The husband planned a day out on my birthday two weeks ago and we started off with an outing to the River Safari in the morning which I was really excited about as I hadn’t been there since its soft opening in April 2013. And it was really a good time to visit the park then as all the exhibits and boat ride were up and running so we could enjoy a really comprehensive tour.
The River Safari is nestled between the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari and features Southeast Asia’s largest panda exhibit as well as the world’s largest freshwater aquarium.
(This blog post contains photos that could be ‘spoilers’ if you haven’t been to the River Safari so advance at your own risk, haha!)
We reached the park around 8.45am on a Friday morning and there wasn’t any queue at all at the ticketing booth so ticket purchase was a breeze. We managed to book the first Amazon River Quest Boat Ride at 10.00am (this is complimentary!) too so remember to do the same when you’re there buying tickets.
The River Safari opened its doors at 9.00am so we had some time to explore the zoo entrance area for some photo-taking, at the same time, to try out my new camera which the husband had gotten me for my birthday.
Since my birthday coincided with the festive season too, there were traces of Chinese New Year decorations and flowers around the park.
While the recommended route was to head left when we entered the park, we decided to go right instead so we could spend about an hour exploring the right hand side of the park before going for the boat ride which was also located on the right side. Below is the park map from River Safari for reference. Click on the map to enlarge.
Moving on to the world’s largest freshwater aquarium that showcases the annual flooding of the Amazon rainforest…
Back to the outdoors…to the Squirrel Monkey Forest…
Perfectly on time for the boat ride.
The whole boat ride took about 10 minutes. We didn’t manage to spot all the animals such as the Brazilian tapir, two-toed sloth or maned wolf as they were hiding somewhere, sleeping away. Word of caution – you might get a little wet during the boat ride! Before you head down to River Safari, just make sure you check up the boat ride closure dates here.
Entering the Giant Panda Forest…
The temperature within this bio-dome was kept at between 18-22 deg C to simulate the pandas’ natural habitat so it was really nice and cooling in here. No wonder Kai Kai could sleep with his legs open wide! And he was so soundly asleep that he didn’t even stir a bit. Bliss!
Including the 10-minute boat ride and a 20-minute tea break at the Mama Panda Kitchen, the entire tour of the park took us just under 2.5 hours to complete. Before we left, we stopped by the manatees area again and saw this manatee airing his belly. Cute!
The park wasn’t huge but I liked the way it was built as viewing of the exhibits was in a one-way direction (whether you go left or right from the entrance) so we wouldn’t miss out anything or do any detour unlike being in the Zoo next door. The exhibits were categorised by the different rivers of the world such as Mekong, Yangtze, Ganges, Congo & more so it was quite a journey of discovery to see the land or aquatic animals living in each respective river region. Most of these exhibits were aquarium-based and it was pretty amazing to get up close and personal with some aquatic creatures that we don’t normally see elsewhere like the piranhas or giant catfish. The tour might be short but it was definitely an eye-opening experience for me.
80 Mandai Lake Road
Tel: (65) 6269 3411
Opening hours: 9.00am to 6.00pm daily
$25 (per adult)
$16 (per child aged 3-12)
$12 (per senior citizen aged 60 & above)