Singapore Zoo is an open concept zoo where instead of cages, the animals are kept in spacious landscaped enclosures separated from the visitors by either dry or wet moats. It was build by the government of Singapore and opened in 1973. The zoo is one of the most beautiful in the world and it attracts about 1.4 million visitors a year. There are about 315 species of animal in the zoo, of which some 16% are considered threatened species.
This is a place worth visiting for an amazing insight into some amazing animals.
ONe word of advice: don't eat an ice cream when walking past the giraffes and zebras in Wild Africa: unless you are sucking on a durian ice cream of course. Then you would not notice the pong.
The displays and shows are fantastic. And the staff seem to be enthusiastic, kind (to the animals) and totally involved in what they do.
A great day out.
The Singapore Zoo is of a high standard, as they keep their animals in enclosures that mirror their true habitat in the wild as much as possible. However, the animals do not always look comfortable and they always seem bored. Of course this cannot really be helped as I think the Zoo is doing its best to take care of the welfare of the animals and such a huge empire is difficult to maintain.
One important thing to note if you are planning on visiting the Zoo, especially for activities like sketching, as you will have to sit down in one area for some time, is to remember to apply insect repellent! There is an uncountable number of mosquitoes in the zoo, and it can be quite frustrating to walk around with a bothersome itch!
Also, it will be better to put aside an entire day to walk around the whole zoo if you plan to cover all the exhibits as the area is vast and I myself do not usually complete the entire journey in one visit. The entrance fee is not cheap so you want to make the most of the cost by planning your route well.
Overall I feel that the Singapore Zoo is one of the better zoos out there as I have been to others overseas that were in a terrible condition.
My absolute favourite part of visiting the zoo is the chance to feed and stroke the animals myself. The latest addition is the giraffe-feeding session added into the itinerary. For SGD5, you get to share a plate of potato strips to feed the giraffes with your friends and snap pictures of the giraffe barely an inch away from you! Also, a donation of another SGD5 will allow you into the kangaroo enclosure where you get to feed numerous kangaroos with their kibbles.
I had to chance to have a breakfast buffet with the Ah Mengs at the Ah Meng Restaurant in the zoo too! It was built to commemorate the death of the beloved Ah Meng a few years ago. It was pretty pricey, but there really isn't anywhere else you can get so upclose to so many Ah Mengs at once. I enjoyed myself tremendously taking photos with the cheeky Ah Mengs!
They are currently doing some renovation and upgrading work in the Zoo so I didn't manage to see the big polar bear swimming in its huge enclosure this time round, but I'll definitely be back once the upgrading is done!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.