Ever since River Safari, the latest zoo in Singapore, opened, I wanted to bring my mum there. I finally achieved this today on a mother-daughter date. Armed with a corporate pass, and the permission to leave school earlier (It’s marking day and I’ve finished marking two days before), I took a cab down to the River Safari at around 3.00 pm. I normally would not have done so but since her work ended a little late at 2pm and I wanted ample time to stroll and dawdle at the River Safari, I decided to splurge.
We splurged? again on a panda-shaped chocolate custard pau (bun) that costs $2.90 since we shared a miserly meal of a pack of char siew rice before we entered the park proper. We were fascinated by the exhibits in River Safari, different types of exotic animals that we would never imagine seeing were right before our eyes. Being the more well-read (hehe) of the two, I was naturally less wide-eyed than my sua-ku mum but I was glad to that she enjoyed herself and saw animals that she would otherwise never see. The exhibits were divided according to the different major rivers found in the world and their accompanying habitats and wildlife which makes for a good Geography and Biology lesson I suppose. I was enthusiastically translating for my mum at first (Not all signs were posted in Chinese) but became tired after a while so I stopped.
After seeing many fishes and other freshwater creatures (exotic and interesting but we got a little tired), we finally saw the pandas. To be honest though, I was more fascinated by the colourful bird (can’t quite remember the name) and the red panda than the giant panda. The poor red panda was napping on a tree but didn’t have a nice nap because of some rather noisy visitors. It kept getting startled, woke up to see what was disturbing its rest before it adjusted its sleeping position and went back to sleep. I guess I wasn’t that excited to see the giant pandas since I saw many of them once on a school trip to Chengdu 8 years back. (gya!!! 8 years!) Furthermore, all I could see was the posterior at first. I was worried that I had to wait like Yoo Jae Suk just to see its face. I was disappointed more for my mother than myself, since I had seen them once. Luckily she convinced me to take a walk around the souvenir shop (where we bought a magnet) and return again. We returned after that to see many people snapping away on their phones and cameras and the panda’s face. This was not the highlight, though.
The next part was more exciting – The Amazon River Quest. However, before we reach the part of the park with this exhibit, I saw something that made me rather sad. A polar bear exhibition. True, there was a pool large enough for the polar bear to swim in but it was obvious that there was nothing much he can do except to swim/ paddle to an elevated platform and use it as a jumping board of sort to propel itself to flip backwards and swim in in the same direction.I stood here for around 5 mins only to see the poor bear repeating the actions over and over again. Worse still, there is no company. Only one bear with nothing to do with itself but to exercise?
We took a boat ride around part of the exhibits and saw even more exotic animals. We didn’t manage to see everything but got to see the Ibis up close. Real close. And the jaguars. Not that close though. They were safely behind a glass enclosure. It was sadly too fast and too short so we barely caught a glimpse of the animals before we moved on. This was also not the highlight.
The highlight for me was the last – the Amazon Flooded Forest. For a Leo, and someone so strongly connected to the sign and the element of fire (even in the Chinese Zodiac), I have an unusual fascination with water – the beaches, the waves, the way water ripples, the rain, etc. I loved the fun-loving otters playing with each other and the huge tanks with the sting rays and the dugongs. The dugongs were so cute; they hugged the diver (probably one of keepers) and seemed so reluctant to let go of him. I love how the exhibit starts from the lowest level (where you can stand / sit and stare at the tank for a long time) and gradually move up so you can see what it is like under the water and what it is like below. The otters! *Squeals!*
All in all, I would say that this is an attraction worth checking out, whether you are a Singaporean or a tourist. I saw the kids enjoying it and my mother enjoying it, and I myself enjoy it so I daresay it does cater to different age groups.