River Safari Singapore Hot
Opened on April 3rd 2013, Singapore's newest attraction features river-based animals divided into two areas, halved by the Upper Seletar Reservoir. The first area called "Rivers of the World" contains the 7 "Rivers" - mostly sea animals like fish and crocodiles. At the end will be a bridge that will take you to the second area - Wild Amazonia. There is actually heaps more to do in this second area of the park.
The TSL team went down to check it out for ourselves. Check out our full River Safari Guide and Review.
Senior Citizens: S$12.50
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Wait for the official opening!
This reivew is based on its soft opening on April 3rd, 2013.
I am a huge fan of WRS parks - they consistently make world class attractions Singaporeans can be proud of. However, at this point of time the River Safari is far from ready. Many key animals are missing from their exhibits and most of their second section - "Wild Amazonia" is closed. The ticket price of $25 is still hefty after the "discount" as you also have to factor in how its quite inaccessible and it takes quite some time to get here. My taxi ride back home to the central area cost me $22 off peak.
Despite all this, I still think its better than the very similar S.E.A aquarium. This is like a semi-air con version of it with more variety, animal shows and pandas. If you loved the S.E.A aquarium then you will enjoy yourself here - even in its unfinished state. Not to mention the river safari has heaps of potential and will easily be the better water animal attraction in its final form.
My recommendation is to wait till at least the river boat ride opens before coming here, so you can experience it the way it was meant to be experienced. Going anytime earlier may end up being sightly disappointing.
Go here for my full review! http://www.thesmartlocal.com/read/river-safari-guide-information
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Not really worth your cash
My thoughts on the River Safari are quite simply this: It’s really not worth the ticket price.
Due to the nature of the animals in the River Safari, most of them are behind glass walls in their tanks, and it can be a bit boring after a while, just seeing them swimming around. The real highlight of the entire River Safari would be the pandas. While they are adorable, they really don’t do much, so if you were looking to be entertained, Kai Kai and Jia Jia aren’t your best bet.
The River Safari does showcase a lot of pretty cool river creatures, and boat rides are interesting, but for the price you pay, you’re better off spending it on the Singapore Zoo. That’s more bang for your buck.
Just the zoo will do
Many months after its opening, I finally got a chance to visit the River Safari. It is at a location accessible by bus but it would be more convenient if you have your own vehicle. Open from 9 in the morning daily, tickets are priced at S$25 for adults and S$16 for children.
There is not much to see in the exhibits, nothing interesting and that left me to ponder why separate the River Safari when we have the Zoo. There are six different rivers, unless you are interested in fishes, it will not be too interesting.
At the Giant Panda Forest, the moment you enter you will see the red pandas and to my surprise, they are not caged but separated slightly further away from us. Another area I looked forward to was the giant panda enclosure. When I got to the enclosure, both pandas were sleeping and I did not manage to see much.
Other than that, I liked the boat ride which will be closed from next month till the start of January next year. The ride itself was interesting and you will be able to spot the different birds and animals. Tickets are at S$5 for adults and S$3 for children.
Overall, for S$25 per adult, I would say the zoo would be a better alternative; there will be more things to see there as well.
River Road Trip
It's a good virgin experience. I would recommend Singaporeans or tourists to visit the attraction at least once, but not more than a couple of times. The marine creatures were very interesting, especially the giant crocodiles and manatees. My favorite was the Amazon rainforest, because I never knew that the rainforest flooded during certain seasons!
Although, I wouldn't recommend multiple visits, since the small size limits the number of attractions that can be offered. Moreover, the queue for the boat ride was extremely long, so by the time it was our turn in the queue, the tickets were sold out. Similarly, we waited over an hour to get food and a table at the overcrowded Mama Panda's Kitchen, and many of the items on the menu were not even available although they didn't state so.
Apart from the long waits, the attractions were well worth the time, so I would encourage those who have not been there to take a trip down. I would recommend that you bring a buddy, boyfriend or a group of friends along, just to make the long waiting time pass quickly and enjoy the time to talk!
Not so impressive
The River Safari was the site of my recent cohesion with my unit, in which I spent a full, delightful thrusday afternoon experiencing all that it has to offer. Based along a long, winding river, various exhibitions were on show together with facts about them.
The highlights of the place, which I felt were many, are unique and breathtaking. A famous example would be the pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia, whom I find really cute! Kai Kai was absolutely adorable, lying on a rock chewing away at bamboo leaves! However, Jia Jia was a bit shy and liked to hide away from sight. However, its not everyday that you get to see giant pandas and I really appreciated the opportunity there and then.
Another exhibit of interest would definitely be the Indian crocodiles. These huge crocodiles, mighty and powerful, held me in awe. When they opened their awesome jaws in a lazy yawn, I respected the raw power of being able to fit something as big as a deer inside. Another cool exhibit would be the sea lions and otters, watching them frisking about in the water and sunbathing was really cool! I felt touched at the moment.
