Monday, March 17, 2014

Zoos in Singapore - Singapore Zoo

Previously, I have been to two zoos and even talked about them right here at Frenzeelo. They're the Jurong Bird Park and the recently published, River Safari. Now, I'm going to talk about the very first zoo in Singapore and also the very first one I have visited in my life which is the Singapore Zoo formerly known as the Singapore Zoological Gardens. In this article, I will talk about my experience at the Singapore Zoo when I visited the place in early January after my visit to the River Safari and I will also talk about the changes that took place since my last visit back in 2005.

Navigate your way around using trams

The Singapore Zoo is famous for using its internal tram service for the benefit of the visitors. I still remember the time when the trams used back then were sponsored by UPS and had this brown livery with animal prints. Now, the tram used is wider than the UPS-sponsored ones and they used unique liveries to represent different animals. During my visit back in January, I did not utilise the tram service as it costs additional money (back then it used to be included with the admission ticket and that the first stop was right at the entrance) plus it's much better to explore the Singapore Zoo on foot. Still, the tram is a great option if you don't have the mood to walk under the sweltering heat.

Various animal exhibits around the zoo

When walking around the Singapore Zoo, you'll find a wide variety of open-air animal exhibits which the zoo is well known for. It's great that at each exhibit, the homes for these animals look exactly like how their native homes look like. Most of the animals found here seem to be happy and they don't look stressed out. Happy animals mean happy visitors. Each and every exhibit also has informational boards to explain more about the animals along with their habits and what they eat.

The Polar Bear Exhibit

This is the exhibit where you can check out polar bears up close including the famous Inuka the Polar Bear. Just like the animal show stage that's located nearby, you can actually sit down and watch the polar bears do their thing. The benches here can also be used for you to rest on and some visitors even had their lunch there. At certain times of the day, there will be free polar bear shows held right here. It's cute to see a huge bear swimming inside the water and it's certainly a great exhibit to let children check out the bear in its full glory.

The Singapore Zoo Experience

I have not been to a zoo overseas before so I'm not so sure how the experience is like there but what I do know is that the Singapore Zoo is famous for its open zoo concept. Instead of the animals being locked up in cages, each and every exhibit has been modelled to look like the original homes of the animals. This is to ensure the animals' happiness and it also ensures that the animals are not constrained and restricted. Soon, zoos all around the world adopted the open zoo concept as well. If you're tired, plenty of benches and shelters (some air-conditioned with vending machines) located almost everywhere around the zoo which you can rest and relax in.

A wide range of animals at the Singapore Zoo

The Singapore Zoo is a great place for wildlife enthusiasts and children to learn more about the great wildlife. You can see polar bears, zebras, giraffes, pumas, tigers and so much more. It's a great educational place as well thanks to the wide range of informational boards that explains the animals and how important it is to conserve nature and to take care of endangered species. Some animals do roam freely to the point where they can be very very close to humans. Most of the time, these animals are usually harmless like the lemurs above and all you have to do is to just act normal and don't provoke them and touch them.

A place for children to hang around

The management behind the Singapore Zoo knows that children love to visit the Zoo so what they did was that they built a children's section in one part of the zoo called the Rainforest Kidzworld. There's a petting zoo, a KFC fast food restaurant, gift shops and a Ben and Jerry's Scoop Shop. Not only that, a big attraction of the Rainforest Kidzworld is the water park with lots of interesting water features perfect for cooling down after a hot day at the zoo.

The children's section looked totally different than the one I last saw back in the year 2005. The water play area was much smaller, there was a small attraction where children can ride on a train on a real set of tracks (though it's just one round around the children's section) and a playground where the slides were made out of circular cylinders so it's easy to slide down. There was a KFC restaurant and a Ben and Jerry's Scoop Shop too back then but they looked totally different now. Although the children's corner now looks much better, I kinda missed the old one but they did manage to preserve the train which is now beautifully decorated with flowers and plants.

