Singapore is home to 4 zoos in total all operated by Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), and if you have 2 days you should make the journey to see all of them. The order I would recommend seeing them in would be to go to Jurong Bird Park on one day and using the second day (and I mean a full day – so get your best walking shoes on) visit Singapore Zoo, the River Safari and round off the day with a night safari.
The bird park is widely regarded as one of the best specialist bird collections in the world, working with a large number of indigenous, rare and beautiful birds. If you are not huge on ornithology it is still a beautiful park to have a wander around (especially the large waterfall aviary – once you reach the water feature you totally forget you are in a cage).
Due to its size and number of species give yourself a whole morning or afternoon (I would recommend earlier while it is still a little cooler) and think about spending the evening heading back in to the urban jungle that is Central and Marina areas of Singapore.
On a separate day I recommend getting up nice and early to head out to the Mandai lake area where you will find the other 3 parks literally next door to each other.
A personal recommendation from me would be to come early on and enjoying half of Singapore taking in species such as polar bears, orangutans, komodo dragons and small primates in a tree top encounter. The park can get pretty hot at lunch time which is neither good for you nor the animals.
The best solution for the temperature is to head to the food court out front for a quick bite before heading right next door to the river safari. Sadly when I was there we had no chance of getting on the boat ride, however the walk around this one way park is a great opportunity to see many of the animals which live in and around rivers and lakes of the world. Best of all many of the areas are indoors and air-conditioned, so great for the mid-day sun!
After enjoying some time with the manatees, crocodiles and of course fish (from tiny to huge) it’s time to head back to the main zoo. You can either take a stroll back past the animals you saw earlier or take the tram to the top half of the park where you can see chimps, giraffes, the reptile area and my favourite primates the proboscis monkey.
You should aim to remain at the zoo until it shuts at 6:00pm as this will give you just enough time to head to the night safari and grab some dinner to recoup your energy for this very clever and unique attraction. There are plenty of choices and whilst the gelato is great its even better at night when you finish your trip, and as much as I like everything about these 3 parks, do yourself a favour and don’t order the crab burger!
The queue starts to build up quite quickly but sadly once it gets closer to the time you enter all sense of order disappears and it is essentially a playground bundle to get to the safari trucks… If you want my opinion don’t waste your time too much on trying to get to the front of the queue… take it easy and do the fishing cat trail to the left by foot first. This will set you up for the safari truck while the trail is quiet, and once you finish the truck queue should be just a few minutes long.
Whilst I did not watch any of the animal shows between the parks or feed times (these are all advertised for you if you wish to see them) I did see the best fire performance display I have ever seen. There are 3 guys who perform in the queue area if the weather permits and they are incredible… Very skilled and taking a lot of risks. They were blowing fire balls higher and for longer than I have ever seen in Europe or the US, and even suspended a fire ball between the 3 of them a meter off the ground with 2 of them at any one time blowing the incredible fire ball… I know that you will (like me) come here for the animals but I go to a huge number of zoos, aquariums and safari parks, so animal wise it takes a lot now to really stick in my mind… The fire performance however is well and truly stuck in there (although sadly my vantage point wasn’t so great and at 7:00 pm the lighting was a bit awkward and as such I sadly have no photos or videos to share).