Visiting the Singapore Zoo a decade ago and again in 2022 made me realize it’s an evergreen spot – you’ll never get bored of it. Like most of Singapore’s tourist spots, a lot has changed with the zoo, it’s bigger with the River Wonders addition.
While I paid much more this time at SGD $44 just for the Singapore Zoo (it’s SGD $50 as of 2023), I recommend it regardless of its price. Here goes my Singapore Zoo Itinerary for a 1-day trip! To those who haven’t been to this zoo before, River Safari is its latest edition.
Use this table to navigate this Singapore Zoo Itinerary.
Is SG Zoo worth visiting?
Absolutely, there’s no second thought about it! The Singapore Zoo is one of the most visited places in Singapore and shouldn’t be missed out on. It’s an expensive ticket at SGD $50 per adult today, but it’s the experience you pay for.
It comes among the top 10 zoos in Asia on various sites and the best part is that it’s an open zoo! Most animals here aren’t in cages. Instead, they’re in large natural enclosures with moats around and hardly a-meter fences. Some animals like peacocks walk around you as you eat at the cafeteria.
As it costs a lot for just a ticket to the zoo, I’d recommend going for the multi-park or Park Hopper passes to get the best value for your tickets. Get your tickets from trusted sites like Klook for the best discounts. Here’s the best deal I found:Klook.com
Singapore Zoo Itinerary: Things to Know
Best Time to Visit SG Zoo. The Singapore or Mandai Zoo timings are 8:30 am – 6 pm. Plan your SG itinerary so that you get there early before noon or anytime on the weekdays. With the zoo being absolutely vast, it takes a good five hours to walk through and peek at the animals here.
Thus it’s best to begin your tour at least around lunchtime (12 – 1 pm). The Mandai Zoo was my first stop on my SG trip before crashing at a Spacepod. It was already 11:30 am by the time I got there. So I had lunch quickly and began my wander around 12. Gladly, I could glimpse at almost all the animals and attend a few shows as well.
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Zoo Ticket Prices and Offers
The SG Zoo ticket price starts at SGD $50. Instead of booking a single ticket, I’d recommend booking the multi-park tickets where you get to visit two parks (Singapore Zoo and another) for many reasonable rates.
Multi-park Ticket Prices (As of August, 2023)
- SG Zoo / River Wonders / Jurong Bird Park: S$88 adult / S$60 child (Choose any two)
- Night Safari + Any one of the above: S$96 adult / S$66 child
- All 4 theme parks (Parkhopper Plus): S$118 adult / S$90 child
The best part about multi-park tickets is that they have a 7-days validity. So you can visit one park a day and the next within the following week. However, each parking ticket is only valid for one-time entry.
Where to book your tickets: While the official Mandai Zoo site allows smooth booking, I’d recommend booking through trusted sites like Klook for discounts and future offers for other attractions.
Being a Klook partner, our readers tend to get better prices. Don’t miss out on any deals and get your SG Zoo tickets today! Here are some splendid deals I found for you on Klook:Klook.com
How to get there?
Address: 80 Mandai Lake Road Singapore, 729826
The Singapore Zoo, River Wonders, and Night Safari are all at the same spot at the mentioned address above. Jurong Bird Park is the only faraway theme park.
The cheapest way (and how I got there myself) to the SG Zoo is by taking the Khatib Mandai Shuttle. Get to the Khatib MRT Station NS14 (the Red Line) and step out to the bus stop. Walk towards the left end of the bus stop and you’ll find the Mandai reserve posters around.
The Khatib Mandai Shuttle arrives every 10 minutes at the stop and costs S$1 for a one-way trip straight to the zoo. Use the EZ-link or NETS Flashpay cards for your ride. You can return to the Khatib MRT station back with the same shuttle from SG Zoo.
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Singapore Zoo Itinerary for the Park
Get your SG Zoo map as soon as you get in. You’ll find these at the entrance and all around the park. If you didn’t get one, all the posted maps have a QR code where downloading the map on your phone is an option. This is the first thing I did when I got in, wary about missing anything at the zoo.
There’s no hard and fast on where to begin, but as long as you cross all paths, it should be fine. At one point, I realized I’d missed out on a path on the other end of the park. Luckily, all visitors have access to the trams and I got to visit most animal sanctuaries.
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This was my first stop as it was the closest trail upon entering the zoo.
