I’m a sucker for zoos so when I heard Singapore had not just one amazing zoo but a whole complex of zoos in the same area, I was so excited! I mean who doesn’t love spending your day looking at cute animals? And Singapore Zoo even manages to stretch the fun out into the evening with their Night Safari Park.
It turned out to be one of my favourite things in Singapore and maybe even the trip as a whole. I managed to see tigers leaping out of the water to catch scraps of meat, I saw Barusa warthogs with tusks growing out of their heads (yes they actually exist) and watched bats flit by me to nibble on sweet fruit. Still, there were some things I wished I had known before-hand to make my visit even better, so here are some tips for you to get the most out of your visit to Singapore Zoo.
Do Your Research – First things first, do your research into what the parks have to offer. This may sound like an obvious one but I made a few assumptions about the parks, such as believing that the River Safari and Night Safari were more like attractions when actually they are full parks in their own right, and this messed up my timings for the day. Simply check out the website and really take note of what shows, feeding times and other attractions you want to hit and have a rough plan for your day. The website even offers a pretty intensive itinerary that you can try out if you want but the main thing is to have an idea of how much time you will spend in the park. People will tell you 3 hours is enough but I think you are looking at more like 4-5 hours if you really want to take your time and enjoy it. Get there in the morning and you’ll have plenty of time to fit it all in.
Choose the right ticket for you– There are several ticket options for you to choose from:
1. Single Park Admission from S$24-45
2. Two Park Entry S$49
3. Four Park Entry S$69
4. Park hopper (four parks plus shuttle bus and boat within the parks) S$79
I would definiely advise getting one of the combo tickets, not only because price wise you get excellent savings, but also they are just so good you’ll want to see more than one! You can do any combination of the four parks, Singapore Zoo, River Safari, Night Safari or Jurong Bird Park in the two park entry; my recommendation would be Singapore Zoo as it has the most animals and then the Night Safari because it is such a unique experience. What I wouldn’t recommend is the Park Hopper ticket. The only added perk to this is you can use the tram to take you around the park and on the river safari you can catch the boat ride. Unless you have mobility issues it is not too hard to walk around the park and if you change your mind you can buy tickets there (S$5 for tram and same for boat). I ended up using it just for the sake of it and because of timings I didn’t make it to the boat ride at all so even though it is just S$10 extra it wasn’t worth it for me.
Bring Your Own Food – This almost goes without saying for zoos, the price of food is always going to be astronomical so it makes much more sense to grab some snacks and have a picnic. Also, the food I did have was terrible. Stop at one of the bread shops in the metro stations and buy some cheeses rolls, crisps and fruit and you will be all set!
Don’t Miss The Feeding Times – The shows at zoos are always good fun but I find mostly they are aimed at kids, if you want a more interesting experience try to catch the feeding times. I was at the tiger enclosure in time to see them being fed and it was the best part of the day. The two white bengal tigers swam in figures of eight below the keeper, leaping up into the air to catch their food and sometimes swiping at each other too. You are also more likely to hear some cool facts about the animal and get a chance to question the zoo keeper, something you can’t do at a show.
Know What To Expect For the Night Safari – I thought this one of a kind experience was brilliant! The idea behind it is that a lot of animals are more active at night so why not go see them then? While I would say this is still true, don’t expect them all to be running about everywhere, animals have lazy days (or nights) as much as we do. Yet hearing their calls to each other was like being out in the African bush. The fact that the park was a lot quieter at night (many people seemed to do the included safari ride and skip the walking section – which is still worth doing as you see things you don’t on the ride) meant I could enjoy a peaceful moment just watching the animals be. What I want to warn you about though is, again, maybe an obvious point but still worth noting: It gets dark at night. There is low lighting for you to be able to see the animals but it is designed not to disturb the animals too much so is not the best for viewing them. If you have difficulty seeing in low light then maybe this isn’t the park for you, that being said, peering into the darkness to figure out whether that shadow is a sleeping lion or just a big rock is all part of the fun! There is also no flash photography so if you fancy yourself the next National Geographic photographer then don’t expect perfect conditions.
There is so much to see and do there you could easily spend a couple of days visiting two parks each day and have a great time. Singapore Zoo and the other parks were a highlight for me in Singapore and hopefully with these tips to help you along it will be for you too.