Yesterday was the first day River Safari opened to public! Super excited me woke up early in the morning and hailed a cab down with the two kids to check it out.
We reached there at about 9.30am and there were quite a few people at the membership centre. I had signed up for the early bird membership and my membership card was all ready for collection, so I didn’t have to queue.. Just collected my card and off we went!
The boat ride was not in operation yet, so MF just took a photo with the fake boat on display at the entrance.
At the entrance plaza, we were told we needed to get a time slot to view the panda. The next available slot was 10am, but the staff advised us to get the 10.20am slot because the Giant Panda Forest is right at the end of the park and it would take a while for us to walk there. I asked if we were only entitled to one time slot per entry, the staff said no and we could get another time slot, but we needed to come out to the counter at the entrance to do so. I feedback to the staff that they should have a place for booking of the time slot at the Giant Panda Forest itself, because it is so difficult to estimate what time we would reach the exhibit, and if we wanted to view it for a second time, we needed to backtrack all the way to the entrance just to get a slot and walk all the way back again to see the pandas, it just didn’t make sense.
So with our time slot booked for 10.20am, we wasted no time and quickly headed to the park so that we could get to the pandas on time.
The first exhibit was supposed to be the beaver, but we saw no beavers and moved on. Then we arrived at the tank with the Alligator Snapping Turtle. The turtles were kind of hidden, so MF just took a photo with the fake turtle at the side, opening his mouth like a snapping turtle.
We continued past more tanks of different kinds of fishes, which MF wasn’t too interested in because we just went to S.E.A Aquarium the previous day and saw thousands of fishes there.
And finally, something that excited MF: Giant crocodiles! MF got pretty up close and personal with the crocs.
We continued walking past more fishes.. and came to the monkey exhibit. Monkeys? In River Safari? Oh well.. If there can be pandas in River Safari, why not monkeys.
Moving on, we finally arrived at one of the main attractions: The Mekong giant catfishes.
MF was pretty impressed by the fishes that were so much bigger than him! We hung around to watch the feeding, then I checked my phone to see what time it was. 10.10am already! So we hurried along, skipping the tanks along the way and went straight to the panda forest.
The last time we were here for the Giant Panda preview, it was pretty disappointing because both pandas were fast asleep and not moving. Thankfully this time round, it was a lot more fun. First, we saw the golden pheasant that wasn’t here before.
Then we saw not one, but TWO red pandas! They were SO cute, playing with each other. I was so tickled watching them play (or fight, can’t quite figure animal behaviour out) that I forgot to whip out my camera to video them.. Wasted!
Then we moved on to see
Jia Jia Kai Kai, who was sleeping again. *yawnz* But at least he was in a more scenic spot this time round and we could see him clearly.
Kai Kai Jia Jia made our money worth because she was wide awake and walking all over her enclosure. MF’s eyes were totally glued to her.
I managed to get the person next to me to take a pretty nice photo of us with Jia Jia. MF refused to take his eyes off the panda and look at camera. Oh well.. At least he’s still in the photo.
Okay, 15 min was up and we had to leave the panda forest. We went to eat our favourite panda pau and slurp a nice cold drink from the panda souvenir cup again to complete our panda adventure.
After our quick snack, we were just in time for the animal presentation at the Amazon Square at 11am. Unlike the shows at the zoo where animals are trained to do tricks, the show here simply allows you to get close to the animals and even touch them. There’s no proper seating and the presentation was out in the hot sun, so we hid in the shade and watched from afar.
The staff brought some of the animals over so that the lazy visitors like us who refused to go out into the sun could still see and touch the animals.
After the presentation, visitors could go up to take photos with the pelicans.
I nursed MF in the nursing room nearby before continuing on. From this side of the safari, we could get a pretty nice view of the opposite side where we came from.
We passed by the squirrel monkey forest, which was the only time we had to go into the sun. (Oh, I haven’t mentioned, the walkways of River Safari are fully sheltered!) The monkeys were totally not afraid of us and were running along the railings. Then we moved on to another key attraction – the Amazon Flooded Forest which is my personal favourite.
First, we went through the tunnel and saw two giant otters swimming together like they were doing a dance or something. (The music in the background added to the whole dance-like effect.)
I managed to catch a photo of terrified-looking MY with a giant otter swimming behind him! This photo is so going into my memory book.
After passing through the tunnel, we arrived at the manatee exhibit which was absolutely magical.
When viewing the manatees, don’t forget to look up and you will see some sting rays above you.
We continued walking on and there were more spots to view the manatees along the way. MF decided to start swimming around like the manatee.
And as we reached the end of the park, we saw the giant otters coming out to bask in the sun.
It was an awesome visit to the River Safari! Although some of the exhibits were still unavailable and the river quest was also not in operation (which means only about half the park was ready), we still had tons of fun. In addition, before the river quest is open, they are having a discounted admission fee.
I love it that the safari is almost fully sheltered so we can visit rain or shine. It is also extremely stroller friendly – no problem maneuvering my stroller around the whole park. There are also an abundance of nursing rooms around the park, which makes it a great place to visit with a baby. Unlike the zoo and bird park, there are no playgrounds around for the kids, so you will probably only spend half a day here even if you walk really slowly.
Address: 80 Mandai Lake Road, Singapore 729826
Tel: (65) 6269 3411
Opening Hours: 9.00am to 6.00pm daily (Last ticket sale at 5.00pm)
Discounted admission fee:
$25 (adult) / $16 (child 3-12 years) / $12.50 (Senior citizen)
Usual admission fee:
$35 (adult) / $23 (child 3-12 years) / $17.50 (Senior citizen)