On the third day of our holiday, we planned to have a break from site seeing in the city and visit the Singapore Zoo instead. The weather was meant to be perfect and Octavia was really excited to see all the animals.
Before we made our way to the zoo we thought we would have breakfast close to our hotel. I found it hard to find any cafes that were opened before 10am. Luckily attached to our hotel there an arcade with some restaurants and cafes. This is where we found the cafe Killiney Kopitiam.
This Hainanese coffee shop was originally opened in 1919 in Killiney Road, in the River Valley district of the city. It was known for its famous charcoal- grilled toast and hot coffees and teas. It was bought by a regular customer, Mr Woon in 1993, renamed and later franchised in 2001. You can now find Killiney Kopitiam locations throughout Singapore, Asia and even in Melbourne, Australia. They offer classic Singaporean breakfast sets, such as kaya toast, french toast, soft boiled eggs and chee cheong fun. They also offer classic dishes including Chicken Curry, Mee Siam, Laksa etc.
For breakfast, I had a Kaya Toast set which included soft boiled eggs and Chinese Tea. Marco had the French Toast set with eggs and Kopi. This was my first time ordered kaya toast and I really liked it. The kaya was delicious and tasted like a coconut custard and the butter was nice and thick and melted nicely between the toast. My Chinese tea was also very nice and tasted like English Breakfast. Marco also liked his French Toast which is a nice variation.
After breakfast, we took an Uber to the Singapore Zoo. We thought about taking the metro, but it only cost $20 for the car trip and only took 30 minutes instead of an hour. The zoo is actually quite far from the city and located in the top of the Central Water Catchment district. This area also includes other attractions such as the Night Safari, River Safari, Jurong Bird Park and the Nature Reserve. You can actually do more than one attraction on the same day, but we decided with a toddler it wasn’t the best idea. Years ago, we did do the Night Safari in the evening after visiting the zoo but it is a long day after being out in the heat all day.
We found the best place to buy the tickets for the zoo was on the Klook website/app. We were able to bring our phones with the tickets on the app to get the tickets redeemed when we arrived. We also arrived nice and early which is best if you want to avoid the queues and optimise your time in case of bad weather. If you have kids you can hire strollers or a wagon. We got the wagon which was great to drag Octavia and the big bags around the zoo.
The Singapore Zoo covers 26 hectares of land along the Upper Seletar Reservoir. It features over 2800 animals of 300 different species. They also have 28% endangered species. The animals have spacious landscapes that are similar their natural habitat. The zoo also hosts four different shows and has numerous activities. All around its a pretty great zoo and probably one of my favourites.
The Rainforest Courtyard (near the entrance) has many great spots of photo opportunities with your family and friends. In fact, throughout the park, there are statues of animals which are perfect for this. In the courtyard, you can also find Cotton Top Tamarin and Ring-tailed Lemurs in the small trees. Nearby you can find the Proboscis Monkeys and some turtles.
Next, we visited The Land of Giants, which is a garden walkthrough with minuscule invertebrates gets mega-sized. We came across different types of ants, spiders, butterflies and other creepy crawlies. Each one had a little plaque telling you a bit about them and a life-size example. This was very exciting for Octavia and a nice walk through for us.
Afterwards, we made our way through the Treetop Trails and Frozen Tundra. The trails replicate the rainforest environment, which showing you animals from different layers of the forest. The frozen zone is quite a small area, about the size of 2.5 basketball courts. This showcases a polar bear, racoon dogs and wolverines. Unfortunately, most of these guys were running around too much to get a good shot.
It was now time for all the animal shows to begin. Our first was the Splash Safari, showcasing a Californian sea lion. I have seen plenty of these shows but they are always great to see how fast they can swim and how obedient they are fishy treats.
The next show was the Animal Friends, at Rainforest Kidzworld zone. This show was unusual as it showcased common household pets and creatures, which don’t usually much mention in zoos. Marco wasn’t too excited about this one, but Octavia quite enjoyed this one. Other kids were able to get involved in the fun with the animals, which was nice to see.
