Attracting about 1.5 million visitors every year, Singapore Zoo is one of the jewels in this Southeast Asian nation’s tourism crown. It’s home to more than 300 animal species. Almost 20 percent are considered endangered and are therefore quite rare sights. The zoo’s visitor experience is enhanced by an open plan design with moats, glass, and hidden fences allowing for better views of the residents.
Singapore Zoo opened in 1973 and is located in a rural part area on the shores of the Upper Seletar Reservoir. The zoo expanded quickly and by the 1980s was beginning to add the rare species for which it’s now justifiably famous to its portfolio. Golden monkeys were the first arrivals then were followed by white tigers and lovable giant pandas.
Other superstars at Singapore Zoo include African penguins, red-footed tortoises, Malayan tapirs, Komodo dragons, cassowaries, and meerkats. Madagascar hissing cockroaches are an unusual spectacle. The zoo houses both Sumatran and Bornean orangutans. They live in natural habitats with climbing frames. An elevated walkway gives visors during the tour commanding views of these intelligent beings.
Jungle breakfast with the orangutans is one of the zoo’s peerless draws. Daily shows are Elephants at Work, Splash Safari, Animal Friends and the Rainforest Fights Back. Opting to join an African Hooves and Horns Tour takes visitors on a thrilling odyssey across the savannah. A tram tour of the zoo takes in the key highlights of the 69 acre site.
For youngsters, Rainforest Kidzworld is an interactive playground that excites their natural inquisitiveness. Top draws here are a small waterpark with slides, pools, and tubes as well as the Keeper Encounter programme. The latter allows for close interaction with goats, rabbits, and tiny falabella horses. Kids get to help with grooming and feeding these docile animals.
A varied choice of venues for eating and drinking ensures that tourists can make a day out of their Singapore Zoo tour. Ah Meng Restaurant and Ah Meng Kitchen are named in memory of one of the zoo’s most famous orangutans which serve local cuisine including Nasi Lemak and Chicken Rice.
There’s a KFC for international tourists craving a taste of home. Other dining establishments include Chawang Bistro and the Wild Deli. The zoo’s gift shops stock a tantalising array of animal-themed cuddly toys, logoed T-shirts, souvenirs, and ornaments.
Singapore Zoo is on Mandai Lake Road and around 20kms from downtown. It’s a part of the same complex as the Night Safari and the River Safari. The facilities aren’t connected to the MRT train system. The nearest stations are Woodlands or Ang Mo Kio. Buses connect the stations to the zoo.