12.23.2013

River Safari - The River is calling


River Safari
Having been to the zoo and most recently the Night Safari, we decide to venture into the River Safari over the holiday. We had only been to the Giant Panda Forest during our zoo trip, so this would be a new experience for us.

River Safari Map
The River Safari is the newest addition to the zoo. It has opened to public since April 2013 , so we were a little late to the party. As the saying goes, it is better to be late than never. A day out in the 'wild' sure beats being cooped up at home.
We reached the River Safari at noon. At that time, it was drizzling and we thought we might have to miss the exhibits. Thankfully this attraction is about 95 % sheltered thus making it a perfect place for wet weather activity. In addition, this park is child friendly, so bring your strollers along if you need to!
The River is calling
There are 3 main areas to explore at River Safari. They are the Rivers of the World, Giant Panda Forest and Wild Amazonia. We suggested to start the journey with the Rivers of the World. Upon entry, you will be greeted by a widescreen movie on the curved wall depicting the Rivers and it's importance. We reckon that you should not linger too long here as the journey awaits. It took us about 4 hours to explore the River Safari, so do allocate sufficient time for this tour.
Rivers of the World
1 Mississippi RiverLocation : North America
Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry
This is the largest river system in North America. Nicknamed Ol' Man River, this is home to Beavers, Alligator snapping turtle and Mississippi Paddle fish.

Interesting : This river flows from Canada all the way through United States and ends at the Gulf of Mexico!
Mississippi natives
2 Congo RiverLocation : Africa
Congo River
Billed as the world's deepest river, the deepest part of th river goes beyond 220 meters deep. Hidden beneath this river is a hidden world of beauty and serenity. Expect to see Congo Tetra, Giant a freshwater puffer and Jewel Cihild in this part of the River. 

Interesting : The Congo River is Africa largest source of natural renewable hydropower, generating 13% of global hydropower potential
Neon Congo Tetra
s3 River NileLocation : Egypt / Africa
River Nile
Next up is River Nile, the Kingpin of Rivers. It holds the record for the world's longest river at approximately 6650km. Lookout for sneaky African dwarf Crocodile, fearsome Tiger Fishes and curious Catfish here.
African Dwarf Crocodile

Interesting : A part of the River Nile flows through the desert from Sudan to Egypt.
Tiger fish
4 Ganges RiverLocation : India and Bangadesh

Known as the River of Faith, the Ganges River is most scared to followers of Hinduism. The revered Indian Gharial , softshell turtle and Goonch Catfish call this river home.
Goonch River
Interesting : The Indian Gharial may be a revered animals, but is now a critically endangered species with less than 200 left in the wild.

5 Murray RiverLocation : Australia
Murray River
Australia's largest river is also known as the Food bowl of the nation, as it provides a source of living for the inhabitants revolving around this river.Catch the Murray Cod, red clawed crayfish and One of the worlds oldest fish species, the Australian lungfish.

 Interesting : The Australian lungfish species has existed for 400 million years. It is one of the fishes that can survive out of the water for several days if kept moist. 

6 Mekong RiverLocation : South East Asia
Mekong River
The river is affectionary known as 'Mother of all Rivers' by the people of Asia. You can find crab eating macaque ( someone should introduce them to Jumbo Seafood) and some of the world's largest freshwater animal species here
Crab eating Macaque
There is a large tank, the size of 4 double decker buses housing the Mekong giant catfish and freshwater stingray.
Large water exhibit
Interesting : Most of the fishes in the exhibit are bigger than us!
Fish food
7 Yangtze RiverLocation : China
China Main Street
China Main Street is not located at Shanghai or Beijing , rather it is the Yangtze River. This river is Asia's largest river and 1/3 of China 's population lives around it. Catch the rare smallish Chinese Alligator, the giant Salamander, and the Sturgeon, a 200 million year old 'living dinosaur' species.

