com

The indoor “Alpha 8” roller coaster discontinued following a tragic accident where two girls were critically injured after falling 3 metres due to a safety restraint fault.

The park continued its operations for the next 6 years before it closed in 2011. Its grounds have since been redeveloped into the current Costa Sands Resort and an extension of Wild Wild Wet.


5. Fantasy Island, Sentosa

Image: skyscrapercity.com

The 1990s version of our modern day Adventure Cove, Fantasy Island was a $54 million Sentosa water theme park that opened in 1994. It featured an 8-lane giant slide and a number of other high-speed thrilling water slides.

Image: seconddrop.blogspot.com

The water park was ensnared in negative media coverage following a number of accidents and 2 deaths, resulting in growing public concern over its safety regulations. Its popularity waned over time due to the pricey entrance fees and its inaccessibility due to the limited number of buses going into Sentosa.

Its demise was ultimately cemented in 2002, and Universal Studios Singapore has since overtaken the space.


6. Tang Dynasty Village (Jurong)

Image: flickr.com | Erik’s iMirror

In 1992, a 12ha theme park in Jurong emerged, filled with pagodas, temples and terracottas. Surrounded by a 3-metre high fortress, the $100 million Tang Dynasty Village theme park was meant to be an impressive replica of the ancient Chinese capital Chang’ An (present day Xi’ An).

Image: stateofbuildings.sg

The village closed its doors in 1997 owing to the Asian financial crisis. The village never reclaimed its former glory. Its ruins of overgrown gardens, deteriorating temples and statues attracted ghost hunters and photography hobbyists.

In 2007, the entire village was demolished. The area is marked today by an expanse of land the size of 18 football fields.


7. King Albert Park

Image: ghettosingapore.com

Having ceased operations in 2014, the approximately 5,500 square-metre space was demolished for residential and commercial redevelopment following its acquisition by Oxley Holdings.

Image: xfotojournal.blogspot.com

Fondly known as “KAP”, the building housed the corporate headquarters of McDonald’s in Singapore. The largest McDonald’s outlet served as a second home to hordes of students, who lumbered over each day to study in the facility.


8. Queenstown Cinema/Queenstown Bowl

Far too young to have patronised this attraction while it was still operating, I only noticed the lingering buildings along Margaret Drive because their appearance stood out in contrast with the neighbouring residential flats.

The cinema and bowl opened in 1976 until its closure in 1999 and 2000 respectively. After they shut down, the buildings were left to stand, providing an element of curiosity as their fading façade stood out in the landscape of modern Singapore. It was demolished in 2013.

Singapore is going through rapid changes all of the time and more well-known attractions are set to join this list in the future. So it is best that you experience fully what Singapore has to offer before it is too late. Looking at them through photographs is just not the same!


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