I like zoos. If I’m exploring a city that has a zoo, I’m likely to visit it. Because animals, right? So on my brief visit to Singapore (I was doing a visa run to get a new visa in Thailand), Singapore Zoo was at the top of my list. I didn’t know much about it, but it’s one of the big ones you hear about isn’t it? I had to go.
And let me tell you, it’s not your average zoo.
Singapore zoo has an ‘open concept’ thing going on which means that all of the animals are out in the open in an environment as close to their natural habitats as possible. Ok that sounds like marketing jargon, so what does it actually mean? Well take the baboons for example – they’re not in a cage. Just chilling out out on their rock with their baboon buddies, taking it easy. Not a cage in sight. Just a couple metre long ditch between their hang-out and zoo visitors.
It’s a little weird at first, like why aren’t these animals getting out? I mean there’s lions and tigers and other more ferocious animals there without cages. Just a moat separating you from being their next meal. It’s not something you see every day is it? But they’re cool, no dramas.
And then there’s the Rainforest area they’ve created. This is an enclosure but it’s massive so it doesn’t feel closed in. And you can actually walk through it. The Treetops Trail let’s you walk through this recreated climate and get up close and personal with all sorts of animals, including free-ranging Lemurs. That will come right up to you. But it’s ok, they’re friendly.
The orang-utans are a pretty big deal at Singapore Zoo too, being the first in the world to create a free-ranging area for them. They pretty much have an adventure playground, so it’s entertaining to watch them. And if you wanted to go all out, and you’re a big fan of these guys, you can even have breakfast with the orang-utans… Ok, I wasn’t going to pay for that, backpacker budget and all, but if you’re a die-hard orang-utan fan then this is where you want to be.
There’s also some cool animal shows. I’m always wary of animals being forced to perform at zoos but I found Singapore Zoo to be legit. It didn’t feel like they were making the animals do anything and on a few occasions the animals didn’t comply, but it was no problem. The handlers let them go with it. The Elephants of Asia show was cool, check it out.
Separate to Singapore Zoo, but in the same location, is the Night Safari. You guessed it, it’s a safari at night. The idea is that you get to experience cool nocturnal animals as well as seeing the usual suspects after dark.
The main attraction is a Tram Safari that takes you around the park, talking you through the animals that you can (sort of) see. It’s very dark. You’re not allowed to take photos with a flash so I don’t have many photos from the Night Safari but it was cool. It was actually a little scary to be honest. You can hear hyenas cackling and bears roaring and it’s pitch black. Pretty eerie.
There’s also a few walking trails that you can do but when I went there was no-one else walking, everyone was on the tram, so again it was a little freaky walking around. Although we did hide behind a bush when the tram went past and tried to make animal noises to scare people. Soon realising that the only animal sounds we can make is that of a young kitten. Never mind, it was fun nonetheless!
There’s also a few shows at the Night Safari, but focused on nocturnal creatures. Very cool!
Anyway, what I’m saying in this post is that Singapore Zoo and the Night Safari are really cool. And if you’re visiting Singapore, you should definitely go check it out. It was definitely my fave day out in Singapore.
Have you visited either of these zoos? What did you think? Leave a comment below or tweet me @HeelsInBackpack!