I remember the day when I first arrived at Singapore. My trip to Singapore – How it all started. I was there at the world’s best airport waiting for my sister to pick me up. We reach the apartment at 7pm. That day we just relaxed, prepared our itinerary and went out for dinner in the quaint cafe in the vicinity.
Next morning we left for Singapore zoo. Hailed as one of the world’s most inviting and well-designed animal sanctuaries, Singapore zoo is awarded for –
- Top 3 Zoos in the World, 2018, 2017, 2015, 2014 – Travelers’ Choice Awards – .
- Best Attraction Experience – Singapore Tourism Awards, 2018, 2017, 2014
The 26-hectare wildlife park located in a natural rain forest has been providing exciting wildlife experiences which attracts more than 1 million people each year. With 300 species of mammals, birds and reptiles, the zoo holds animals from across the world including Africa, America, Australia and the rest of Asia.
Renting an Uber, we reach the zoo at 11.30 am. We bought 4 in one passes from the zoo which covered Singapore zoo, Water Safari, Night Safari and Jurong Bird park for 75$ approx. We also opted for shuttle service for few extra dollars as we were warned that the zoo is too huge and walking all the way can get exhausting.
Singapore zoo was 45 minutes drive from our apartment. Since the country is so small (720 sq km), the zoo is probably the furthest tourist attraction from the city.
The zoo was divided into 11 zones, each taking you through some of the most distinctive global wildlife habitats in the world. It aboded carnivores such as white tiger, lions, leopards, cheetahs and wolverines among others. Other wild species included orangutans, giraffes, white rhinoceros, kangaroos, penguins, panda, mongoose, meerkat, elephants, zebras, chimpanzee, baboons, monkeys, deers, tortoises and many more. Then there were dozens of different reptiles and insects including giant python and king cobra. The species of animals within the zoo was enough to keep us enthralled throughout the day.
One of the highlights of the zoo were the animal shows that they hosted at fixed time. They ran 4 shows of almost 30 minutes – once every morning and once every afternoon. We made sure to attend all the shows starting with Rainforest Fights Back. This one educates visitors about animals native to endangered rainforest habitats. They call out people from the audience to pose with snakes. One of the highlights of the show is when other zookeepers quietly bring out a large python while participants are busy posing with a smaller snake in their hands. I admire the courage of the female participant who just started laughing at this little prank. Had it been me I would have collapsed on the ground with panic attack.
Then there was Elephant Presentation giving viewers a glimpse into the unique personalities of the zoo’s Asian elephants while they interacted with their trainers demonstrating some skills.
There was also a Splash show with an acrobatic sea lion who impressed us with Frisbee and ball catching skills. The show named Animal Friends was the one with furry dogs and cats that let children interact and play with them. This area had cute little ponies, sheeps, rabbits and goats among other domestic animals.
They also had supervised and scheduled feeding program at fixed intervals where visitors can buy the food and feed them to the selected animals like giraffes, elephants, rhinos and giant tortoises. Limited animal food is available to purchase on a first-in-first-served basis. The zoo also hosted Jungle Breakfast with Wildlife which gave visitors a chance to enjoy the morning meal in the company of orangutan family (timings 9.00 am – 10.30 am) for some extra 20 – 30 SG $.
Best thing about the zoo was its open-air enclosures with hidden barriers that gave ample space for the animals to roam while providing unobstructed views to the visitors. The animals are kept in spacious, landscaped enclosures where one can walk around and look at them. There is a zone called Fragile Forest where as we were walking along the path, bright coloured parrots flew above our heads and we saw orangutans, monkeys, lemurs and flying foxes lounging and playing just like they would in their natural habitat. In order to simulate the natural forest environment, Singapore Zoo had constructed multi-tier climbing platforms with nets and swings for the animals to climb and play around.It was almost 5.00 pm when we finished seeing the zoo. I think we missed one zone as we were too exhausted by that time. I made a rookie mistake of not wearing comfortable shoes that day resulting in shoe bites, foot ache and leg pain.
Later we went for River Safari. The River Safari Singapore is a river-themed zoo and aquarium. First of its kind in Asia, the park boasts of its world’s largest freshwater aquarium. The wide viewing panel gave brilliant views of marine life including piranhas, electric Eels, alligators, salamanders, river otters among others. The River Safari is pretty small, in comparison to the Zoo and the Night Safari – and it’s even smaller if you don’t buy the ticket to do the Amazon Boat Ride (5 SG $ approx) – a water ride that goes through restricted area of jungles where you can spot giant panda, red panda, cheetahs, flamingoes and some other animals.
River Safari also included a cruise which took the visitors along the Upper Seletar Reservoir to enjoy the enchanting views of the forest and catch a glimpse of some wildlife there. Though we could not spot any animals during the safari, I actually enjoyed the boat ride. After that tiring day, a relaxing boat ride in lush mangroves was all I needed to rejuvenate myself.
River Safari took one hour max and then we had some time to ourselves before the Night Safari started. The Singapore Night Safari is a part of Singapore Zoo that is separated from the rest of the zoo and opens at 19:15 each evening. Here you take open-sided shuttle trams that drive you on a guided tour of the park where you get to see different animals that are active after dark like leopards, malay tigers, elephants, giant flying squirrels and others. You can also walk specific trails of the park.
Much to our misfortune, it was a crowded day at the park. The que for Night Safari was about two hours long. My patience and my legs had started trembling in despair as I started thinking if we should skip this thing and come back later for this. The tickets are valid for one week giving visitors some liberty to see the park at their own pace.
But we decided to hang in there since we had already waited that long and we did not want to jeopardize our plan for rest of the days. Finally our turn came. And thank goodness it was worth the wait.
Going around in the jungle after dark is a truly unique and special experience. The atmosphere is awesome and it is this peaceful and a bit spooky vibe to the whole experience. We loved the Night Safari part of Singapore Zoo. We even had a chance to go for walking trails to see some animals up close. But that would mean getting off the tram and waiting for next one. With no will to wait any longer for anything, we decided to skip the trails. No photography was allowed during the night safari as the flash would startle the animals. Also it was too dark to get proper clicks of animals.
Just when we were done with the Night Safari and were leaving the zoo, we got a call from a friend that do not miss the Creatures of the Night show; an interactive 20-minutes show that is a part of Night Safari. So due to FOMO we headed back for the final show. It was actually pretty interesting with eagles, racoons and hyenas.
Finally we were done with the zoo. We could not visit the bird park that day. We were at loggerheads over whether to visit the bird park for other day or not. At the exit there were abundance of taxis just waiting for the visitors. We left the zoo at around 10 pm and reached our apartment at almost 11 pm.
That was my first day at Singapore. Exciting and exhausting at the same time. I would definitely recommend Singapore zoo and Night Safari to visitors especially if you have not visited any world famous zoos or animal sanctuaries. River Safari can be skippable if you plan to visit S.E.A. aquarium in Sentosa which I personally loved more.
Next day, again at 11.30 am, we left for Sentosa