The Singapore Zoo is often regarded as one of the best zoos in the world, and a day here is an absolute must for families visiting Singapore. Set in a natural rainforest environment, the Singapore Zoo is a model example of an ‘open zoo’ concept. Old-fashioned oppressive cages are notably absent, and in their place animals dwell in spacious, landscaped enclosures separated from visitors by concealed moats, or in glass-fronted enclosures. Do not miss the free-ranging orang utan enclosure, where you can watch the resident primates swinging and climbing above you to their hearts content.
There is an enormous amount to take in here – 2,530 animals from 315 species are housed within the 28 hectares, so here are our best Singapore Zoo tips to help you get the most out of your visit, particularly if you are visiting with kids in tow.
Get there Early
The best time to visit Singapore Zoo is when it opens at 8.30am – especially at weekends when it gets BUSY! The crowds don’t usually start to appear en masse until late morning, so if you can get here for opening, you can have done the majority of the park and be cooling off in the water park by the time the other exhibits get crowded. I would suggest buying tickets online before you go to avoid queues at the ticket counters for the same reason (although if you arrive early enough there aren’t usually any queues).
Breakfast with the Orang utans
Another reason the best time to visit Singapore Zoo is opening time, is that one of the highlights of a visit here is having breakfast with the orang utans. The Jungle Breakfast with Wildlife takes place in Ah Meng Restaurant every morning from 9am – 10.30am. A generous breakfast buffet is laid on, and the orang utans usually swing by for some breakfast of their own and to pose for photos with the crowd around 9.30am.
Buy discount tickets for the Jungle Breakfast with wildlife online at Klook Travel here.
Feed the Animals
There are various feeding times throughout the day at Singapore Zoo, which are accompanied by live commentary of fun facts about the animals. With a few of these, you can join in with feeding the animals too, including the elephants, giraffes, goats and white rhino. One of my best Singapore Zoo tips is not to miss these, the kids will love it! Check the website for feeding times. Another feeding time highlight is Inuka the Polar Bear at the Frozen Tundra, even though you can’t get involved with the actual feeding. Times for this change, so check when you arrive at the zoo to make sure you don’t miss out.
As with all tourist attractions of this type, the dining options at the Singapore Zoo tend to offer average food at above-average prices. We usually arrive at the zoo early, bring snacks for the kids to keep them going, and then leave in time to grab lunch back in town somewhere. However, if you do want to eat at Singapore Zoo, there are several options.
Singapore Zoo have recently revamped their entrance, and there are now a few dining options here, including the Ah Meng Kitchen, which serves up local favourites, the Chawang Bistro for hot dogs, pasta and soups, and the Wild Deli for sandwiches and pastries. Within the zoo itself, you are really limited to KFC (next to the water play area in Rainforest Kidzworld) or the Ah Meng Restaurant, which serves a selection of local and western dishes. Safari Scoops dishes up ice cream at a few locations, including the entrance, Rainforest Kidzworld and the Ah Meng Restaurant.
Watch the Shows
There are four fun shows to watch at the Singapore Zoo, each show with both a morning and afternoon session. The Splash Safari stars a Californian sea lion, who will wow you with his Frisbee-catching and ball skills, while the Elephants at Work and Play show demonstrates the gentle giant’s ability to both work hard and have some cheeky fun. At the Rainforest Fights Back, you are introduced to otters, snakes, macaws, lemurs and spider monkeys, while the Animal Friends show features the more familiar dogs, cats and cockatoos. All the shows are great fun, and informative so try to fit in at least a couple during your day (our favourites are the Splash Safari and Elephants at Work and Play).
Bring your Swimming Gear
It is hot and humid in the rainforest, and you will surely work up a sweat walking around the zoo. Luckily there is a great water-play area in Rainforest Kidzworld, complete with water fountains, water slides, water guns and the jumbo water bucket that releases a deluge of water on everyone’s heads at regular intervals. So another of my Singapore Zoo tips is to bring your swimming costumes. Don’t just pack swimmers for the kids though – pack them for everyone; if you need to get anywhere near the water play area, you will get wet! The on-site shop sells swimming costumes, towels and swim nappies/diapers too.
Singapore Zoo is large, and the weather is hot and humid. Smaller kids will likely get tired pretty quickly, and nothing ruins a fun day out more than a whining child. If you don’t want to bring your own buggy, you can hire both strollers and pull-along wagons for your kids to sit in. There are also trams patrolling the park, with hop on-hop off tickets going for just $5 (adults)/$3 (kids aged 3-12).
Be prepared for all Weather
It rains in Singapore A LOT, and the Singapore Zoo is located right in the middle of the rainforest, so the chances of rain at Singapore Zoo are pretty high. You might leave your hotel in glorious sunshine, and an hour later there could be torrential rain. So don’t forget your umbrella – and you can also buy plastic ponchos at all the zoo shops. If it’s not raining, it will likely be hot and sunny, so also bring your sunscreen, hats, sunglasses and plenty of drinking water. Also don’t forget your mosquito repellant – those mosquitos love the rainforest!
Buy a Package
If you are planning on visiting the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, River Safari and/or Jurong Bird Park within one month of each other, you can buy 2-in1, 3-in-1 and 4-in-1 Park Hopper tickets at a discounted price.
You can also buy discounted tickets for Singapore Zoo online at Klook Travel here.
There are plenty of other family-friendly attractions in Singapore – check out our guide to Singapore’s Best Family Friendly Attractions. Still need more ideas? See our list of 50 Things to Do in Singapore with Kids.
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