River Safari was the third park at the Singapore Zoo’s main property (Jurong Bird Park is located elsewhere on the island) and just as lovely as the other two zoo parks. Centered around a concept of visiting the world’s largest and most famous rivers, River Safari provides a glimpse into numerous important world ecosystems, the animals who call each respective river region home, and the people for whom the particular provides sustenance, transportation, religious ceremony, and historical accounts & myths.
Seeing a vast amount of river regions at once allows for an interesting comparison between species from similar family groups and I found this to be especially true for the crocodilians, alligators, and cousins. Rationally, it is not a hard concept to grasp that a pygmy crocodile has a different nose shape than does an Indian Gharial but seeing two in exhibits not too far from each allows a different sort of insight entirely. It was also fascinating to see in person for the first time a number of animals we had learned about years ago on the River Monsters television program. The (alleged) man-eating catfish on the Ganges being a prime example.
Two exhibits stood out as being especially well done: the exhibit for the pandas, red pandas, and golden pheasant, and the Amazon flooded forest ecosystem. In both exhibits, the themeing was brilliant, the grounds especially gorgeous, and the educational materials top-notch. I felt as both Rose and I came away not only with a plethora of new information but also with some new learning desires kindled and project work to enjoy in the weeks and months to come. River Safari provided an “intellectual refreshment” of sorts through its unique concept and fantastic exhibits.
Before I close this post, I must also mention the food. The food at the zoos was quite tasty, but River Safari took the prize for cute food with the koala-ity breakfast and the panda-licious steamed bun. Sorry, I couldn’t resist some cheesiness there. ;)
If you ever have the chance to venture to Singapore, I highly recommend checking out at least one their beautiful zoos. I cannot think of a zoo that comes close to the beauty of the Singapore Zoological Parks…and I’ve been to zoos all across the United States!
Singapore is home to Night Safari, the world’s first nocturnal zoo. Here you can find an assortment of night loving creatures from bats and sugar gliders, to big cats and crocodiles, to hyenas and human fire dancers. ;)
Lushly landscaped with a wide assortment of native plants, the walking paths envelope you in a rain-forest world where you can easily imagine yourself coming across these amazing creatures in the wild. The roar of lions ran through the park, the moon lit up the night sky, and the smell of tropical fruits on the menu for many creatures perfumed the air. All of the exhibits were fantastic, just like the main zoo, but a few stood out. Walking through an enclosed forest with Malay flying fox fruit bats–one of my favorite animals–was one of these moments, and seeing a fishing cat stalk its prey was another. The sight of the hyena, so close, so intimidating, yet safely away was breathtaking. Perhaps most special of all was witnessing Rose’s delight at seeing one of her best loved animals, the pangolin, in person for the very first time.
We ended the night with the fire dancers show and vowed that one day we will see such a show properly somewhere on a tropical beach.