Enter the Wild, Singapore Style

Animal enthusiasts everywhere will be absolutely amazed by Singapore’s unique showcasing of the animal kingdom. In Singapore, three tourist spots have made it possible for animal lovers to view nature’s finest creatures in every possible setting. The Singapore Zoo, locally known as Mandai zoo due to its location in the Mandai district, is one of the oldest tourist attractions in Singapore.

Opened in 1973, the zoo attracts up to 1.6 million visitors a year. Not to be outdone is the Night Safari, the world’s very first nocturnal zoo. This 63 million dollar zoo opened in 1994, drawing visitors from near and far enthralled by its twilight natural setting. If these two animal attractions were not enough to excite you, there is the completely original and scenic Singapore River Safari, conveniently located between the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari. This river zoo is the first of its kind in Asia and newly opened as of April 2013.

Singapore Zoo

White Tiger Trek Singapore ZooWhite Tiger Trek Singapore Zoo

The Singapore Zoo is nestled within the lush greenery of the Mandai rainforest. It extends to the Seletar reservoir, and is an amazing location to view a myriad of animals from all over the world in the most natural and humane environments possible in a zoo. The Singapore Zoo houses its animal residents in habitats that mimic those of their natural living conditions. From the Frozen Tundra with its larger-than-life polar bears to Wild Africa where cheetahs and zebras roam, the zoo has divided its compact animal kingdom into 11 zones to allow animal lovers to appreciate the animals in their diverse evolutionary habitats. These specially customized zones include the Treetops Trail which hosts lemurs and monkeys galore. The zoo also houses a farm where kids can interact with adorable furry friends like rabbits and goats and even go on pony rides. Other special features unique to the Singapore Zoo include boat rides on crocodile infested waters, elephant rides and a wild animal carousel for the young and the young-at-heart. The zoo also exhibits its talented inhabitants in educational live shows.

Night Safari

Tram ride in Night SafariTram Ride in Night Safari

At dusk, the animals come out to play at the Night Safari, the world’s very first nocturnal zoo. This unique brand of nightlife promises to bring out the wild animal in you, making it a tourist spot like no other. Experience animals in their natural nocturnal habitats on board the tram or embark on an adventurous walking trail. The safari features 8 zones that include Equatorial Africa, home to zebras, hyenas and giraffes; Nepalese River Valley where Asian rhinoceroses and axis deer wander; and the Asian Riverine Forest where endangered red dholes thrive. For those who wish a more autonomous route, the option of the walking trails such as Fishing Cat and the Wallaby trail are open for exploration. Here, visitors are granted a more intimate viewing of these magnificent animals by moonlight. Get up close and personal with some of the animal kingdom’s finest such as sugar gliders, fishing cats, pangolins and even the South East Asian clouded leopards and Gir Lion.

One of the Night Safari’s specialties is its dining experiences the Gourmet Safari Express which provides diners with a 5-course meal and free-flow beverages including wine and beer. The popular Creatures of the Night show ends the Courmet Safari Express with aplomb.

River Safari

Singapore’s latest venture into the wonderful world of animal attractions is the newly premiered 30 acre River Safari. This tropical rainforest themed wildlife exhibit consists of everything from riverboat rides to a giant panda forest where cuddly creatures such as the Giant and red panda reside harmoniously amidst lush greenery. The main feature of this park is, of course, its river-themed animal exhibition zones. These include a myriad of animals from different international locations and habitats such as the beaver and Alligator Snapping Turtle from the American Mississippi River, the African Arowana and Tigerfish from the Egyptian Nile and the Red Clawed Crayfish and Murray cod from the Australian Murray River. Visitors are treated to the opportunity of visiting the wildlife inhabitants of the world’s most famous rivers gathered in one diverse wildlife reserve.

The cutest inhabitants of the river Amazonian forest are perhaps the squirrel monkeys. You can meet them in the Squirrel Monkey Forest and bear witness to the multitude of calls these little critters use in the process of food foraging. For those who wish to interact with the animals, the River Safari also features River Talk, an animal patting and photo-op show. If all that exploring leaves you famished, refuel at the Mama Panda kitchen or indulge in Chinese food at the River Safari Tea House.

The Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and River Safari are located at Mandai and are accessible by buses from MRT stations on the North-South (Red) line, namely Ang Mo Kio, Choa Chu Kang, Woodlands and Marsiling. Also available are Singapore Attractions Express (SAEx®) bus services that head to all three zoos from pickup points including Orchard Road, Little India, Chinatown, Sentosa and Suntec City.

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