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I used to think that the zoo was just a place either for little kids to learn about animals, or for curious tourists to see what exactly earned Singapore Zoo tons of accolades as well as a stamp of approval from visitors all across the globe. A recent trip back to our beloved animal kingdom at Mandai proved me wrong, and I had a swell time indeed.
One thing I love about our zoo is the way the exhibits are split up neatly into designated zones. This means making the most out of your day and skipping straight ahead to visiting only your favourite critters! My picks are the Australian Outback, Elephants of Asia and Wild Africa exhibits. The pandas are of course the stars of the show, and the koalas on loan from Down Under are the newest hot favourites. I would, however, give these two a miss as the crowds get rather ridiculous. During my trip, the snaking queue to see the koalas seemed to only get longer and longer under the hot sun and the waiting time came to a whopping 45 minutes!
Last bit of advice: make sure to pack some light bites and a steady supply of H2O unless your heart can bear parting with almost ten bucks for a simple sandwich and, wait for it...$13 for a mere frappucino. Really?! Even Starbucks ain't that expensive!
It must have been over a decade since I last visited the zoo and my memory of it was that of the pungent smells as I walk through the enclosures. But since having Caden, my 18 month old toddler, I have been back twice in the span of 3 months.
Walking through the gantry into the zoo was a breath of fresh air. The place has certainly gone through a facelift, as with the rest of Singapore in recent years. I liked that there were different species of monkeys roaming around the trees right after the entrance. It gives a more "nature reserve" or "wildlife park" experience rather than the typical caged-up feel of a zoo. The park map was very helpful and I liked that there was a map recycling station right at the entrance for patrons to reuse the maps previously collected by other patrons. Anything to save the earth!
Travelling with a toddler is never easy. They have a mind of their own and love going about their own way. The best mode of transport around the zoo IMO is the stroller. And I am happy to share that the entire zoo is highly stroller accessible. This gets extra points from me because being 6 months pregnant with a toddler under 2 years old, the stroller is a need. There were certain animal enclosures with partitions around it that are too high for a toddler's eye level while on the stroller, but I wouldn't say that took away the visual experience for Caden. He was greatly stimulated by the sights and sounds from all direction - above, below, left and right.
Another fun thing for the toddlers are the shows. Caden thoroughly enjoyed the Splash Safari (where the seals show their tricks and talents) as well as the Elephant at Work and Play. Even I was entertained! All in all the walk around the zoo was a great experience for Caden as he got to see the animals from his storybooks materialise right before him. And I was able to recite certain passages from his books while we walked around the zoo.
But the highlight of the zoo has got to be the Rainforest Kidzworld where there is a huge water play area for children of all ages. We went prepared with our buckets and splash toys and Caden had a ball of a time. Someone commented that only in Singapore will you find a water park in a zoo. And I guess that's just about right. What's more satisfying than cooling off after a hot and sweaty day around the zoo? Adults, do remember to bring your wetsuits or a fresh change of clothes because you'll find the water play too inviting to give it a miss as well.
And for that, thumbs up Singapore Zoo!
After tiring the toddler out, it's time to take a break with a meal. And it's almost a guarantee that your toddler will fall asleep after lunch, giving you a much needed break and rest while continuing your stroll around the zoo. I spent 7 hours at the zoo on my 2nd visit. That's almost one full day to make your full-priced adult entrance fees of $28 worthwhile. However, there are always on-going credit cards/ membership card discounts, so be sure to ask for them!
Friendly tip: Top up on loads of water and snacks for both adult and child or be prepared to pay tourist prices at the zoo.
Haven't been to the zoo for ages, and even if I last did, did not spend the same amount of time and effort in appreciating the animals and wonders of the nature. My toddlers finally saw the real animals instead of pictures from their bedtime book. The smile on their faces delighted me.
The introduction of the polar land and kids playground was the icing on the cake. Certainty if the entire zoo temperature is that of the polar land, I would visit even more often. LOL. All in all, I must say that the place is not boring and is a good family bonding place. Just wear a singlet I say.
Amongst all the zoos that I've visited, I must point out that Singapore has the most creative one. My favorite has to be the Night Safari which gives you a TOTALLY different experience! While you are further away from the animals, a darker surrounding gives us a closer proximity to nature with the boundaries and gantries out of sight.
One thing to point out about our zoo is that it does not allow photo taking carrying baby tigers and such, unlike zoos in other countries such as Bangkok. While I appreciate the effort of our people to take care of the animals, it kinda spoils the fun for animal interactions! Fortunately there's the new elephant ride experience which opens the gateway to more animal interaction.
As for the river safari, there's the panda pao which everyone is raving about - constantly reinforcing the significance of Jia jia and Kai Kai to us, so if you are visiting the zoos for the first time, be sure to visit them too!
My friends from Australia were in Singapore recently and I brought them on the ultimate park hopper tour - Bird Park, Zoo, River Safari and then Night Safari all in 1 day! After 2 days of shopping along Orchard Road and staying at a hotel clad by other equally tall skyscrapers in the city, they were totally amazed there was such nature and biodiversity on our tiny island.
The animals at our zoo are like born entertainers according to my friends, they'd turn around and pose for the camera if they see your lenses pointing at them. Cuteness overload!
While the Australians obviously weren't too fascinated by the kangaroos and wallabies (they've plenty back home), they were totally enthralled by Jia Jia and Kai Kai. Our zoo is very much like our supermarkets, everything is flown in to Singapore from everywhere else. It's a little like an animal united nations over at the Singapore Zoo!