This is how the water play area and the petting zoo look like. The water play area is much bigger than the one I last saw back in 2005 and it looks more fun too. The petting zoo on the other hand looks really cool although I did not see it when I last visited the place back in 2005. It's a perfect attraction for children who want to get up close and interact with these cute and furry animals. You will also have the chance to feed them too at certain times of the day. Although the petting zoo can be a little bit on the smelly side, at least it's all natural and you have the chance of petting them up close. There was another part of the petting zoo where you can feed rabbits and play with them as well. This part of the Singapore Zoo is certainly a must-visit if you have children and if you're young-at-heart, it's suitable for you too.

Walking along the Singapore Zoo

Walking around the Singapore Zoo is kinda like walking along a public park. There are tons of pavements and roads that allow you to walk around freely and not only that, there are also plenty of trees and plantations all around the Zoo to give it that natural jungle look. Although it's not a regular public road, you still have to be careful as there will be maintenance vehicles and zoo trams going around the roads when you're walking. 

There are also tons of food establishments in the zoo itself so that you can grab yourself a snack or have a nice breakfast or lunch. Some examples include the already-mentioned KFC fast food restaurant and Ah Meng Restaurant, a fast casual restaurant that serves a wide variety of local and wildlife themed dishes. The restaurant's name was named in honour of the late iconic orangutan who lived in Singapore Zoo, Ah Meng. There's also a Cheers convenience store at the entrance just in case you want to grab yourself some snacks and drinks to consume while inside the zoo. Yes, eating and drinking outside food is allowed in the zoo except for restricted areas. Oh and please please please do not feed the animals while in the zoo. You can get fined.

More interesting stuff found at the Singapore Zoo

While walking around the Singapore Zoo, I have also spotted the world's largest flower known as the Rafflesia. Although, I believe the one that I saw at the zoo was a fake one. The Rafflesia flower is a very large flower and it's very very smelly. Personally, I have not encountered the Rafflesia flower before but what I do know is that the flower stinks and it reeks of bad rotten meat. Totally doesn't sound like an innocent flower but it's still very cool indeed and the flower can mainly be found in the forests of Malaysia.

Apart from that, I also spotted a family of elephants heading somewhere with the assistance of some zookeepers. Most probably, they were heading back home (I think) as it was closing time anyway. The elephants seen here were mostly from Asia which makes it even more special and unique. It's too bad that I did not enter the elephant exhibit and by the time I passed by the area, it was already closed.

The Upper Seletar Reservoir

Once you're at a certain point of the Singapore Zoo, you'll be able to spot this beautiful sight of the Upper Seletar Reservoir and the forests that surround the reservoir. There's also a small flower garden and a shelter for you to rest in and take a very nice and relaxing view of the reservoir. Apart from the zoo exhibits, there was also a stage where you can watch animal shows as well for free. I'm not sure what shows were available though but I did watch one back during my visit in 2002 where it involved a skilled zookeeper playing tricks with highly trained animals. Not only that, you'll also have the chance of feeding the animals at certain timings at certain animal exhibits. All rhese activities make the zoo experience even better.


Overall, my visit to the Singapore Zoo has been an excellent and a nostalgic one. My first visit to the zoo was in 2002. In fact, I visited the zoo quite a few times during my primary school days and my last visit was probably in 2007 in a school trip. Now in 2014, a lot has changed and it has become better than before. Of course, some things still stayed the same though like the placements of the exhibits, the tram (although it looked different during my visit in 2002) and the walking trail (pavements and zoos) around the zoo and some of the food kiosks. The Singapore Zoo is indeed the best place to go to during the school holidays with the young ones. Now, I actually am kind of tired of the Singapore Zoo so I want to actually visit the Night Safari which hopefully will come true soon. The Singapore Zoo is a perfect way to spend the holidays and it's no wonder it's considered a Singapore icon.

Getting Here

Bus services available: 138, 927 (bus stop along Mandai Lake Road outside Singapore Zoological Gardens)

Nearest MRT Station: NS16 Ang Mo Kio MRT Station (North South Line) & NS4/BP1 Choa Chu Kang MRT Station (North South Line/Bukit Panjang LRT Line) TRANSFER TO BUS SERVICES 138 AND 927

View Larger Map


  1. Very informative article. Your post helped me to have clear insight about the tourist places in Singapore. It helped me to plan my tour well in advance. Can u please update more details on Singapore Zoo Ticket Price


  2. Thanks for the good posting this information. I have read your article briefly.

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