Is Singapore Zoo worth going? Honest view from a local

Singapore Zoo has been ranked as top attractions in Singapore by many. Is it really worth visiting? Should you spend your precious time and money visiting a zoo on foreign land or even as a local? 

I have the answer for you as I’ve just visited the Singapore Zoo. The last time I’d been there was at least a decade ago. And therefore, I have a chance to form a fresh perspective as everything has changed since! LOL! 

Singapore zoo animals

I’ll also compare it with River Wonders Singapore, which is another attraction located just next to the zoo (requires separate admission). 

>> RELATED: 8 things in River Wonders Singapore that kept me entertained for hours

Read on to see if the Singapore Zoo should enter your to-do list in Singapore. 

Singapore zoo worth going

 


Our Profile: We went to the Singapore Zoo as a couple

Zoo is normally a place that appeals to parents and kids due to its educational element. During such outings, parents can expose kids to new things to aid their learning while at the same time offer the family a day of fun and entertainment. 

Singapore zoo animals
A kid viewing and learning about tigers!

We went as a couple and didn’t bring along any kids. So, were we entertained at the Singapore Zoo? Would this be a good place for “Pak Tor-ing” (i.e. dating)?

Short answer is yes! We were well-entertained and I spent much longer than I thought I would at the zoo – close to 4 hours. There were so many things to do at the zoo, which was totally out of my expectation.

Check out 12 memorable experiences in the next section. 

Singapore zoo vs river wonders
Didn’t expect to see pelicans at the Singapore Zoo

 


12 Key Highlights of Singapore Zoo (2023): A Local’s Experience

Rather than showing you animals after animals, I will highlight the key experiences I’ve enjoyed at the Singapore Zoo. 

1. Mimic “Animal-in-nature” setting

Instead of the “concrete” experience I recalled of the zoo when I was still a kid, Singapore Zoo did well by adding in a large dose of nature in its entire design – both within and outside the enclosures.

Singapore zoo animals
White tiger resting in its rustic jungle-like enclosure
Singapore zoo worth visiting
Lion and humans in close proximity, separated by viewing glass.

While animal in captivity is never a good thing for them, we were comforted that they have a “decent home” to rest in.

2. Have you ever fed a Rhinoceros?  

It was both entertaining and amusing to see big rhinoceros taking in honey dew from humans.

You’ll see their huge lips swaying busily – left-right-left-right. I learnt later that these Rhinoceros do not have front teeth, which explains the clumsy lip movement. 

You can pay a small fee to enjoy feeding the Rhinoceros or just stand nearby (like we did) to watch the “free show”.

Singapore zoo animal feeding
You can feed Rhinoceros and watch their clumsy big lips swaying from left to right

3. Best Sight:  Giraffes strolling against Jungle Backdrop!

The best animal experience for me was seeing Giraffes taking slow and elegant strolls, against rustic nature and skyline. 

It was a beautiful and almost soothing sight! 

Singapore zoo blog
My favourite sight at Singapore Zoo

4. It’s more than big animals at Singapore Zoo

You don’t just see big animals at the zoo. There are other enclosures featuring smaller creatures, such as reptiles, amphibians, birds and butterflies to give you a diverse learning experience. 

Singapore zoo animals
See a frog? It’s so comical-looking!

Singapore zoo vs river wonders

5. Thoughtful layout to ensure you don’t get heat stroke

What I really appreciate was how the zoo (intentionally or not) interspersed indoor experiences with outdoor sights.

As such, visitors won’t get to a point where they would be overwhelmed by the tropical heat of Asia, as an indoor enclosure would always be a short walk away. 

Singapore zoo animals
One of the indoor sections showcasing Amphibians. These are poisonous frogs!

6.  Up close and personal with Animals

At many enclosures, there would be opportunities to be very near the animals, like less than a metre away.

Not sure how they did it, but some animals would gather or rest at “viewing spots”.

Singapore zoo animals
This kangaroo was sleeping right in front of viewing spot. LOL!

7. You’ll get to see sloths too! 

For some reasons, sloths were really popular (based on the excited remarks from fellow visitors). We, human beings, are apparently intrigued with extremely slow and lazy animals. LOL! 

Singapore zoo sloths
Two sloths hugging each other (and probably sleeping)

You’ll get to see sloths in Singapore Zoo. Two were hugging and sleeping, like less than a metre from where I stood.

Too bad for me, I couldn’t really see their faces. But good to know these sloths were taking a good rest amidst all the excitement from human beings.

8. Lots of Fun Things to keep kids entertained

If the zoo is good for adults, it’s even better for kids. Other than animals, there are quite a number of things to keep the kids entertained.

You’ll see a water playground, animal farm, carousel ride and obstacle course. The last two require separate fees (more details available here). 

Singapore zoo water playground
Water playground to cool off the from the heat
Singapore zoo kids activities
Adventure course for the kids

9. Time your visit to catch the Animal Shows

There are animal shows too, which Singapore Zoo terms it as “presentations”. You can check timing of the shows here

10. Water view, anyone? 

As Singapore Zoo is embraced by Seletar Reservoir, you’ll get good opportunity to enjoy “water-view” during your tour around the tropical park.