However, I found the layout lacking in interest, and moreover, most of the exhibits were fish. It kind of gets boring after a while especially when you were promised river wildlife and it would have been more interesting to see fish in say, a zoo. I felt they could incorporate more wildlife in the form of maybe the mudskipper and more migratory birds, as well as reptiles such as snakes and lizards.
The boat ride was a joy though, it literally brings you around the course of the river with much of the wildlife relatively unenclosed along the way. However, perhaps it was in the afternoon when we visited and it coincided with their naptime, but we saw precious few animals during the boat ride. But notable animals worth seeing was the jaguar, the black spider monkey and the anteater!
Really cool but all the hoo haa about the place was a wee bit over-rated!
Kai Kai & Jia Jia
I was actually quite excited before I went to River Safari because of all the previous hype and marketing efforts done. For instance, I was looking forward to seeing the Mekong catfish and taking the Amazon River ride. However, these were pretty disappointing. Pardon me as I’m not really a fan of sea water creatures, but the Mekong catfish looks just like any other catfishes there. As for the river ride, it was just a shorter replica of the river ride in USS, except you get to see real creatures here. It is definitely cool to see the real creatures along the ride, but I thought they could use more simulation and creativity. Perhaps have more water splashing onto us or something. Seriously we even brought our raincoats there but apparently we didn't get to use it.
In addition, I feel that it is simply a combination of the Zoo and Sea Aquarium, perhaps a tactic to increase revenue.
On the plus side, I totally love the Yangtze River. No wonder Singapore spent so much effort in bringing Kai Kai and Jia Jia over, because they are totally adorable! I really wish I could interact with them right there. Honestly at that brief moment, I had a 5 minutes aspiration to become a zookeeper.
Other than the pandas, I also appreciate the idea that most of the land animals seen in River Safari are not trapped in small cages. I understand that they are still being trapped nonetheless, but the living conditions here are no doubt better than the zoo. Some of the animals are even free to roam around without being caged away from humans.
River Safari - a work in progress
If you are going to come expecting River Safari to be within the same league as Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and the Bird Park, then you would definitely be disappointed. But hey, if you take away those sky-high expectations and simply enjoy the park for what it is - you may be pleasantly surprised! It is definitely a park that is work-in-progress - you would notice that many of the aquariums are sparse, and you would complete the park within 2 hours - but even so, it still deserves some recognition for the excellent theming and attractions. After all, where else in this region can you actually experience a boat ride that is a cross-breed between a USS ride and an Amazon experience?
My advice is for you to visit it in the early morning, so that you can get the coveted boat ride ticket. Tickets tend to be distributed by 11am, and thereafter you would not be able to have a chance to enjoy the much-talked about boat ride. Nevertheless, there are other interesting areas of the park that you might enjoy, such as:
1) Kaikai and Jiajia - you would definitely lament the fact that jiajia never seems to come out of her den...but if you do spot her, you are lucky! The Giant Panda Cafe offers cheesy kaikai and jiajia paus - but hey, it looks great for Instagram.
2) Amazon Flooded Forest
This seems like a mini version of SEA Aquarium. Here, you would be able to witness the majesty of the manatees swimming around behind a large glass panel. This place offers a cool respite from the heat as well - given that the enclosure is fully air-conditioned.
I am fairly certain that WRS would continue to improve on this offering. But meanwhile, just don't go in expecting it to be of the same high standard that we have come to be used to with its other parks!
It is hard to improve on excellence
Let me start by saying that generally I do not like zoos. Let me then say that I love Singapore Zoo and the Night Safari. They make you feel that the animals are less constrained. To everyone I meet that visits here and asks what is worth doing say unreservedly: go to the Zoos.
As a fan, I was keen to check out the River Safari but I did wonder what it would have that was exciting and new. The answer is simple: apart from a couple of frustrated pandas, very little.
Of course there are some wow moments, of which the panda enclosure is NOT one (apart from the air conditioning). For me, the wow factor was provided by the Manatees, plus some mildly interesting fish from Mekong.
But hang on, haven't I seen them in the aquariums in SIngapore? Answer: yes.
And is it really a river safari when you have as few as three creatures to look at from the Murray, the NIle, The Ganges etc etc. You get my point? Underwhelming.
It struck me that, Pandas apart, this is a collection substantially culled from overpopulation in other parks in Singapore. Just think about it:
Fish? the aquariums and the zoo.
Birds? The bird park.
Squirrel Monkeys, Macaques and otters? Graduates from the SIngapore Zoo.
Otters? The main zoo, and so on.
I felt let down. There is nothing new here. two black and white Chinese visitors with PR: Panda Residence excepted.
