Singapore Zoo is one of the top attractions in Singapore, and that’s quite an accomplishment, because despite it’s size, the country has plenty to offer tourists.
Let’s look at why.
THERE’S MORE THAN JUST THE ZOO
The most obvious advantage of Singapore Zoo over those in other locations is that it’s not just one zoo. It’s actually part of a group of four attractions that make up Wildlife Reserves Singapore. The other three are the River Safari, the Night Safari, and Jurong Bird Park.
To make your life easier, they’re all located in the same part of Singapore, north – and a little west – of the city. With an early start and a lot of stamina, you could see them all in one day, although you’d probably have a more relaxing time if you did it in two, or chose the two or three you’re most interested in and gave them your full attention.
THE PARKS ARE HUGE!
Combined, the parks cover almost 100 hectares of land.
Part of the reason they’re so big is that the Wildlife Reserves are passionate about providing the most suitable living enclosures for their inhabitants. There’s also plenty of space for gift stores, a wide selection of restaurants, bathroom facilities, and additional attractions.
DIVERSITY OF SPECIES
Singapore Zoo has over 300 different species. the Night Safari almost 120, the River Safari 200, and Jurong Bird Park over 400. In total, this amounts to almost 15,000 animals. A large percentage of these are threatened, and many are species you don’t find in every zoo.
The giant pandas at the River Safari are a big hit with visitors – as is the huge aquarium near its entrance, which contains arapaima and manatees. The Zoo has a huge diversity of primates, as well as Asian elephants, Komodo dragons, sun bears, hippos, tapirs, rhinos, a white tiger and a polar bear. The Night Safari’s star attractions include the slow loris, tarsiers, hyenas, and loads of different kinds of big cat. Perhaps the most fascinating of the exhibits at Jurong are its birds of paradise, while the birds of prey are best viewed during the ‘Kings of the Sky’ show.
MULTIPLE ENTRY TICKETS AND MEMBERSHIP
At the time of writing, adult tickets to the individual parks cost S$33, S$45, S$30 and S$29 for the Zoo, Night Safari, River Safari and Bird Park, respectively. ParkHopper bundled admission tickets allow guests to visit two or four of its wildlife parks within seven days from the first park visit. Visitors opting for a four-park excursion will only need to pay $69, which translates to savings of $68 as opposed to purchasing single-entry park admission tickets. Those who prefer a two-park visit will save up to $19. Online purchases will receive a further 10 per cent discount on either bundled admission package.
If you think you’d like to come back on a regular basis, the parks offer the option of membership, which includes unlimited entry to whichever park you’ve elected to become a member of, free parking, discounts on retail and food outlets, and email updates about promotions and new exhibits.
SHOWS AND ANIMAL INTERACTIONS
Each of the parks has a packed schedule of shows, feeding times, encounters and interactions. See elephants exhibiting their strength and intelligence in an amusing performance alongside their mahouts; watch sealions showing off their acrobatic skills; feed giraffes, elephants, goats, rhinos and baboons; take an exciting tour of the Amazon as one of the River Safari’s optional boat rides, take in a fire performance, eat your lunch among parrots; or learn about ‘Creatures of the Night’ before hopping on a narrated tram ride in the dark. There’s plenty more on offer than your usual basic walk-through wildlife park.
CATERING FOR EVERYONE
During design and construction of the wildlife reserves, the prime concern was, of course, providing suitable living/exhibit spaces for each of the inhabitants, but this is not to say that the comfort of visitors has been compromised. Here, more than most attractions, all visitors’ needs are catered for.
There’s a huge selection of eateries, plenty of bathroom facilities with diaper change and feeding rooms, lockers, ATMs, water dispensers, shelters for when it rains, and free WiFi hotspots. Strollers, wheelchairs and wagons are available for rent, and recycle bins are located alongside the trails. In case you tire easily, trams, boat rides and even horse carriages offer alternatives to walking; and children are well catered for, especially at the Zoo, where a dedicated zone offers pony rides, horse grooming, rabbit petting, goat feeding, and a big splash park to cool off in on sunny days.
RESPONSIBLE PRACTICES AND CONSERVATION
Wildlife Reserves Singapore plays an active role in protecting wildlife by funding conservation and research projects both locally and internationally. They work with other zoos, NGOs, academic institutions and government agencies to ensure the best possible outcomes for endangered species, as well as providing professional training, workshops and consultancy services relating to conservation. They’re involved with the rehabilitation and release of injured or sick animals; day-to-day operations focus on saving energy and recycling; and exhibit designs either meet or far surpass the standards set out by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
The organisation is also currently raising awareness of the plight of smuggled animals. Using disturbing imagery and slogans like ‘The lucky ones die first’, this campaign has been running throughout Singapore, encouraging people to sign petitions against illegal behaviours such as the smuggling of exotic birds inside plastic bottles, the trade of tiger bones used in traditional medicine, and poaching of rhinos for their horns.
ACCOMMODATION AND TRANSPORT
While in Singapore, a great choice of accommodation is the Chic Capsule Otel. Offering luxury capsule pods within shared rooms, you get privacy for a fraction of the cost of a hotel room. Each bed has its own flatscreen TV, remote control and Beats headphones; breakfast and refreshments are included; bathroom facilities are spotless; and the staff are wonderful. Its sister hostel ‘@The Little Red Dot‘ has much more basic capsule beds, as well as regular dorms, and caters more for the budget backpacker. Both also provide decent discounts on many of the best activities in Singapore.
The parks are about 30 minutes out of the city centre. Taxis tend to charge by distance as opposed to time, so you might be better off taking public transport. Taking the metro to Ang Mo Kio and then a 138 bus is reasonably straightforward, especially if you check where the bus stop is beforehand or ask at the station. The Safari Gate, and the Singapore Attractions Express are alternative bus services that go directly to the city centre, but drop off points are limited.
Have you been to Singapore Zoo, or one of its partner attractions? How do you feel it compares with other wildlife parks? Is it the best zoo in the world? Comment below!