This is an account of one of my unusual birthday celebrations. This is the first time I’ve celebrated my birthday in another country, let alone in a zoo.
I’ve always wanted to see various exotic animals so I wouldn’t miss a trip to the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari. We availed of the 2-in-1 Park Hopper package. We were already at the zoo by 10AM to maximize time. For more info about Singapore Zoo, visit http://www.zoo.com.sg/.
We strategically scheduled our visit to Singapore Zoo on my birthday. Why, you ask? It’s because Singapore Zoo (and Night Safari) offers FREE admission to guests visiting on their birthdays. I just presented my passport for them to verify my date of birth and voila, they gave me an SG Zoo Wild Birthday badge. That’s a $42.00 (Php1,400.00) value absolutely free! It also comes with a complimentary ice cream scoop and 10% discount on all retail and food and beverage counters inside the zoo. I’m such a sucker for freebies and discounts.
I can categorize our Singapore Zoo experience in two types: animal sight-seeing and animal shows.
For the animal sight-seeing, you will not be disappointed with the number of species showcased inside the zoo. Elephants, rhinos, zebras, giraffes, lions, tigers, snakes, turtles and all sorts of monkeys are there. You name them, they’ve got them. The only significant species missing at the zoo were the Pandas (though by this time, the Pandas are already at the SG Zoo). The animals are strategically categorized in different zones inside the zoo. For example, giraffes, lions and cheetahs are placed in Wild Africa while the Orang Utans, baboons and other monkeys are located in Primate Kingdom. You get the point. Here are a number of animal photos we managed to get while roaming around the zoo.
We had lunch at Ah Meng, one of the restos inside the zoo. We ordered Singapore’s famous chicken rice (both steamed and grilled variants). The food was generally delicious and was fairly priced. I also had the chance to avail of the 10% discount and also availed my free scoop of Walls ice cream. Kaye also bought a scoop of Ben and Jerry’s for us to share.
Other highlights of the zoo are the animal shows (Splash Safari, Animal Friends Show, Elephants at Work and Play and Rainforest Fights Back). For show time schedules and venues, click here.
This was the first show we watched after entering the zoo. The show is basically sealed (pun intended). But seriously, this show showcases the talents of a young sea-lion that does crazy balancing acts and acrobatic feats. He can swim pretty fast too. Beware not to get too close to the water though as you may get wet. He can get very excited (and mischievous) at times.
Elephants at Work and Play
Best animal show on the zoo. The elephants are so darn smart and they actually have a pretty good sense of humor. They do all these various comedic skits, showing-off in front of the live audience. The elephant handlers also did their job well, balancing the showmanship aspect while highlighting the true stars of the show. Just be sure to go to the venue earlier because there are limited seats. We were standing during the entire duration of the show.
We were lucky enough to have time to watch all shows. The Rainforest Fights Back is good but if you’re short of time, you may skip this as this tends to be a long show. Words of Caution: If you do not have kids and don’t have precious time to spare, DO NOT watch the Animal Friends Show. We were kicking ourselves in the head after the show for deciding to watch. Haha.
We actually finished all the shows and animal zones before 4PM. But since the Night Safari restaurants won’t open until 5:30PM, we just strolled around the zoo, bought some refreshment and took additional photos.
The Night Safari is located beside Singapore Zoo. The attraction opens at 7:30PM but the retail and F&B outlets open as early as 5:30PM. For more info about the Night Safari, visit http://www.nightsafari.com.sg/.
We were already hungry by 6PM so we decided to have early dinner at Bongo Burgers. I had the Bongo Beef Burger while Kaye had the BBQ Chicken Burger. Both burgers cost $12.90 each. A bit expensive but worth the money.
Bongo Burgers had one of the better tasting burgers I’ve ever tasted mainly because of the big and juicy patty. To accompany the good food, the Thumbuakar Performance was underway, strutting their fire-spitting skills and loud growling. The fire show went on for about 20 minutes. They have scheduled performances throughout the evening.
After eating, we hurried for the queue for the Creatures of the Night show. The crowd was very heavy since it was a Saturday that we had to walk very fast while facing the sea of people to secure good seats at the amphitheater. Creatures of the Night was quite good as it showcased nocturnal animals that are rarely seen. The show lasts for about 20 minutes and was generally entertaining.
However, I was greatly dismayed by some guests that didn’t obey the “No Flash Photography” rule even though it was repeated over and over again and in different languages. The bright camera flashes have hazardous effects on the nocturnal animals since they are not well-adjusted to bright surroundings. I hope they implement stricter rules regarding this issue and actually impose sanctions to misbehaving tourists.
After the show, we hurried again to the queue for the Tram Safari. It took us about 45 minutes of waiting before we rode our tram due to the volume of tourists. The tram ride lasts for about 40 minutes and provides a guided tour around the different zones of Night Safari featuring nocturnal animals, some of which are not found in other zoos. Kaye thought it was a bit eerie since the Tram Safari trail was dark though I didn’t really mind that. Again, there is a “No Flash Photography” rule so please do follow the zoo guidelines.
After the tram ride, we decided to go back to Rucksack Inn (that’s a 1-hour bus ride) to rest and prepare for the next day ahead. And that was the wrap for my 25th birthday celebration. I wonder where I’ll be celebrating my 26th? Hmmm. You’ll find out soon. -rod-
For my Universal Studios Singapore blog post, click here.