With another month of summer holiday looming, we are all looking for fun, safe activities with the kids. In Singapore we are blessed with many attractions but not all have been reopened. River Safari is a notable option as much of it is outdoors (a handy way to steer clear of people).
What is the River Safari?
Adjacent to Singapore Zoo, this is (yes you’ve guessed it) a river themed wildlife park. It is part of Singapore’s ‘Big 4’, aka the Singapore Zoo, Jurong Bird Park and Night Safari, all run by Wildlife Reserves Singapore. Of the four, it’s actually my favourite as it’s easily manageable in half a day, River Quest is great fun and you get to see the pandas.
Planning Your Trip
The Park is now only open Thursday to Sunday. Entry is time-based, so you must purchase online and select your entry time before you visit. Visits are limited to five guests per group. Singapore residents can currently enjoy 20% off admission. When booking your ticket, if you have kids tall enough (above 1.06m), book the Amazon River Quest add on. Definitely the best part of the park for my kids!
The Park is open 10am to 7pm with last entry at 6pm. You may want to plan your ticket time around the shows (see below). Typically morning time the animals are most active.
We booked an 11am ticket and we left the park around 3pm. The Park seemed pretty empty on the day we visited.
To keep it easy, we just hopped in a Grab. Public transport can be a faff, depending on where you are coming from. At a number of MRT stations close by, they do run a shuttle. The Mandai Express is currently suspended.
- Once Upon A River at Boat Plaza is on 11.30, 2.30 and 4.30pm. This is a very sweet show where you can see the capybaras, pelicans and beavers (all token feeding is suspended).
Due to safe distancing, there is a max capacity of 50. I would advise turning up with plenty of time as we weren’t able to get into the 11.30 show.
- River Trails is on at 12.15pm and 5.15pm. Hear interesting trivia and first-hand experiences on the river wildlife.
There are 3 things currently closed due to safe distancing measures: Keeper’s Chit Chat, Manatee Mania Wildlife Tour and the Reservoir Cruise.
Park Set Up
The park consists of a total of 10 different ecosystems around the world, including the Nile, Ganges, Congo and Mississippi. It’s very easy to navigate with kids – much of it is covered outdoor, perfect for these Covid times.
Amazon River Quest
As mentioned, you can purchase a ticket for this online or on the day. You need to meet the minimum height requirement. This ride is joyous for all ages. Not quite the big drops of Splash Mountain but a slightly bumpy river cruise with an amazing view of the animals. We loved watching the Giant Anteater burrowing away and the squawking of the flamingoes. They now take time to clean each boat between rides. We were lucky enough that the park was so empty they let us keep riding for a second time.
Giant Panda Forest
Seeing the pandas is a highlight of the River Safari. Not only is the air con on full blast but you can see a couple of Red Pandas before Kai Kai and Jia Jia, the Giant Pandas. If you’re there on a local school holiday or weekend, there might be queues. We had the Giant Panda Forest all to ourself. Not only that but Kai Kai was on fine form, laying on his back stuffing his face with bamboo.
Squirrel Monkey Forest
The Squirrel Monkey forest is a walk-in enclosure with no nets between you and the monkeys. They were bouncing around everywhere and provided lots of giggles for the girls. There are Rangers who ensure that there’s no monkey business!
Keep an eye on the timing if this is a highlight for you to visit. When we were there, it was closed between 1 and 4pm.
Amazon Flooded Forest
The final exhibit at the River Safari is for the most part, a large aquarium. The manatees are mesmerising. Unfortunately the river otters were asleep as I usually like to them darting around.
Remember to bring your own water bottle and there are various fill up stations throughout. For those craving a coffee before entering the park, there’s a Starbucks at the entrance.
We ate lunch at Mama Panda Kitchen by the Giant Panda Forest. You can get your ubiquitous theme park chicken nuggets and chips here.
The River Safari was the perfect antidote to being locked up in my apartment. Night Safari is currently offering 50% off till the end of October so I think that will be next on the agenda!