Lush gardens and enclosures that use natural barriers instead of bars make the Singapore Zoo one of the most beautiful and modern in the world.
With more than 315 species including rare Southeast Asian animals like orang utans and Komodo dragons, it’s no wonder the Singapore Zoo attracts over 1.6 million visitors a year. Even if you don’t usually enjoy zoos, Singapore’s might change your mind with its open-concept exhibits and lush tropical grounds. Having visited a handful of times, here’s my advice for making the most of your visit.
It’s easy to spend a whole day at the zoo if you want to see it all. If you’ve only got half a day to spare, check the zoo website for itineraries that take in the highlights. If you’re bringing the kids a daypack with supplies is a must – insect repellent, sun block, hats, a camera (don’t forget extra batteries!), and snacks like granola bars. The zoo has lots of fun F&B outlets, but prices are double what you’d pay elsewhere. If you’re on budget, eat before you arrive. Remember to stay hydrated. With bottled drinks costing S$3 and up, save your money and the environment by buying one bottle then refilling it at drinking fountains – Singapore’s tap water is perfectly potable.
The zoo is huge. If you’re not wearing your best walking shoes, do your feet a favour and invest in a tram ticket. It costs an extra $5 for adults and $3 for kids, but it circles the whole zoo and you can hop-on and hop-off as much as you’d like.
Check the schedule. Kids will love “Splash Safari” featuring the sea lions and penguins and the Asian elephants prove they have brains and brawn during “Elephants at Work and Play”. Arrive early to get good seats and sit in the front for a chance to participate. Feeding times for less ferocious critters like giraffes and giant tortoises are also interactive. If the little ones are getting over-heated, cool off at Kidzworld. There may not be any animals, but the splash park is a guaranteed hit and included with zoo admission.
There are a few ways to get to the zoo. Public transportation is the cheapest and relatively straightforward: take the MRT to Ang Mo Kio station then transfer to bus #138. The combined fare is around S$3, but the bus portion alone takes 30 minutes. Alternatively, there’s a direct zoo bus that hits the major hotels along Orchard Road and Little India: one-way fare is $4 for adults and $2 for children. If you’ve got 3 or more people you may just want to take a taxi: the regular fare from Orchard Road is under S$15.
If you plan to take in more than one of Singapore’s trio of zoos (the Night Safari and Jurong Bird Park), buy a combined Park Hopper Ticket to save on admission fees.
How to get there
Public transit: Bus #138 from Ang Mo Kio MRT station or Bus #927 from Choa Chu Kang MRT
Shuttle bus: Service runs from hotels along Orchard Road to the zoo (one way S$4 Adults/S$2 Children). Check http://www.bushub.com.sg/ or call 6753 0506 for pick up times and locations.
By Tanya Procyshyn
Last updated on 3rd December, 2015.