The last show we saw was this day was the Elephants at Work and Play. These Asian elephants and their mahouts put a great show with their humorous banter with the presenter. Although the elephants did perform few tricks they were still treated with respect, unlike other shows I’ve seen. Elephants are always great to watch so we enjoyed this one.
There was one more show, the Rainforest Fights Back, which we didn’t make it too. We wanted to get some lunch by this time and were busy seeing the rest of the park when the second showing was on.
So there are many food options at the Singapore Zoo. At the entry, there are six different outlets. These Inuka Cafe and Ah Meng Kitchen, which both serve up local Singaporean favourite dishes. For Western foods, you can dine at KFC, Chawang Bistro or the Wild Deli. All of these food outlets at the entrance open quite early so you could actually have breakfast here. Inside the zoo there is the Ah Meng Restaurant, Ah Meng Bistro (snacks and buffet) and KFC. All of which offer Singaporean and Western foods. You can also do the Jungle Breakfast with Wildlife at Ah Meng Restaurant, however, it is a bit costly and only 20 visitors a day can do this.
I was really interested eating something local and Ah Meng Restaurant was the most convenient place to have lunch since it is in the centre of the zoo. Ah Meng Restaurant is more of a hawker centre with seven different vendors offering a variety of cuisines. We decided to go with the Kampung Delights. I had the Nasi Lemak with Sambal Fish and Marco had the same with Curry Chicken. Octavia shared with me and also had a blended tropical juice from the Fruity Corner. The food was actually really good and fresh. I loved every element of this dish, it was just so good.
Next, we made our way through Australasia and came across some familiar friends. All were from Australian, except the Tree Kangaroos are from Papua New Guinea.
Next, we went through the small zone, Great Rift of Ethiopia. This area features animals from Ethiopia and also a recreation of dwelling huts typical from Konso and Amharic Villages. There is also an example of the skeleton of Lucy, the Australopithecus. We didn’t get to see many of the animals from this area as they were hiding in their enclosures.
The Primate Kingdom was right nearby and hosts a few different monkey species that are house high up in their tree houses. They were a little tricky to spot but most were taking it easy.
Next, we made our way to the Tortoise Shelter, where the Giant Tortoise were having their lunch. Nearby are different types of turtles and some komodo dragon. There was also a Sun bear. I’m not really sure why the Sun bear is in this area since he’s not part of the Reptile or part of the African zone. He may be here since it’s behind the Orangutan Island, and the orangutans are also Asian. The orangutans are free range, like most of the primate species in the zoo. He was having his lunch just above as and dropping it below.
Reptopia is an enclosed building with over 60 species of reptiles and amphibians. They are split into four geographical zones in multispecies displays. I didn’t see all of them but I did see many interesting species.
The Fragile Forest is a 20,000 cubic metre biodome that is close by, which mimics a tropical rainforest environment. Besides the frogs and insects, the rest of the animals move freely in this open space. Including the monkeys which weren’t as timid as the rest of the animals.
Octavia was getting a bit restless by now, so we promised to take her back to Rainforest Kidzworld. She wasn’t able to have a pony ride, but she did get a chance to meet one, get wet in the water play area and have a carousel ride. In this area, you can also find the KFC, Ben and Jerry’s and another cafe.
Lastly, we visited Wild Africa, which is probably the largest zone in the zoo. This is probably because these animals need the most space. Probably the highlight of this zone were the rhinos, who put on quite a show. They were running circles around the enclosure and two had a head-butting challenge. I think they must of been so hyperactive because they knew it was about to rain. Sure enough it poured shortly after.
I hope you liked my little tour of Singapore Zoo. It was a fun family day out at this amazing zoo and lovely to see how excited my daughter would get seeing different animals.
My favourite things about the Singapore zoo is the great respect shown to the animals and conservation efforts; the comprehensive information plaques; the great food options and of course the variety of animals.