Spotlight on: Singapore Zoo and Night Safari

My partner loves a good zoo. Not the start you might have expected to this blog post, but it has meant that on our travels, we have seen some amazing wildlife, both local to the area, and from around the world. If we travel anywhere and a zoo is in the vicinity, it is almost guaranteed that it will make our itinerary at some point in time. When we visited Singapore, this was no different.

Singapore Zoo is a lush green retreat in a small, busy and built-up country! Originally opened in the 1970’s, today the zoo covers almost 70 acres on the margins of Upper Seletar Reservoir within Singapore’s heavily forested central catchment area. It now is home to more than 2800 animals across the zoo and neighbouring Night Safari.

Described as ‘the world’s best rainforest zoo’, it has taken care to provide the animals in its care with open environments that have been thoughtfully built and landscaped after their natural habitats in the wild. Features such as elevated platforms, glass underwater galleries and open moated enclosures provide a feeling of being as close to the animals as you can get!

The amazing 'elephant art' that can be bought to take home!
The amazing ‘elephant art’ that can be bought to take home!

Personal highlights included white tigers, elephants, and the truly amazing free-ranging orangutan habitat that features the apes in natural surroundings. When walking around the zoo, make sure to look up to the tree tops and you might just find yourself being watched by them from the canopies – a world first!

Regular shows, feeding sessions and talks from keepers can easily wile away the time, as well as providing a fun educative experience. If you want to take it one step further, the zoo also offers a Jungle breakfast with wildlife experience, where you can literally eat alongside the orangutans! This provides an intimate encounter with the animals that the region is best known for.

Guided tram rides mean that the Zoo is easily accessible for visitors of all ages, and it can be easily reached by public transport.

The Night Safari at first seems a novel idea, and is sold as such, marketed as ‘the world’s first wildlife park built for visits at night’. The central premise seems simple; many animals are natural nocturnal, and can often therefore be hard to spot during a regular zoo visit. As well as providing well-marked walking routes, a central tram system takes a 40 minute tour around the ‘big’ attractions in comfort.

The Safari itself covers seven zones including the Himalayan foothills, Indian subcontinent, equatorial Africa and Indo-Malayan region. In a couple of hours, the whole safari can be easily covered, and provides a good evening activity for families with slightly older children or teenagers. Just bear in mind that taking good pictures proves near impossible, and the use of flash is prohibited!At the time of writing, the cost of entrance to both Singapore Zoo and the Night Safari was $42 per adult. While this may not be a throwaway sum of money, a visit to the two can easily fill a whole day (and night) of activity!

Free-ranging orangutans
Free-range orangutans

Having visited a number of zoos from around the world, I can honestly say that Singapore Zoo stands head and shoulders above the rest for its respectful and innovative home for our precious wild neighbours. If you have an interest in nature, or are looking for a family suitable activity, I would highly recommend it for a day and night out away from the hustle and bustle of central Singapore.

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