Yesterday morning, December 28th, we all woke up early and headed over to ‘Pore so we could check out their zoo. We’ve been to Singapore probably 30 different times this year without ever making it to the zoo, even though we were told they have a nice one. We’ve visited the Jurong Bird Park several times, and we’ve made it to the aquarium on Sentosa island once too, so it was time to check out the zoo.
The Singapore Zoo has several options — the regular zoo, a river safari and the night safari. The Singapore Night Zoo is the one that gets all the attention, but we wanted to check it out during the daytime so we could really see the animals. We still plan on going to the Night Safari, but it’ll have to wait until 2014.
We got there about an hour after they opened, but we had no problem finding a parking space. We were able to skip the huge ticket line by going to a MUCH smaller line that required cash payment, then we headed on into the zoo.
Only two parts of our trip were a letdown: (1) we forgot to bring Carolyn’s good camera and (2) it started raining around 12:30pm so we left before seeing some of the things we wanted to. Other than that it was my second favorite zoo, behind San Diego, which to me is clearly in a class of its own.
Zoe’s main concern was seeing the “jaffs”, which is what Zobug calls giraffes. She also liked watching the otters splash around in the water, the zebras huddled around the feeding station, the big cats lounging around and the pygmy “hippopotters” sitting in the water. She loved it when we finally found the giraffes, but what ended up being the most exciting animal that she spotted was a male lion. Zoe was lagging a little bit behind Carol and I with her Papaw, and after Carol and I’d taken a quick look at the lion we pressed on to the next enclosure to see the zebras, but Zoe stayed behind with Papaw.
I turned around to see Papaw pick her up and point out the lion and from more than 50 feet away I could hear her yelling about seeing a lion. I thought that was it so I turned around to check out the zebras and then Carol and I made our way over to another lion enclosure about 2 minutes later when we heard Zoe yelling. She was running towards us screaming “Mommy, Daddy, Zoe see Lion King!” She yelled it over and over as she ran towards us, and all the other visitors around us were laughing and loving it by the time Zoe made it to us. She couldn’t believe “Lion King” was there at the zoo.
My favorite parts were the proboscis monkeys and the orangutans, both of which can be found in Malaysia (Borneo, not Peninsular Malaysia). The name “orangutan” actually comes from the Malay words orang, meaning “person”, and hutan, meaning “forest” – or a “person of the forest”. I’ve really been wanting to take a trip to Borneo so we could see these awesome creatures in their native rainforest habitats, but we want to wait a little longer until Logan is at least a year old. Seeing them at the zoo was fantastic though. I don’t remember ever seeing a proboscis monkey before, but I’ve been reading about them for almost 2 years – ever since we found out we may be visiting Malaysia. The males have enormous noses, like nothing you’ve ever seen before.
Orangutans are in zoos all across the US, but I’ve never seen an exhibit of them like they have at the Singapore Zoo. The orangutans are “free range”, and they have a series of ropes, nets and platforms around a huge area where they can go from one place to another instead of being restricted to a single island with a moat or wall around it. Even more impressive is that the zoo feeds the orangutans a couple times a day and they allow visitors to come sit below them, just a few inches away from these huge apes, for free! You can take photos with about 5-6 orangutans sitting right above your head munching on fruit. We walked up literally just as they closed the photo session down; if we had shown up 45 seconds earlier we would have been able to sit for a photo… I was disappointed, but that gives us a reason to go back!
Here are some photos from our trip to the Singapore Zoo: