My Yellow Suitcase

Redesign your life. Travel the world.

Singapore Zoo : The World’s Best Rainforest Zoo

Singapore Zoo covers an area of 26 hectares and is home to over 2,800 animals representing over 300 species. It is an interesting mixture of mammals, amphibians, birds, reptiles, fishes, and insects, complete with boardwalks that bring you to the top of the trees for a closer look at the inhabitants.  All the walkways throughout the exhibits have been exquisitely designed and landscaped here. The walkways often twist and intertwined, allowing you to choose from multiple paths without getting lost. You feel as though you’re discovering and exploring the secrets and habits of the fauna in the wild.

01 Singapore Zoo (Large)

Another notable feature of Singapore Zoo is the “open-concept” utilized there to a great effect.  The animals are kept in well-designed landscaped enclosures– similar to their natural habitats. These natural enclaves are separated from visitors by moats and sometimes glass barriers all of which are cleverly concealed by plants and rocks.  For most exhibits, the barriers are practically unnoticeable and you feel as though there’s nothing between you and the wild animals, which makes the experience even more thrilling.

Treetops Trail

After entering, we headed straight to the left side of the park and into the Treetops Trail.  Being the first immersive experience that welcomes the visitor, this zone begins at the Rainforest Courtyard and the path leads to an elevated platform through the forest canopy providing greater proximity to the wide variety of wildlife.

The imitation of the natural habitat is quite impressive here; the lush mangroves and trees, the cascading waterfall with a pool below it, and the realistic rock formations – all gives the impression that you are in a real rainforest. The animals are quite hard to spot right away, as they camouflage themselves so well among the greenery.  The free-ranging brown lemurs and the white faced saki monkeys startled us by appearing all of a sudden from nowhere and then swung from brunch to brunch following us along the trail. They are quite playful and not camera-shy at all, which is pretty imperturbable 🙂 .  Just a note of caution, though, the elusive false gavial (freshwater crocodile) may be lurking beneath the boardwalks, so beware!

sakimonkey - Treetops Trail

White Faced Saki, they have such thick luscious hair!  The female White Faced Saki has shorter brown/gray fur with pale stripes around the corners of its nose and mouth. 

brown lemur

Brown lemur, feeding her little one!

crocs

Elusive false gavial – always on the hunt mode!

Wild Africa

Created to simulate the grassy plains in Africa, this south-eastern flank of the Zoo has grazing mammals living alongside their deadly predators.  There’s nothing like the thrill of traversing through “Wild Africa” on a safari tour knowing full well that you are perfectly safe, and yet, at the same time, feeling your heart rate increasing from the primal fear of becoming a prey to the hungry predators lurking around and watching you. LOL!

sunbear

Sun bear

lion

Introducing the king of the Jungle – the mighty Lion!

white tiger2

Make way for the white tiger.

pig

Red river hogs in search for food

tapir

Black and white – Tapir

Frozen Tundra

Built to resemble the arctic habitat, the Frozen Tundra has a chilling temperature, an ice cave with a waterfall, and a large pool filled with giant ice blocks.  The polar bear seemed so cute and huggable to me.  No wonder the kids were enjoying their time trying to capture the bear’s attention and when the bear came closer to them they scream and run away.  So much for the bear hug.

polar bear

Polar bear

Australian Zone

I felt like I was instantly transported to the land of ‘Down Under’ the moment I passed the rustic entrance into the Australian Zone. Here, the gray kangaroos and agile wallabies hop about freely as you enter the walk-through area while the seemingly lethargic koalas lounge comfortably in their indoor exhibit with specially controlled temperature and humidity.

tree kangaroo

My fist time to see – Tree-kangaroos! 

Fragile forest

Fragile Forest is a massive biodome where you can experience an exciting journey through the various strata of the rainforest – starting with getting to know the invertebrates and other creatures typically found on the forest floor like the Madagascan hissing cockroaches, rhinoceros beetles and the many colorful varieties of frogs and toads.  As you hike past the mudskippers and stingrays in the mangrove swamps and head higher up to the tree canopies, you will inevitably stop in your tracks to admire the splendor of rainforest species – butterflies, lemurs, crowned pigeons, iguanas and mousedeer as they co-exist in this breathtaking ecosystem.

ringtailed lemur

Surely this Ring Tailed Lemur knows his angle for a great shot. High five!

red bear

Red Pandas – They are so cute but can be very active!