OK. We can wait for the promised Amazon River Ride. Whoopdedoo! And what will we see? a wolf, some more monkeys, a Jaguar and a... Hang on a bit. Can't we already see them at the main zoo? So it will be a ride. Isn't that great? After all, there are so few rides in Singapore...Hmmm.
As an annex to the wonderful zoo, the River Safari would have been great, but to create a hybrid of every other park in Singapore and charge a small fortune to get in is opportunism and sleight of hand.
For me, one river was missing. You have the Murray and the Ganges and the Mississippi and so on. Why not the Singapore River? I am not joking.
Wait for the river cruise to begin!
Went there on a cloudy day and was surprised to find that most parts of the River Safari is actually sheltered! So, if you were planning a day out at the zoo on a rainy day, head on to the River Safari instead. That being said, the entrance fee is at $25 which is quite affordable for now, but once the river cruise starts, prices will increase again. (Like everything else in Singapore!)
For me, the animals on display were quite limited (though exotic) as one large portion of River Safari is not operational yet. Don't miss the Manatee display which was gorgeous. Definitely a highlight of the whole place, though for one part of it was for the stingrays and it wasn't really interesting at all.(we couldn't see anything!)
Overall, a 3.5 out of 5, and that is mainly due to the manatee display. Oh, and you get to visit the Pandas too, though the Red Pandas were much nicer to watch!
I visited the River Safari on the 27th of May and the river boat tour was not opened yet. In view of this, the tickets are sold $10 cheaper from their usual price of $35. My friend and I bought the bundle pack which I would highly recommend everyone to buy. The Night Safari + River Safari bundle costed us $49 which saved us $11, considering the Night Safari and River Safari tickets costs $35 and $25 each respectively. You don't have to go to the Night Safari on the same day for the tickets are valid within one month of purchase! Ok ticketing information aside, we went on a weekday afternoon and there were very few people around in the River Safari. If your schedule permits, do choose a weekday afternoon to visit the place.
The River Safari focuses a lot of river animals like different types of fishes, alligators, and also animals that stay beside the rivers or rely on the river for survival. Rainforest animals are also found there. Upon arrival at 230pm, we were just in time for the feeding of the fishes. There was a staff who was speaking about the fishes and providing nuggets of facts along the way. She was fun and informative to be around with. The small crowd also allowed us to have the feeding session in close view. It was a great and educational experience as I have never seen these river animals anywhere else! Not even the S.E.A.A!
The river/swimming animals were great and intriguing to look at but my main purpose was to visit the PANDAS!!!! Kai Kai and Jia Jia are their cute names. I walked over to the air-conditioned dome and the animal that caught my interest was the red panda. It was so cute, I must have spent 20 minutes just looking at it. I really love the red panda! A friendly staff then came to talk to us and told us that the dome costed a staggering $8.6 million to build! I really enjoyed the air-condition although the entire pathway in the River Safari was sheltered (thumbs up!). I saw the pandas but they were sleeping :( I was hoping to see them eat or play but I guess Lady Luck was not with me that day. It is okay, I will be back!
At 4pm, we caught the animal showcase and we were in close contact with various animals like pelicans, meerkat, hedgehog and I saw a vulcan for the first time in my life. The zookeeper would hold the animal and bring them to you for a touch. I was so excited to touch the baby hedgehog!!!! I don't know how to describe that feeling other than using the word AMAZING. I really love animals as you can already tell by now... :D
Too bad the river boat tour was not opened yet but I would be sure to head back there once it is ready.I find it worth the money and the friendly zookeepers made the experience extra special. Do bring your own food and drinks there as a bottle of plain water can cost you $2 and a packet of snacks at $3! Parking is not a problem and is of abundance and only costs $4.80 per entry. I left the place feeling like I have learnt something and it is a great and productive feeling. An excellent place to bring children to! I highly recommend everyone to check out this new little gem if you cannot already wait to visit the cute animals!! Otherwise, you could wait till end of the year for the river boat tour to be ready. All in all, a place you MUST go to in Singapore if you are an animal lover!
Love the Amazon and Mekong Aquariums
Although River Safari is now only considered a soft opening, there are a lot of exhibits to excite kids. It is like Animal-Planet coming alive! All the animals and fishes which we see only on TV programmes are now right infront of us.
Book the earliest slot for the Panda enclosure. We recommend you to skip all the exhibits beforehand and head to the Yangtze Pandas first. They are more active in the morning, and you might even be able to stay longer in the enclosure (the default time is 15min).
Kids Love Amazon's Flooded aquarium and Mekong's aquarium, there are so many fishes and mammals! Hugh Catfish and 1000Kg manatees! It is an awesome feeling to see the inhabitants swimming leisurely.
The other section which will thrill the kids are the "Squirrel Monkeys". These primates are not shy at all and they will gladly pose for your camera. Do remind the kids that monkeys are wild and we should avoid contact.
We love the information billboards, which allows us parents to explain the animals' origins, behaviour and diet.