If you’re an animal lover, or just want to break out your inner child, spending a day (and a night) at the Singapore Zoo will be a highlight of your trip. When Singapore builds something, they don’t do it halfway, the result is not one but two state of the art zoo experiences like no other in the world. Located in the northern part of Singapore island, you can catch public transit, or a handy shuttle for $4 which can be booked through most hostels.
You’ll want to start your day early and pace yourself as there is a lot of ground to cover. There is an animal feeding every 15 minutes somewhere in the park, special close up photo opportunities, elephant rides, a giant amphitheater with animal shows, the splash park, and kids world, which has its own list of activities. Needless to say, you’ll want to plan your strategy of attack before entering the park, to make sure you capture your must see events. All of the feedings are free to view and there are several opportunities to feed animals yourself for a nominal charge of $5. This is of course limited to the ones that won’t eat you such as the giraffes and turtles for good reason.
Singapore has designed the zoo to be as open concept as safety permits. Most of the exhibits have few barriers keeping the animals enclosed – however the night safari really breaks the mould in the open concept arena. The best example in the zoo, is the Orang-utan exhibit, where these amazing creatures are free to swing above you in the trees. If you look closely you’ll notice some wiring on the trees to make sure they don’t get too friendly with the visitors. My favourite exhibit of the day is the breath taking white tiger. Highly endangered in the wild, zoo’s all over the world are trying to slow the decline through captive breeding 80 photos and 30 minutes later I had to pull myself away, only because the camera battery had died and we wanted to see the jaguar feeding.
The feedings offer an opportunity to learn more about the animals and see them jumping, clawing and swimming to grab their food. I would recommend seeing one of the big cats feeding as they are usually docile during the day otherwise. The orangutan feeding offers you an opportunity to get up close and personal with these creatures. There human like facial expressions will astonish you.
I would recommend buying a discounted admission plus tram ticket, as the tram offers you a great way to zip from one end of the park to the other and give your tired feet a break. If you aren’t completely exhausted from walking the zoo all day, why not pop over to the Night Safari?
It feels a bit like we have backstage passes to the zoo as we enter the safari doors at 8 in the evening. It’s dark and a bit eerie, which only adds to the excitement. Although some of the animals featured here are the same as the Singapore Zoo, the distinguishing feature is that all animals showcased here are nocturnal. So instead of capturing photos of sleeping animals during the day, you’ll be able to see them wide awake at night.
The tram here is a must do, as it is the main attraction and the best way to see the park. Pictures here are almost non-existent, so if you are desperate for some close up photos, the day zoo is going to be the better option.
The Night Safari has taken open concept to a new level, as we have to stop the tram on a few occasions to allow wildlife to cross in front. You really will want to keep your hands and feet inside the moving vehicle at all times. The bat and flying fox enclosure allows you to walk right through their habitat – not for the faint of heart as the bats will be flying overhead and around you as you walk through their sanctuary.
If you’ve only got time to see one, I would have to pick the Night Safari. While the day zoo is bigger, and will take you longer to explore, there is only one Night Safari in the world, and an experience like no other. It also leaves your day free to explore other parts of the city best seen during day light hours. Pack some snacks, bring a camera or two, strap on some comfortable walking shoes, and let your inner child roam free.