Aligators, zebras and lions, oh my!
…and crocodiles, pandas, beavers, squirrel monkeys, anacondas, otters, stingrays, eels, manatees, babirusas, tigers, giraffes, gibbons, flamingos, hippos, polar bears, rhinos, cheetahs, leopards, mole rats, meerkats, snakes, monkeys, orangutans, penguins, bears, tortoises, elephants, kangaroos, wallabys, emus and sealions.
Yup, I went to the zoo today!
When I was thinking of coming to Singapore I asked several people what to do when I got there.
They always said two things: there isn’t much to do there but if you go, go to the zoo.
Even though for some inane reason the man at the hostel steered me away from going to the zoo, I went anyway.
Not only did he suggest I not go to the zoo but he didn’t have proper directions to get there. I knew the MRT line ran up to where the zoo was but he said it would be a $5 cab ride from the MRT station.
In fact, bus #138 goes straight from the Ang Mo Kio MRT station to the zoo. There’s even big signs for it when you get off the MRT.
I boarded the MRT around 10:30am and was on my way.
I’ve noticed that with most of the MRT stations, when you exit the station you usually end up in a mall. Not some little strip mall but actual multi-story huge malls.
The station I got off at was no different so I took the opportunity to stop at their food court to get myself a breakfast sandwich to eat there and a Subway sub to take away for later.
Sound advice, by the way, as the pricing for food at the Zoo is much more expensive.
Everything here in Singapore is much more structured. There are signs on the MRT displaying the penalties for eating on transit (a whopping $500) and smoking (even more crazy $1000).
There are organized queues for the bus and once on board you are reminded of the bylaws to not only pay the correct fare and not to vandalize but also not to assault the bus driver!
At noon I arrived at the Zoo.
There are a few options. You can either just go to the zoo for $28 or you can combine it with their Night Safari and/or their River Safari.
I chose to also go to the River Safari so my total price was $50.
I asked the man at the counter how long each would take and he said 2 hours for the River Safari and 4 hours for the Zoo.
Now usually when people quote times I take off some time from their estimate as I tend to go quicker through things than the average tourist.
Not this time though.
He was actually amazingly accurate as I did in fact take 2 hours and 4 hours to finish both places.
I went to the River Safari first.
Inside the big complex there are open air areas for some animals, tanks for the creatures from the sea, and an enclosed building for the pandas.
The red panda, a much smaller (and cuter) cousin to the more well known black and white panda, was a hit with everyone including me. I must have spent a good half hour just watching it and trying to get a great photo as it ran around its’ enclosure.
I actually spent alot of time trying to get a good photo of each of the animals I would come across today. It was hard alot of time because, you know, they just won’t stay still and pose! Go figure!
In fact I took over 400 photos today but when I went back and looked them over, I ended up with only 250. Still a huge amount of photos but it shows you how many blurry or out of frame photos I did take.
I also went through 2 batteries for my camera – the first time I’ve ever done that.
Another hit with everyone was the crocodile that was swimming back and forth across the glass enclosure. People would walk around the corner and let out a whoa! when they saw it. It looked menacing with its’ exposed teeth in its’ long mouth.
Of course I took a selfie with it.
There were many more creatures lurking in the River Safari area including beavers (Canada got mentioned), squirrel monkeys (so cute as a dozen or so were swinging back and forth amoungst the trees), anacondas, otters, piranhas, stingrays, eels, and manatees.
At 2pm I left the River Safari and walked next door to where the zoo was. I stopped first for lunch and to get off my feet for awhile.
My legs were already hurting and I still had a long walk ahead of me.
I can’t remember the last time I was at a zoo. It surely would have been when I was very young so this was basically a whole new world opened up to me.
When I turned down the lane and saw the zebras, my eyes lit up and I smiled from ear to ear. My smile didn’t stop as next door were the giraffes and then the leopards and lions and, oh my God, it was so beautiful.
I was seeing these creatures for the first time in my life (or at least since I was very young) and it was astounding.
As I went from animal to animal I kept telling myself I had so made the right decision to come here.
Not only come to the zoo but to come to Singapore.
If just for the zoo – come to Singapore. It’s not as crazy expensive as you think it’s going to be and, sure, there’s malls everywhere but just go to the zoo. It will make you feel like a kid again.