There’s also an observation deck which will give you an idea of everyday life in the tree canopies – where sloths and lemurs roam freely and flying foxes and Lories glide just above your heads.  In this complex rainforest ecosystem, the Earth’s treasured and threatened species live among mighty trees, delicate ferns, palms, shrubs and the undergrowth. Here you will be treated to the cacophony of birds and insects and the tranquil sounds of cascading waters… but don’t forget that this is just a reconstructed slice of the real rainforest that is disappearing at alarming rates every passing day.  And when it’s gone, it’s gone forever.

parrot

Red Lories playing

Two-toed Sloth-fragile forest

Two-toed sloth taking care of her young

fying fox

Flying fox enjoying his lunch.

 

Great Rift Valley of Ethiopia

This award-winning zone depicts a day of life in the East African geological marvel that is the Great Rift Valley – a land that literally began ripping apart 40 million years ago as a result of the Earth’s tectonic forces.  A walk through the tribal entrance was a jaw-dropping site to see, the dramatic rocky landscape that is reminiscent of the majestic mountains, rugged terrain, and waterfalls of the Great Rift Valley in Ethiopia was well put together.

monkey3

Some Hamadryas Baboons. It is so fun watching the interaction in their troops. Grooming, little ones being taken care of by older baboons and fights breaking out between the males are a common sight.

 

Gibbon Island

The primates along Gibbon Island are vocalist extraordinaire! There are the black howler monkeys, with their deep throaty cries, gibbons with their territorial whoops and red-ruffed lemurs with their signature ‘barks’.

Celebes Crested Macaque

Celebes Crested Macaque – I always find these apes always look so snob, you?

capuchin-monkeys

Capuchins have tails that can be as long as their bodies and are considered to be the most intelligent New World Monkey. They are often used in laboratories and noted for their long term use of tools, one of the few primates aside from apes to do so.

monkey2

Some Sumatran orangutans pigging out and looking pensive.

Proboscis monkey

 Proboscis monkey playing music with the leaf, so cool

Reptile Garden

Want to see a real-life dragon? Meet the Komodo dragons (the world’s largest living lizards, up to three meters in length), and a collection of other cold-blooded species crawling around their naturalistic habitat in search of a spot to bask in the sun. There’s also giant tortoises – second largest species of tortoises in the world which you can interact with.  I think the giant tortoise and the Komodo dragon are the most photographed animals here.  Who said the size doesn’t matter?

komodo

Komodo dragon – waiting for his prey.

tortoise

Say hi to this giant tortoise.

Overall, Singapore Zoo clearly offers a great and memorable experience for the visitors.  Apart from being beautifully designed, all of the exhibits are complemented by the interactive educational displays. I rarely read the display info at zoos, but here the information consisted of very little text and was presented in such an innovative and entertaining way that it was almost impossible to resist using it.

What’s really impressive is their contribution to the global conservation effort with its captive breeding programs of endangered animals. In 2014, the Singapore Zoo bred over 100 animals, many of them endangered and at the brink of extinction.

Have you been to the Singapore Zoo? How to you find the animals and the atmosphere there? I am looking forward to your comments!

TRAVELER’S NOTE:

  • Try visiting the zoo later in the day to avoid the oppressive heat. Plus by then most of the crowds will have died down. Just remember that the zoo closes at 6:00pm daily!
  • Be sure to bring plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated. Singapore Zoo is actually pretty large, so you’ll end up doing more walking than you think. However, there are trams and boats that you can use (for a small fee) that make getting around the grounds much easier.
  • Singapore Zoo is located in the Upper Seletar Reservoir, so there were quite a few mosquitoes lurking around. Bring insect repellent, as well as plenty of sunscreen.

How to get there:

Singapore Zoo is not located directly on any MRT line, which makes it a little tricky to get there. You can obviously ride a taxi, but that will end up costing quite a bit of money. Instead, I would recommend one of two options.

  • Option #1: Ride the MRT to Ang Mo Kio station (NS16 on the red line) and take the #138 bus that is located right outside the station. This bus will take you directly to the zoo. This will probably cost – S$5 in total.
  • Option #2: Take the Singapore Attractions Express (SAEx) shuttle. If you are planning on doing more sightseeing after the zoo, this option is perfect for you because it has drop offs at all the popular tourist attractions.  It costs S$5 per trip, or you can buy a 24h pass for S$13.

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This entry was posted on October 10, 2015 by in Singapore and tagged .
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