Made up of neat wooden bridges where at first you’ll find nothing. But when you look carefully above, you’ll find the main feature here – the Siamang Primate swinging!
There’s also the Malayan Gharial here, but I didn’t get a chance to see it. I was busy watching the Siamang swing.
I didn’t have to stress my eyes, they were right before my eyes chattering and lazing on the sands by their tiny river! Their glass display is perfectly at the intersection of two paths, and I chose to walk toward the Babirusas
While returning back in the evening from the other path, I couldn’t help but have another glance at the cute otters!
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Anoa, Babirusa, and Hippos
Walking on the left path, you’ll find the Anoa (a dwarf buffalo breed), Babirusa, and Hippos. The Anoa and Babirusa are hard to have a closer look at.
Not to mention, I thought the Babirusa was a statue when they were just sleeping. The hippos, however, are a wonderful sight. Its facts all over the walls and the hippos themselves camouflaged among the large smooth rocks in the water are fun to watch.
The Australasia part was all about Kangaroos – the tree kangaroo, wallaby and so. This place had a double-door entrance to have a peek at them.
What I loved most was how there were no cages in sight. The large mammals hopping with their large hind feet before it was extraordinary. There was a screen here that explained the marsupial’s baby’s premature growth in the mother’s pouch.
Tigers and Rift Valley of Ethiopia
I was unsure if I’d get a glimpse of the tiger but there it was! It lay lazing on the grass right after its moat. Then I moved through the Great Rift Valley of Ethiopia finding varieties of primates here. The meerkats were the most interesting of all as they stared at people from their tiny island.
There were the Hamadryas Baboons with large pink butts and a LOT of them, the De Brazza’s Monkey, and the Douc Langur that looked like they had pants on as they moved high on their ropes! Make sure to look down at the large fishes at the Garden Pavillion when walking over the tiny wooden paths.
I remember catching sight of the Colobus Monkey (the peculiar black and white coated ones) but I couldn’t get a shot of it.
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‘Rainforest Fights Back’ Shows at SG Zoo
I was just in time for the Rainforest Fights Back show in the Shaw Foundation Amphitheatre. All shows are inclusive on the tickets for visitors and all are pretty amazing. It reminded me of Jurong Birds Park with the Macaws here. Don’t miss out on the shows if possible.
When I visited the Rainforest Fights Back, not many people were there, but the show was amazing. It began with small monkey breeds walking down the ropes, and pigs, followed by Macaws and other birds swooping over the audience!
There was also a white snake that they asked for a volunteer to hold. At the end of the show, I got closer looks at the Macaw as the trainers fed them and also the snake as it lay on its wooden board.
Other shows to attend:
- Splash Safari (Shaw Foundation Amphitheatre)
- Animal Friends (KidzWorld Amphitheatre)
Elephants of Asia
Right after the Amphitheatre are the Elephants of Asia. There weren’t any large elephants here, but I got a close look at them. With the enclosure in a semicircle, there were many viewpoints for the elephants no matter where they were.
Unlike other places I’d seen elephants, I loved watching the elephants free here without anything strapped to their legs. One was having the time of its life scratching its head to a fake log.
Feeding the elephant is an option here, but like all feeding sessions at the zoo, it costs extra and you’ll need to book your slots here.
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Take a Tram Ride!
While the tram is perfect for a slow open drive through the park, use the tram only to get to the attractions. You’ll miss out a lot if you get around with just the tram – walking gives the best experience of the zoo.
The tram is inclusive for visitors. I used the tram after exiting the Elephants of Asia as I had to get to another side of the zoo. And so I went! The tram’s open on the top as well with a voice immersing us in the animal exhibitions we passed.
Getting off the tram, the Wild Africa part is actually wild with cheetah, white rhinos, giraffes, zebras, leopards, and majestic lions!
However, it’s a sleepy part of the zoo where it’s quiet and most animals sleep and graze throughout the day. Yet I found myself staring at rhinos and cheetahs with awe. They were all so close!
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The most exciting was the lion that slept no more than a few meters away from us beyond the glass enclosure! Other animals here were the naked mole rats in their burrows (I found them personally scary though), the red river hog, and the Madagascar Fossa. Oh, and there were meerkats here again!