There was a free shuttle bus from the Bird Park to the Zoo which was great. The 5 of us couldn't squeeze into 1 taxi. Do check the timings beforehand as the last bus for the Zoo leaves at around 2pm.
My friends and I weren't too impressed with the food at the zoo, be it price or selection. They ended up having 'Australian food at Australian prices' for dinner. As the zoo closes at 6pm and the night safari only opens at 7, EVERYONE is trying to have dinner between 6 and 7pm. Although there was some sort of fire show for entertainment during this period, it certainly wasn't fun trying to fight for a table and food with all the other visitors to the zoo at all.
Nevertheless, we totally enjoyed the night safari. It was an interesting experience watching the animals at nighttime. Shh... we hopped on the tram from one of the stations (not the main one) without a ticket as we did not know that they charged $5 for the ride.
The overall experience was good, except that the place could do with a little more 'Singapore' in it.
As a first timer in the night safari, the tour in the dark stimulated my heightened senses. With the dark pathways that we were taken along, we were made to observe several night creatures in addition to the occasional sleeping ones.
Although it was daunting to have part of my sight hindered by the darkness, my eyes quickly adjusted to the dim lighting and was pleasantly surprised with the meeting of an adorable hedgehog that was curled up in a ball.
The tour guide was also receptive to questions and very friendly. An interesting experience with the animals and nature. This activity might be good for the younger children who are keenly interested in animals and their habitat: the night safari offers more than a mundane setting of the animals in the day yawning in the lazy sun, it offers an experience of these animals in their most vulnerable state of rest.
The Singapore zoo blurs the lines between mankind and animals, allow people to interact with wild animals on a whole new level.
I personally enjoy going to the zoo to appreciate the fine diversity of species that the Singapore zoo offers. One of my favourite features, is the elephant show that takes place a couple of times in the day. The elephants are a large majestic creature and watching them performing cool tricks is a magnificent sight. The show not only intrigues animal lovers, but the general crowd due to it's humorous qualities. The elephants are personified and this helps educate the crowd on the abilities of the elephants in a light hearted manner.
The orang utan cafe is also one of the zoo's highlights. Not only was the food incredible, with it's take on local dishes that make your mouth water from a good mile away, the entertainment was quite unusual. Let's just say that monkey business is basically what the cafe goes for. I had a large cup of ice lemon tea which is one of the cafés specialty, and with good reason. The lemon tea was especially good because it wasn't basically a large cup of overpriced sugar syrup,to my surprise, it was actually good. The hints of lemon were definitely complimentary to the fragrant taste of tea, without being overly sour. It was a good thirst quencher in the midst of the sweltering humid weather.
Singapore Zoo, where do I begin with Singapore zoo? A day in the zoo is happiness guaranteed. It's one of those places that you can go over and over and over again and never get bored of it and each visit is as enjoyable as the last. After my 100th visit to the place over a span of 12+ years, I can't remember one instance that I have not fallen head over heels in love every time I walked in.
The best thing about the Zoo is the treatment of the animals, they all are well kept in wide space, well fed and look healthy and happy( in cute animal sort of way). You can enjoy the way they are at their habitat as their enclosure is designed to be as close to their habitat as possible. The variety of animals are impressive and the walk to one enclosure to the next is nothing short of amazing. My personal favourite is the Snake viewing, where you can enjoy all kinds of venomous, constrictors, non-venomous and strikingly colored slithering friends from the comfort of a glass panel in between(Thank Heavens!). The owl exhibition, where it is dark and chilly and you have to squint your eyes to the minimal lighting and play spot the owl with your friends(be sure to whisper, loud noise disturbs the wise bird). You may even end up looking straight in the eyes of a snowy owl, I did, and I still remember how my skin broke off in goosebumps.
And last but not least, the white tiger enclosure, where the king and queen of the jungle dwells. I have a personal best of staring at them for 1 hour straight and still feeling like spending more time there. There is nothing as elegant as a tiger just sitting there minding their own business and I thank Singapore Zoo to bring it to us normal mortals which only the adventurous jungle dweller can enjoy.
Also be sure to catch all the free shows that they offer, it is a great way to sooth your tired feet and have some cold drinks and snacks and enjoy the quirky fun programs that the zoo got lined up. My personal favourite is the Elephant show, so keep that in your list of must see.
Singapore Zoo is a perfect day out for family or friends alike. It's impossible not to enjoy the birds and beasts and feel fulfilled and satisfied that we got to share this planet with such awesome creatures. Just bring lots of water to keep yourself hydrated as the vending machines along the way can get quiet pricey.
Singapore Zoo is hidden in Mandai, and we love it because it is highly interactive for the kids. The various exhibits and encourages kids to ask questions, and even touch/feel to enhance their experience,
We need a minimum of 4 hours to soak up all the exhibit, and one visit is never enough. The regular performers (elephants, dogs, rainforest) will thrill young kids. Do rent a stroller as kids might get tired.
Our favourite two spots are :
- Fragile forest where the bats, lemurs, ducks and even mousedeers are roaming everywhere !
- KidzWorld wet playground. The perfect activitity for kids to run wild, and cool down with buckets of water
Singapore Zoo might be smaller than other Zoos, but it's design for maximum interaction is admirable. Will definitely recommend this to more families.
The Singapore Zoo is one of the best places to bring a friend to, especially when they're new to Singapore.
It epitomises the beautiful balance between a park and a nature reserve, and the admission fee is worth every second you would spend in there.
There's a little bit of everything. It is an extremely educational place to bring your kids.
Also a beautiful place for general photography.
10/10 will visit again when possible.