Day Trip to Singapore Zoo, River Safari Singapore, and Rainforest Lumina

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Planning a visit to the Singapore Zoo can be a bit overwhelming and slightly complicated. This guide will make it easier! When asking for recommendations of things to do in Singapore, the Night Safari, River Safari, Jurong Bird Park, and the Singapore Zoo were all highly recommended by other travelers. Did you know they are each separate parks? There are multi-park tickets available, but be aware that Jurong Bird Park isn’t even near the other three parks.

If you purchase a multi-park ticket, you are granted one visit per park within 7 days of your first visit. For example, you can get a 2-park ticket for the River Safari and the Night Safari and choose to do them on separate days within the week. We chose the 2-park ticket for the Singapore Zoo and River Safari, and added on Rainforest Lumina. While we could have split up our visit, we chose to do all 3 in one day.

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See some of your favorite animals from movies like Madagascar and Ice Age. This is also the zoo that hosted “Valley of Myths” - which showcased amazing creatures like the Ice Dragon from Game Of Thrones and the Griffin from Harry Potter! While “Valley of Myths” is no longer available, you may still see the Dragon near the front of Singapore Zoo!

 
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Getting to the Singapore Zoo (and River Safari, Night Safari, and Rainforest Lumina)

The zoo is NOT conveniently located on the MRT. There are buses available from Choa Chu Kang (bus 927) and Ang Mo Kio (bus 138) stations on the NorthSouth (Red) MRT line. Woodlands and Marsiling stations also have buses on Sundays and public holidays only (bus 926).

Khatib station, also on the NorthSouth (Red) MRT line has a Mandai Khatib shuttle that goes directly to the zoo from the station. You can purchase a bus ticket at Ticketing Counters, or the shuttle can be paid directly on the bus by EZ link or NETS flash pay card only - no cash (S$1 adult/child each way). The bus arrives every 20 minutes from 8 AM until 10:40 PM daily.

Since we came from JB to Singapore on the Causeway Link bus, we took a taxi from Jurong East station to save time. Use the GRAB app to easily request a taxi.

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Things to do at the Singapore Zoo

The zoo is open from 8:30 AM to 6 PM daily (Last entry at 5:30 PM).

Many sites recommend 6-8 hours at the zoo, and this would be a great recommendation if you are planning on making your way to all of the shows, eating inside the zoo, or spending a lot of time to learn about each of the exhibits or animals. We did not manage to make our way to the shows, however we were able to visit all of the Star Attractions and make our way around the entire Singapore Zoo within 4 hours and felt quite pleased with our experience.

We’d like to add that just about all of the exhibits were really well made and of excellent quality for the animals (the African Penguin exhibit could use a bit of work though). The zoo is definitely worth going to - unless you’ve been to a number of other high-quality zoos in the past (as it won’t be too much different).

One very unique experience that the Singapore Zoo offers is breakfast with orangutans. “Jungle Breakfast with Wildlife” is a breakfast buffet in the zoo at Ah Meng Restaurant. Breakfast is from 9 AM - 10:30 AM, with the orangutans arriving between 9:30 AM and 10 AM. The price for this breakfast is S$35 for adults and S$25 for children ages 6-12 and can only be added onto an admission ticket (you cannot purchase it separately). We recommend adding this to your schedule if you can!

Star Attractions

  • Elephants of Asia

    Morning bath daily at 9:15 AM - learn about what makes Asian Elephants so special

  • The Great Rift Valley of Ethiopia - Hamadryas Baboons

    A troop of over 100 baboons makes this quite an exciting exhibit

  • Free Ranging Orangutans

    The world’s first free ranging orangutan habitat - be amazed as they climb overhead!

  • Rainforest Kidzworld

    Animal contact sessions, pony rides, and a water play area for kids

  • Butterfly Aviary at Fragile Forest

    Newest walk-in aviary including over 300 butterflies

Shows

  • Splash Safari - A sea lion show
    Shaw Foundation Amphitheatre
    10:30 AM & 5 PM

  • Animal Friends Show - Little ones will enjoy watching animals do tricks
    Kidzworld Amphitheatre
    11 AM & 4 PM

  • Elephant Presentation - Asian elephants showcasing their distinct personalities
    Elephants of Asia
    11:30 AM & 3:30 PM

  • Rainforest Fights back - Learn about native rainforest wildlife
    Shaw Foundation Amphitheatre
    12:30 PM & 2:30 PM

There may be seasonal shows available when you visit so check the map and timetable that you are given at entry.

There are scheduled feeding times for many of the animals including African Lions, Chimpanzees, Orangutans, and Meerkats. Additionally, food is available for purchase during the feeding times for the Giraffes, Elephants, Goats, White Rhinoceros, and Giant Tortoises. The feeding sessions are subject to weather conditions – when we visited, the Giant Tortoise feeding was cancelled due to rain.

Over 2,800 animals call the 26-hectare zoo home. A $5 SGD tram ($3 SGD child) runs in a figure-8 along the main road in the zoo. It has 4 stops, but you’ll need to get out and walk along the footpaths if you want to see all the animals. However, the zoo is walk-able (according to Fitbit, we had around 20,000 steps walking the Singapore Zoo, River Safari, and Rainforest Lumina combined).

