We’re going on a bear hunt! Animal spotting at Singapore Zoo and the Night Safari

I am a sucker for a zoo. My 21st birthday wish was to re-visit Sydney’s Taronga Zoo- small dreams. I have dragged my kids around Dubbo Zoo and I have visited lots of other wildlife parks- The Reptile Park, Currumbin Bird Sanctuary, Bullen’s Animal World (which has been closed since 1985 but I remember the excitement, as a kid, of dad driving the old Falcon through all those lions.) So when every search of “What to do in Singapore?” turned up Singapore Zoo and Night Safari it ended up at the top of the bucket list.

There was a lot of helpful advice on-line as to the best way to get to the zoo. You can catch the MRT and then a bus but it takes a bit of time. The easier option is to catch a taxi or an uber, especially if you have more than two people. It works out about the same price, approximately A$20, and you get delivered to the door in about half an hour. In saying that maybe I am just lazy, the MRT transport system in Singapore is amazing- sparkly clean, efficient, cheap and fuss-free. Just do your research to check which are the best stations to get out at to access the Zoo. A handy guide from the Zoo can be found here.

The next thing was to decide whether to do the Zoo and the Night Safari on the same day. Some people recommended yes, others no. In my opinion do them on two different days. We went to the Zoo first and spent about five hours there. We hadn’t expected to take so long and with all the walking, combined with the heat and humidity we were a bit exhausted. Even with a dinner break I don’t think we would have been in the right frame of mind to stay and put in another three hours at the Night Safari.

The Zoo itself was fantastic. The exhibits are arranged in a way that made the fences inconspicuous. At many exhibits they seemed barely there at all. We happened to arrive as many of the feeding and information sessions were being held and the talks were informative but relaxed. Even the feeding was handled unobtrusively and subtly so that the keepers didn’t take centre stage the animals did.

The otters were a favourite. We had been searching for the sea otters that live around Singapore but had no luck, so the zoo otters were our last hope. They were a gregarious group, frolicking and chirping to each other and keeping everyone entertained. From one side of the exhibit you can also watch them underneath the water.

While at the zoo you will probably be doing a lot of walking, however, there was a package that you could buy to supplement your ticket that included a tram ride through the zoo. There were a number of tram stops and you could hop on and off when each one came through on their circuit. This would have been especially helpful if you have young children or people with mobility issues in your group.

Another handy tip is that there are several water re-filling stations around the park so bring your drink bottle. If you forget there are vending machines, a cafe and a KFC but I think you need to go to KFC before you enter the zoo as it is outside the gates.

After a day’s rest and recovery we came back to the zoo for the Night Safari. The Night Safari allows you to walk around the park and watch the nocturnal animals making the most of the night hours. The park is cleverly lit with low lighting over the enclosures, flourescent paws marks on the paths to keep you on track and strategic lighting over information boards so you can still learn about the animals. Watching the animals that had been quietly slumbering in the heat of the day come to life in the darkness was a treat. Spotting them in the darkened exhibits was also fun.

The Zoo and Night Safari were both incredible experiences and next time we are in Singapore I will be making time for another visit.



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