Friday, April 2, 2010

A Trip to the Singapore Zoo

Hey all,

For a zooaphile--is that a real word?--getting to travel to different zoos around the world is the next best thing to eating chocolate while having your lover...

Wait... My bad. This is NOT that type of installment. (CJ puts that idea away for another blog and goes back to the keyboard)

Moving on... I love zoos. I think I've said that before and being able to visit each one I have is a treat I can't begin to explain. Some are okay zoos, some are outstanding. Some are very traditional, some are highly creative. And each time I get to wander around and see one, I count myself as being very lucky.

And the Singapore Zoo is one of the best I've seen.

First off, it is large and they've done an exceptional job of making the habitats as close to what would be in the wild as they could. See HERE for the map. (click to enlarge) While it's not an open range zoo, where the animals have quite a bit of acreage, Singapore's Zoo for the most part has given a great deal of space to their displays. Especially those creatures who are by nature, wanderers. Nothing is sadder than seeing a lion or cheetah pacing unceasingly in front of their bars, their eyes fixed on something in the distance only they can see.

Next, I think the reason I enjoyed the zoo is that it was set up in very specific areas. The Rainforest, Wild Africa, Australian Outback and one I'd never seen before, the Great Rift Valley of Ethiopia. Each of these areas had their respective animals, but they'd taken it a step further and added ambiance.

The Rift Valley had information not just about the baboons, Nubian ibex and mongooses that lived there, but their human counterparts as well. Human habitats and stories sat along animal, giving each area a natural and believable feel. I was impressed.

They also added different flora that was interesting to discover. The orchid garden and a tropical crops plantation showed what blooms and fruits could be grown in this area. For a garden nut like me, that was beyond cool.

And thirdly, they had creatures I'd never before seen, which for someone like me is awesome. I have a list that I tick off and while it may be easy to say you've seen an Asian elephant or a giant tortoise, it's not so easy to find a babirusa or a two-toed sloth. So, the Singapore Zoo, like the Night Safari had quite a few new animals that I was excited to see in the fur, figuratively speaking.

Last--and this is what amazed Jonathon and I the most--the zoo is set up to have several of its residents free ranging. It's one thing to see a rabbit hop by your feet or watch as a deer nibbles on grass next to your path, but the Singapore Zoo has taken it a step further.

Several of their primates are free ranging.

It starts right at the beginning with their cotton-top tamarins. These cuties are in zoos everywhere, but I'd never seen them set up with a house on a little island, yet with pipes and bamboo tubes that would allow them to go pretty much wherever they wanted. But they are small and shy so they don't usually go far.

Not so the Orangutans. They are open and gregarious and love to show off, so to allow them to go where they want? Amazing.

They are careful. They have this wonderful island habitat, but like the cotton-tops, they have trees, ropes and pipes that allow them to move close enough to humans to interact if the chance occurs. It's quite something to be standing on a bridge, look up and see a orangutan juvenile about three feet away from you. Thank God it was only a piece of fruit he offered us and not something else that primates enjoy throwing!!!!

There were also several other primates that we saw could move around and have close encounters of the human kind. Siamangs, proboscis monkeys, and another creature that I think might have been a colobus monkey. These little dudes not only were out of their enclosure, one followed people around and grinned toothily when he was fed a treat.

The zoo has trams too, and once we'd walked everywhere we could, we took a tour and listened to the narration. But to be able to wander around and see all the magnificent animals wasn't something I'll ever forget.

It took us most of the day to see everything and I think I could have spent several days more just sitting and enjoying the different areas. I love going to a zoo, finding a habitat and just sitting for hours watching the critters. That's when you really see things happening.

So, now to some more pictures. I took dozens, but I'll only show these. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did taking them.

* * *

They had this great polar bear exhibit. One of them was sleeping, but this bear was swimming and playing with a tire. He kept swimming right by the glass and I took this pic not knowing he was blowing bubbles at me. LOL

We met these kids at one of the exhibits. They were doing some crazy scavenger hunt and Americans (this happens a lot to us) were one of the choices to find. So we obliged and had our pictures taken with them. From that point on, whenever we saw them around the zoo, they would all bow and chant our names.