Reptopia (Reptile Garden)
Walking under the heat throughout, the Reptopia was a relief with the dark air-conditioned center. The relief ended when I started walking past snakes camouflaged in branches, mushy frogs staring back at me, and exotic lizards like the Northern Caiman Lizard.
Some I didn’t even know existed like the snake-necked turtle and the fish with legs! The most blood-curdling part was the outdoor section (Reptile garden) with giant lizards, large-beaked birds, orangutans on branches right over my head, and ducks and tortoises on the deck sides.
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This was a sweet part of the zoo that started with butterflies flying all over. While we weren’t allowed to touch them, they could still come and sit on us… and some did!
There were birds with pretty crests that walked on the paths, parrots, cute mousedeers, and peacock pheasants. Upon the bridge, kids were also petting the friendly lemurs! All the animals are friendly here thus making it my favorite part of the zoo.
Chimpanzee and Macaques
Towards the end of the zoo were the Celebes Crested Macaques that appeared to have perfect haircuts 24/7 and chimpanzees that sat together like a family. I stood and pondered what they discussed.
On the other side of the path was the Rainforest KidzWorld with the carousel. Here there were usual farm animals like goats and rabbits, so it doesn’t matter if you don’t visit it. However, there is a KFC here if you’re hungry.
African Penguins and Ah Meng Restaurant
Walking back, I went through the remaining bits of the zoo. I stopped at the African penguins and the large swans (I hope they’re swans). The African penguins, unlike most penguins, don’t need a cold environment and walked comfortably at a normal temperature.
They were fun to watch as they dove in the waters. Coming back, I walked through the infamous Ah Meng Restaurant. The restaurant was closed at the time. Fun fact, Ah Meng is the name of a Sumatran Orangutan illegally smuggled from Indonesia but was later given shelter at the SG zoo.
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Singapore Zoo Quick Tips
That concludes my Singapore Zoo Itinerary. Towards the final bits, Singapore Zoo is popular internationally for its exhibits. So all kinds of people visit it. Here are some tips to go smoothly about your trip, keeping in mind all kinds of travelers:
- Keep a whole day for the Singapore Zoo. No kidding, it takes a full day to visit the zoo. Moreover, it’s an hour’s journey from the city center if you’re taking the MRT and shuttle. If you have a tight schedule, at least keep a good 6 hours including transport.
- Keep your bag light! I just had an average backpack but it still felt heavy to walk with.
- Plan your zoo tour keeping the show slots in mind. The zoo is large and takes time to get around. To attend the shows, note the timings and get there 10 minutes early – make use of the tram if needed.
- Buy your feeding session tickets beforehand. To those interested in feeding the animals, it typically starts at S$8-10 per food portion. Book your add-on passes on the Mandai website.
- Wagons and wheelchairs at SG Zoo. For toddlers, strollers are allowed in. The SG Zoo also facilitates wheelchairs for the disabled and elderly. Renting wagons for older kids is also available on the official site.
- Refreshments at the zoo. Water dispensers are available around the SG Zoo. For soft drinks and orange juice, you’ll find vending machines near the rest areas and restaurants.
- Where to eat? You can plan to eat at the Ah Meng Restaurant between 10 am – 4:30 pm inside the restaurant. There’s also a cafeteria with a number of restaurants at the entrance of the zoo.
Protip for Budget Travelers
Eating at the zoo wasn’t on my plan. Being on the lookout for a cheap place, I found an average yet perfect budget-friendly food stall – the Khatib Foodshop. I had dinner here while returning from the zoo on Khatib Shuttle and lunch while I was on my way to the River Safari.
You’ll find this at the Khatib MRT station right at its entrance. I got a decent chicken rice meal for S$2.5 – $3.5 back then. Right beside the Foodshop is 7-Eleven if that’s your type of food.
Tailpiece to Singapore Zoo Itinerary
That sums up the Singapore Zoo Itinerary. After eating at the Khatib Foodshop, I checked into my backpackers’ hostel in Lavender by 7 pm. It was a splendid full day trip and quite a tiring one – my legs were paining with all the walking. In the end, the whole trip was worth it.
I hope this itinerary helps you plan your SG Zoo trip as well. Let me know how it goes, I’ll be more than happy to listen! And last but not least, I believe my readers should have a better experience than I did with my itineraries. I built a travel checklist to keep your trip in order.
Sign up and download your copy of my personalized checklist below. Happy traveling!