Singapore zoo things to see
Seletar Reservoir

Singapore zoo reservoir

11. Get onto tram and explore zoo at relaxing pace

Too tired to walk? Unlimited tram rides are available to visitors for free. You can listen to stories on board while covering the ground in comfort. 

Getting around Singapore zoo
Free and unlimited tram rides for zoo visitors

12. Breakfast in the wild at Singapore Zoo

How to make your experience at the zoo even more memorable? You can start your visit by enjoying a buffet breakfast with animals in close proximity (some of which you may be able to interact with).

Check out this Breakfast in the Wild experience. Read that Orangutan, among other animals, would keep you company. 

 


So, is Singapore Zoo worth going? 

Here’s my honest take. I had initially thought that the ticket at about S$50 was pricey. But after spending 4 hours at The Singapore Zoo, I thought hmmm, there’s actually a lot of things to see and do than what I’d initially thought. 

Singapore zoo vs River Wonders
You can see crocodile at the Singapore Zoo
Singapore zoo butterflies
Butterfly Aviary – Butterflies love pineapple

If you have kids, there are even more things to keep you and your family entertained, making the ticket price more bang for the buck. See the smile on the boy’s face (below)? 

Singapore zoo kids activities
Happy kid at Wild Animal Carousel

But still, it’s $50 – not cheap, I know! For a country that is known to be expensive in many things, the zoo’s admission fee – when compared to other attractions in Singapore – seemed reasonable for the amount of activities and experiences it offer. 

If you get yourself a combo ticket, it reduces the price further to make it an easier choice to visit the wilder side of Singapore. 

Not an animal and nature lover? Then urban attractions such as Marina Bay Sands, Universal Studio or Gardens by the Bay may excite you more. 

Singapore Zoo vs River Wonders: Which is better?

Are you facing difficulties choosing between Singapore Zoo and River Wonders? Personally, if I am forced to visit only one attraction, I would choose River Wonders Singapore. 

It offered me – an adult – with more “stimulating experience”, such as the opportunity to view a big aquarium, take an Amazon Cruise, or see cute pandas.

But if you have kids, I think the Singapore Zoo would offer more fun and interactive activities for the family. Therefore, whether the Zoo or River Wonders is better would depend very much on your profile and personal preference. 

>> MUST-READ: 8 things in River Wonders Singapore that kept me entertained for hours

River Wonders Manatee
River Wonders Singapore

Key Park Info: Singapore Zoo

Have you decided that you like to visit The Singapore Zoo? Here are some essential information that can help you plan your trip. 

1. How to get to Singapore Zoo?

The Singapore Zoo, which is located in northern Singapore (see map), is not easy to get to via public transport as there are no train stations within walking distance. 

Nevertheless, the park offers daily shuttle to and from Khatib train station – see details here. For tourists, do make sure you have an EZ-link card as cash is not accepted. You can also use a Singapore Travel Card. 

2. Map of Singapore Zoo

You will start your zoo tour from the south and make a clock-wise loop back to the same spot.

Of course, it’s also  perfectly ok to go the reverse loop – we did that to escape the crowd. Download a copy of the map here

Singapore zoo map
Map of Singapore Zoo

3. Opening Hours

The Singapore Zoo opens daily from 8.30am to 6.00pm. If you are visiting multiple parks at the Mandai Wildlife Reserve, you can start in this order (suggested based on each park’s operating hours):

4. Admission Ticket Price 

How much is Singapore Zoo ticket? Currently, it’s $50. You can get admission ticket at cheaper price here.

Do also check out this combo Mandai Pass to visit up to 3 parks in wildlife reserve at a discount.

5. TIPS: What to bring to Singapore Zoo? 

To make your trip a comfortable one, please bring along insect repellent, sunblock, water, hat and umbrella. Do also wear comfortable walking shoes. 

If I didn’t emphasize enough, you need insect repellent okay as there are mozzies? :)

6. Are there lots of food options at the zoo?

Yes, there are ample dining options near the entrance of the zoo, such as KFC and Inuka Cafe. 

Singapore zoo F&B
F&B near entrance of Singapore Zoo

Walk a little further in and you will see Ah Meng Bistro and Restaurant. However, do expect to pay tourist price at a touristy place.

Beyond this point, F&B options become really limited as at time of writing.  

Singapore zoo food options

Other than food, there were many drinks vending machines scattered around the zoo. 

TIP: Bring along a water bottle, as there is at least one prominent spot where you can refill your water for free. 


Bonus Tip: Where to go for great local meal after your zoo trip? 

If you are adventurous enough, head to Chong Pang Food Centre – a hawker centre located within the heartland. It’s about 15 minutes’ car ride away. 

This is not an air-conditioned eatery. But if you like to immerse yourself in an authentic environment where locals dine, this is a great spot. You can also sample great local food at very decent prices. 

And that’s all to the Singapore Zoo intro. Welcome and enjoy your experience in Singapore! :)


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