There’s about to be a whole lot more otter spotting going on at Gardens by the Bay, but it’s not what you expect. Otah & Friends is an immersive pop-up experience that takes you into the fantasy world of a clan of cartoon otters who live in candy-hued homes and bake cookies in their spare time.
The pop-up at Gardens by the Bay’s Bayfront Plaza (a stone’s throw away from the Orient Express pop-up, by the way) was launched on Dec 15 last year, and has just extended its run due to overwhelming demand — it will now end on Apr 4, and not Feb 26 as originally planned. It’s a 45-minute jaunt that takes you through the whimsically delightful 2,500 sqft home of Otah the otter.
What exactly are you doing inside the home of Otah & Friends? Take plenty of Insta-worthy photos (but, of course), but there’s also a mission for you to complete.
In addition, there’s a slew of refreshed activities now that its run has been extended until April. According to organiser Tan Weiting, this includes “creating memories with Otah in person, an egg hunt themed to the upcoming Easter holidays, as well as new touches and surprises to the space” (more on that later).
8Days.sg got a preview of Otah & Friends — here’s a sneak peek.
Otah’s up early baking cookies, but your mission is to look for Otah before the cookies in the oven burn. Think of it as a hide-and-seek game with otters, but a lot more Instagrammable.
A host greets you before you enter Otah’s abode to explain the game, and even throws in a few educational facts about (real) otters. Tip: Wear nice socks 'cos you'll have to take off your shoes before entering Otah's home.
You’re in his home but there’s no sign of Otah. You have 15 minutes to look for him — yes, that’s more than enough time to complete your mission and take IG-worthy photos and Boomerangs as well. We can’t give too much away except you’re meant to press, prod, and poke at whatever you can lay your paws on to look for clues, as long as it is moveable.
In that time, you’ll be exploring several rooms, including a Simpsons-esque living room and a cutesy kitchen with the scent of cookies wafting in the air. The rooms are awash with joyous colours and brimming with over-the-top props, you’ll be excused for stopping for a ton of photos along the way. Who knew Otah had such an eye for interior design?
Along the way, you’ll meet several roadblocks and false alarms. But all you gotta do is to keep, er, pressing on.
Ta-dah! This is what you’re looking for. Otah greets all guests who find him with a smile that’ll light up the room, literally. Of course, we're not telling you where he is.
You'll have extra time on your hands, so head out to the backyard — a shared space with the reception— and get a free cup of lemonade and a soft-baked cookie from Insta-famous home bakery, Whiskdom.
There’s also a merch stand with adorable Otah & Friends baseball caps ($19.90), tees ($19.90 for kids; $24.90 for adults) and even plushies ($39.90) to buy before you say bye to Otah & co.
There are safe distancing measures in place because, well, pandemic. There are timed slots allocated to groups of five visitors at a time to allow for safe distancing and, frankly, a better photo-taking and gameplay experience. The venue will also be routinely disinfected and sanitised in between groups of visitors.
Tickets are going for $15 per person (minimum two people), or $12 each if you buy five tickets (which means you essentially get a private session for your group of five).