Tips when visiting the Singapore Zoo

  • Wear comfortable walking shoes. There’s a lot of ground to cover if you want to see all the animals in the zoo.

  • Bring an umbrella or poncho. If it rains, you can also take cover in Reptopia or the Frozen Tundra. The animal exhibits there are inside air-conditioned buildings.

  • Stay hydrated and bring a refillable water bottle. There are filtered water dispensers just outside the entrance, and in the park.

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Things to do at River Safari

River Safari is open from 10 AM to 7 PM daily.

While we spent just 2 hours here, and zoomed through “Rivers of the World” in just 20 minutes due to limited time, we would recommend spending at least 3 hours at River Safari and to start no later than 3 PM if you want to see all of the Main Attractions.
**Note: Although the park closes at 7 PM, almost all of the main attractions close at 6 PM. We missed the Reservoir Cruise and Squirrel Monkey Forest due to the 6 PM closing times!

Main Attractions

  • Giant Panda Forest (closes at 6 PM)
    Home to Kai Kai and Jia Jia, as well as a cute little red panda.

  • Reservoir Cruise (closes at 6 PM)
    15 minute relaxing ride around the Upper Seletar Reservoir

  • Amazon River Quest (additional fee: $5 SGD adult / $3 SGD child ; minimum height: 1.06m / 42 inches) - (closes at 6 PM)
    This ride has a few small drops, but nothing too crazy. There aren’t any lap bars and you are expected to stay seated throughout the 10 minute ride. It does cost extra and small children can’t ride because of the height restriction, BUT it’s the only place in the park with jaguars, a tapir, and capybaras.

  • Squirrel Monkey Forest (closes at 6 PM)
    Walk through the forest and see the squirrel monkeys up close. They may even get close enough to shake your hand!

  • Amazon Flooded Forest
    The world’s largest freshwater aquarium with over 18 species including manatees, otters, and arapaimas.

  • Rivers of the World

    Some of the greatest rivers in the world are focused on in these 7 amazing repositories of river dwelling animals: the Mississippi River (USA), Congo River (Central Africa), Nile River (Northeastern Africa), Ganges River (India), Mary River (Australia), Mekong River (SE Asia), and the Yangtze River (China).

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Rainforest Lumina

We debated whether to do the Night Safari or Rainforest Lumina. Since we had our 4-month old baby with us, we decided on Rainforest Lumina this time. If you add it to a day park ticket, it is $10 SGD more per person. Otherwise it’s $18 SGD on its own.

We visited in June 2019 for the second season of Rainforest Lumina, a nighttime installation at the Singapore Zoo. It was interesting to see the park transformed as we walked along the same pathways from the morning, but they looked completely different at night.

The zoo closes at 6 PM and reopens for Rainforest Lumina from 7:30 PM - Midnight. You can have dinner at the food court outside of the zoo entrance, but be aware that many of the restaurants close at 7 PM.

It takes about 45 min to an hour to walk through the experience. You’re greeted by virtual animal characters displayed on screens, and are able to interact with them through sound and movement. It was a fun experience for the young, and young-at-heart to enjoy. Be sure to pick up a wristband near the beginning, just after the Treetop Trail area, as you’ll need it to take a photo at the end of the walk.

If you enjoy light shows, be sure to check out the ones at Gardens by the Bay & Marina Bay Sands. Sentosa Island also has Wings of Time on Siloso Beach.

Singapore Tours & Singapore Zoo Tours

If you are looking to start your trip off easily, consider booking the very affordable Singapore Stop Over package which includes 2-nights at a 3-star Hotel, complimentary breakfast (vegetarian option available), transportation from the airport, a Singapore Zoo Night Safari on your arrival night (including transportation and tickets), a tour of the city with an English-speaking guide, and transportation either back to the airport or to your next hotel. It’s the perfect start to your Singapore vacation!

Planning on staying a little longer and getting a little more in-depth with the Singapore Zoo? Add on the 4-day / 3-night Singapore City Stay tour - which also includes airport pickup and drop-off (if required), hotel stay for 3 nights, and unlimited travel on the SIA Hop-on Hop-off bus as you spend your next couple days doing what you like best (consider Gardens by the Bay & Marina Bay Sands or even Sentosa Island), plus access to more than 20 great deals for attractions such as Gardens by the Bay, Singapore Cable Car, Singapore River Safari and more. We even recommend trying the Original Singapore Duck Tour which tours you through the city streets, as well as through Marina Bay, to see all of Singapore’s highlights.

However, if you’d prefer to choose of of the amazing hotels or hostels listed below, we suggest adding on the Singapore Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing bus or the Singapore City Hop On Hop Off Tour 2 Day Pass (a better deal) to get around to all of the important sights. Additionally, if you like to go touring at night, check out the HiPPO Night City Tour!

Specific tours at the zoo are also available on the Singapore Zoo website.


Best Value Singapore Hotels & Hostels

Best Luxury Hotel, Experience & Location: Marina Bay Sands (price varies)

Best Value & Location Hotel: Fragrance Hotel - Sapphire (around $45 USD per night)

Best Experience & Location Hostel: Beary Nice Pod Hostel (around $35 USD per night!)

Cheapest Decent Hostel & Location: Nano Hostel ($10-$17 USD per night!)


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Respectfully,
Jenny & Bradley of EatWanderExplore

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