Yours was over at the Singapore Zoo a couple of years ago for the 3rd time or so… Among the many zoos in the world I have been to, Singapore Zoo reigns supreme in my heart, surpassing yes, even the San Diego Zoo (back in those times when I visited it) and also London Zoo… other notable zoos I have visited would include the Dublin Zoo, Belfast Zoo, Rotterdam Zoo, Perth Zoo, Beijing Zoo, and of course, our own local zoos, Zoo Negara, Melaka Zoo and Taiping Zoo….
And before you say anything, I cannot help it.. I do love looking at animals…something my daughter inherited from me…
Singapore Zoo has always been one of my most favorite zoos.. and it would also be because there were two totally different zoos back then, the Singapore Zoo and the Night Safari, unlike our local zoos kinda pathetic attempts at creating their night safari by adding lights and opening the same day zoo at night…and yes, now there are three different zoos in one area, since the River Safari opened….
The River Safari was designed to be a “River-Themed” Wildlife Park where the animals and attractions were mostly “river dwelling” animals with perhaps the exception of the giant pandas….
The River Safari is divided into the Rivers of the World, Wild Amazonia and the Giant Pandas exhibit. The 12 hectare River Safari is located right in the middle from the Singapore Zoo entrance and the Night Safari entrance showcasing fishes, reptiles, birds and mammals from eight iconic river habitats around the world.
It is somewhat V shape with the entrance of River Safari at the pointed end but designed in a loop so you can just start your journey any way… Get a map from the counter… I forgot to get a map and I was just so thrilled to be there and somehow ended up entering the River Safari the wrong way…huhuh
The Rivers Of The World is supposed to be the beginning of the loop while the Amazon Flooded Forest is at the end of it.
However since I took the right turn (you are suppose to start on the left) I ended up at Wild Amazonia and the Amazon Flooded Forest first where the Manatees and Araipaima are, and oh wow… what a sight to behold!!!! My daughter was also slack jawed as she watched those huge manatees glide and swim gracefully in what is the largest freshwater aquarium ..
From watching the manatees from the top, you will walk to what seem like a cavern… and the view there is simply magnificent. There are places to sit and you can almost imagine you are underwater with the manatee, red-tailed catfish and arapaimas passing you by…
Take a look above and you will see a glass ceiling with river stingrays above you….
You will also be passing by some much smaller aquarium containing electric eels, and red bellied pirahnas, and other Amazonian fishes..
From the Amazon Flooded Forest, you will head to an underwater tunnel, where you could see the giant river otters, happily swimming around and showing off their swimming styles… We did not actually see them in the water when we were in the tunnel but we saw them at the overground viewing gallery frolicking around and playing…
From there we headed to the Squirrel Monkey Forest… Outside the forest is a huge enclosure with Green anacondas though… I counted…3 or was it 4 of that huge reptiles there….
There are a couple of black howler monkeys and a bigger number of squirrel monkeys clambering all over the place in the forest and you can really get really close to them but you are warned not to touch them or even the railings along the pathway or use flash photography on them. No worries but there will be a couple of park rangers there to keep both you and the monkeys safe.. hahaha
From the Squirrel Monkey Forest, we passed by the Silver Arowana and the Emperor monkeys, my daughter called them the “Tok Jangguts” as these monkeys have very long white moustaches Wak Doyok (a Malaysian celebrity) here would be jealous off… hahaha
From there, we headed to the River Safari Cruise… now.. this 15 minutes River Safari cruise is just more of a leisure cruise to enjoy nature’s peace and tranquility or we might call it the giraffe cruise…around the Upper Seletar reservoir as I hardly saw any animals except for perhaps the giraffes… and well, we got to check out and almost touch the giraffe’s tail hair and their poop…. Hahah
Then we headed to the Amazon River Quest…and this was one helluva interesting ride… the boat you are in is lifted one floor up… and from there, your ride begins….
With wild boars, monkeys, a Giant Anteater, Brazilian Tapir and passing the magnificent Jaguar, some flamingos, Capybara …..
From there, we crossed over the very long bridge to the other side of the park…where the Giant Pandas were…
But first, be sure to say hi to the adorable red panda…
You will get to meet Kai Kai first. We were amused with Kai Kai who could not decide if he wanted to nap or eat.. and was lying on his back munching his bamboo….
And we got to meet the shy Jia Jia who looked at us for a bit before disappearing into a more her cave…
From there, we headed to the River Trails… from the Yangtze River where we saw the huge Yangtze Alligator, Sturgeon and oh my gawd… the humongous Chinese Giant Salamander.. From there we head to the Mekong River…. Did you know the Mekong is the world’s 12th longest river and stretches through Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and China. It is also home to the Mekong Giant Catfish, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish.
There is a three-metre tall viewing gallery provides visitors with an underwater perspective of these Mekong Giant Catfish. These freshwater fish can grow up to 3.2 metres in length and 300 kg in weight. Thoughtfully located seating provides a spot to take in the view of these river monsters swimming back and forth.
You can past by an enclosure of crab-eating long-tailed macaques, errr… somewhat like or is it are they actually the same macaques you find around Malaysia in Batu Caves, and so on…. Except that these ones can swim… or can the monkeys back here in Malaysia swim… maybe I should try catching one and throwing it the river and see if it swims or not…
The touch pool was fun as my daughter got to touch the huge chocolate chip starfish and also the horseshoe crab…and was joined by a tyrannosaurus rex… hahahah
The Mary River zone which will soon house freshwater fish such as the archerfish and lungfish.
Then we can take a little trip to the banks of India’s sacred river where you cannot miss the Indian gharial and their distinctive upturned snouts.
From there we take a trip to the two most famous African rivers – the Nile and the Congo. Look out for the African tigerfish, with their scary sharp teeth, swimming around as well as the Congo Tetra and Giant Puffer Fishes……
Watch out for the cute dwarf crocodile at the Congo zone. These crocs rarely exceed 1.6 metres in length. From above the waterline, you may have to look quite closely in order to see their two bulging eyes squinting out of the water.
The last or actually the first river system that visitors encounter if they went the right way is of course, the fame Mississippi River. Here you can meet the moody and bad tempered creatures….. snapping turtle, the alligator gar and the endangered paddlefish… hahahah……
The River Safari is open daily from 9am to 6pm.
Address: 80, Mandai Lake Road, Singapore 729826
Getting there: Take MRT to Ang Mo Kio Station and head to the Ang Mo Kio Bus Interchange and take Bus 138!!
For more info, check out: www.riversafari.com.sg