This cute little critter is a meerkat. There are dozens of them in the burrows, but he was the only one awake because he was the guard. He'd pop out, eye us craftily then disappear.

These were in the flora garden I spoke of earlier. These are giant water lilies and the notice said when they are this big they can support the weight of a six month old child. I just loved the way they looked. So primitive and tropical. Like something out of Lost in Space. LOL

This amazing fellow is the obviously sleepy two-toed sloth. His brother was across the encounter slowly chewing on fruit and this guy started to go see what was for lunch. Unfortunately, he fell asleep half way there. He is lying so close to where I was standing, I could have leaned down and scritched his tummy.

Here are a couple of the orangutan I mentioned earlier. This is an adult female (we think the mommy) and a baby. They were playing when we first arrived, chasing each other around the boulders, then they went high and just after this they crossed out of the encounter and walked above us where we stood on the boardwalk. It was great!!!

I'm so glad this picture came out. This is in the Rift Valley of Etheopia where the baboon exhibit was set. There were hundreds of the creatures, each male with his harem. This adorable tot fell asleep in his mama's lap and she decided to join him for a snooze. My favorite pic of all I took!

These magnificent white tigers were prowling around the enclosure because it was close to feeding time. These two sniffed noses then paused for a photo op. LOL The other one is just behind them in the bushes. They were so beautiful to watch.

Jonathon said I had to put this in. LOL He read it out loud and busted up. But after I rapped him hard on the head, he told me of course I was worth more than a stupid chick.
I was worth at least two! LOLOL

Anyway, there you have it. A peek at the Singapore Zoo. If you are interested in learning more about the zoo and its inhabitants, please check it out at their WEBSITE.

You all have a great weekend. I'll be back on Monday with a look at the Singapore Bird Park, which is the third and last leg of this triangle of fun and interesting creatures to see.

CJ England
Follow Your Dreams


Michelle Houston/Houston Michaels said...

CJ, I am also an avid zoo goer, so it was wonderful to see this post of yours. Now, of course, I am jealous. LOL

And since I LOVE birds, I will look forward to your next post. : )

Stephanie said...

That was amazing CJ!! More zoos should take the example they've made with their exhibits.

Can't wait to see all the colorful birds.

Julie said...

I'm a zoo lover too, even though I don't get to go much anymore. There are a couple around the world I'd like to visit. The white tigers are beautiful. Big cats are my faves when I go to the zoo.

Miss Scarlett and I look forward to seeing the birds. ;)

Phylis said...

I love the big cats too! The white tigers are gorgeous! Sounds like you had a great time. I would love to go to a zoo again. Someday.

Anonymous said...

Great Blog, CJ! I thought he flowers looked particularly beautiful.
When I saw your polar bear I was reminded of the time I took my pre-k/k class to the Bronx Zoo on a class trip. While we were watching [and filming] the polar bears, one of the giant bears very obviously ‘relieved’ himself. The kids went nuts! They loved it. That event dominated the post-trip conversations by far and the kids roared every time we watched the video! LOL. I guess you had a ‘poop-free’ visit?
Sara J. ~ : - ]

rm2h said...

The pictures are amazing. You and your husband take such beautiful pictures. I have been saving them to look at whenever I want.

CJ England said...


Glad you are enjoying everything. I think you'll love the Bird Park!


CJ England said...

Thanks, Stephanie.

I agree. Zoos should set an example for each other.


CJ England said...


The white tigers were amazing. I've seen others, but these seemed so healthy and beautiful.

Ms. Scarlett will be pleased on Monday!


CJ England said...


Aren't they. They were just awe inspiring in a way.


CJ England said...

LOL SaraJ,

Yes. Poop free this time, but at Animal Kingdom in Disney World we saw Elephant's peeing (and OMG do they do a lot) and baboons making babies. Now that was a grinning primate! LOL


CJ England said...

Thanks rm2h,

We try. I'm pretty shaky, so I take tons and pick out the best! LOL