Guest Post by Stephanie from Quarter Life Epiphany
The Singapore Zoo is a beautiful, natural oasis in the middle of a very rigid, urban, planned city.
The contrast is wonderful – as you step inside the park you are transported to a different place entirely, perhaps as far as the Great Rift Valley of Ethiopia, the Australian Outback, or even the nearby jungles of Asia, depending on the section you are standing in.
The enclosures look natural and the animals appear content and healthy, which can be an unfortunate rarity in Southeast Asian zoos. Also unlike many other zoos in Asia, the Singapore Zoo prohibits feeding the animals, putting anything inside an exhibit, or touching them unless otherwise posted. The respect for the animals and their dignity is exemplary. Singapore Zoo upholds a standard to which all zoos in the region should strive to achieve.
Each exhibit has nice signposts, with additional signs explaining feeding times (if applicable), the animal’s natural habitat, and any other interesting and applicable information. All signs are in English.
The white tiger exhibit is especially breathtaking, as the enclosure design mentally transports you to the jungles of Asia, as you meet eyes with the fierce tiger while he stalks his territory, surrounded by lush greenery and bordered at the bottom by a tranquil pool.
The zoo does accomplishes an astounding feat of incorporating the visitor almost seamlessly into the environment of the animals, sometimes so well that you even forget that you are at the zoo and not in a monkey-filled paradise. The rainforest walk, tree top trail, and the spectacular free-ranging orangutan boardwalk and island are awe-inducing examples.
All zoos walk a difficult line balancing between the pleasure of the visitors at viewing the animals, and providing the animals’ security, distance, and comfort. The Singapore Zoo exemplifies the art and science that must be incorporated in exhibit design, and exceeds expectations.
In addition to the artful exhibits, there are many free regular activities and shows throughout the day. These are posted and include Splash Safari (a trained Californian sea lion exhibit), Animal Friends (abandoned domestic animals trained to perform), Elephants of Asia (elephant performance), and Rainforest Fights Back (deforestation education and information about 10 species). Feedings also occur at regularly scheduled times.
It is advisable to arrive to the park early (perhaps even upon opening at 830am) to avoid the intense heat and humidity of Singapore, in addition to the family and tour groups that come in the afternoon. Even better, attending the park on a weekday (and not a public holiday) would ensure more face time with the animals.
There is a tram available, but walking is quite pleasant (especially if done in the morning), and then relying on the tram is not necessary, and waits eliminated. It is quite easy to cover the whole zoo on foot, and not difficult.
The Singapore Zoo is located about 30 minutes drive from city center. The zoo has 2800 animals across a 26 hectare park. The zoo is open from 830am to 600pm, with the last tickets being sold at 530pm. Adult ticket costs are 32USD.
If coming from the metro or airport (Singapore Zoo is an easy and doable day trip from Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur, with inexpensive tickets being found on low-cost airlines such as JetStar or AirAsia), the following metro stations link to buses which will bring you to the zoo:
Choa Chu Kang (NS4) – Bus 927
Ang Mo Kio (NS16) – Bus 138
Marsiling (NS8) – Bus 926 (operating Sundays and Public Holidays only)
Woodlands (NS9) – Bus 926 (operating Sundays and Public Holidays only)
I’d like to say a big thank you to Stephanie for her guest post on the amazing Singapore Zoo and wonderful photos!