Interesting : Giant Salamander is an ancient creature and the world's largest amphibian. It can grow up to 1.8 meters and weigh over 60kg. However it is very gentle and even known as 'baby fish' due to the sound it makes that resembles a human infant crying.
Yangtze Creatures
Giant Panda Forest
Giant Panda Forest
Our next stop is the Giant Panda Forest. We are no stranger to this place as we were here during its soft launch. However ,the first visit was a mini chaos given it's large crowd. Even the pandas were scare off initially.This time round, we did managed to see the Giant Pandas , Jia Jia and Kai Kai and they did pose for us.
Golden pheasant
Before the pandas , we were greeted by the most colourful bird we have seen to date, the golden pheasant.
Red panda
The red Panda is discovered 50 years before the giant pandas. They are known as the original pandas. However they are not related to the giant pandas.
Kai Kai enjoying his meal
The Giant Pandas are a wide life conservation icon. With only 1600 left in the wild, it is considered to be an endangered specie. There are currently only 27 Giant pandas outside China, making it a rare sight out of China.
Kai and Kai
Kai Kai was kind enough to pose for us.
Kai Kai
Interesting : Certain bamboos grow up to 2 meters per day. It is necessary given the huge daily appetite of pandas(12-38kg of bamboo per day).
Pandas r Us
Jia Jia doing her walk.
Wild Amazonia
Wild Amazonia
Across the bridge was another area we explored. It is time to leave China and head down to Wild Amazonia.
Toca Toucan
There were only a few animals located along the walkway. We only saw the magnificent Toco Toucan and shy Golden Head Lion Tamarin.
Golden headed Lion Tamarin
The highlight of the place would be the Amazon River Quest. This boat adventure is only for children above the age of 3 and height of 1.06metres. It is suppose to open in December, but it was closed while we were there on the 1st.
The Attraction is now open to public.
Amazon River Quest
Still there is a sleeping Jaguar to entertain us.
Jaguarundi
Or maybe just indulge in a little photo taking.
Add caption

Squirrel Monkey Forest

The pace picked up when we head into the squirrel monkey forest. We experienced a walk thorough huge Amazon forest with a lot of Squirrel monkeys zipping up above us.The Squirrel monkies are indeed a playful lot. They kind of remind us of someone we know... Hmm would that be us?

Don't miss the Giant green Anaconda located at the entrance.Interesting: Confirm sightings of Giant Anaconda is at 7-11 meters . However in the past sightings of 50 meters long Anacondas are reported but not verified.
Green Giant Anaconda
Amazon Flooded Forest
Amazon Flooded Forest
Our last stop would be the Amazon Flooded forest.
Underwater tunnel
The entrance was dramatic as we had to dash through an underground water tunnel.
Mata mata turtle
Along the way, we spotted the Mata Mat turtle , dodge red piranha , fight off an electric eel and were saved by Angel fishes.
Amazonia creatures
It was indeed an adventure !
Red bellied Piranha
Interesting : For 6 months in a year, seasonal rain will flood the Amazon basin, creating an ecosystem where the forest is submerged in 10 meters of water.
World's largest Freshwater Aquarium
You can view this amazing scene at the world's largest freshwater aquarium where you can view fishes swimming amongst trees.
Check this panel out for a surprise!
There is also an interesting optical illusion at the glass panel opposite the big freshwater aquarium exhibit. Walk slowly towards it until you almost touch the glass panel. Along the walk, you would feel that you are transported to the river bed. We were also in shock when we peer closer to the panel.
Manatees
One of the more impressive animal found is the manatee found in the aquarium. They are sometimes mistaken as mermaids, so it is no surprise when Little Lou thought that they were people in wetsuits. There are a total of 18 species found in this Amazz
Arapaima
You can get up close and personal with the fishes at a side panel along the way up.
Otter
Finally we were greeted by the Giant River Otter at the exit. Thanks to Little Lou's navigation skills! we managed to cover 99 % of River Safari!
The navigator
Restaurants
River Safari Tea House
River Safari Tea house
After a long adventure, naturally one would get very hungry. There are 2 restaurants to choose from at the River Safari. The first is the River Safari located at the entrance serving over 60 Singaporean and Chinese dishes. 
Opening 10am-6pm
Mama Panda Kitchen
Mama Panda Kitchen
For those who want a break while within River Safari, Mama Panda kitchen is ready to serve you a feast of Chinese dishes such as bamboo rice and the popular Panda Pau available in Chocolate or Red Bean.
Panda Pau
There might also be a surprise sighting of a popular Singapore Zoo resident at the glass panel outside Mama Panda Kitchen.
Who is here?
lf you are lucky you can catch Inuka, our locally born polar bear swimming for its lunch.
Inuka
Last but not least, make a stop at the souvenir store outside the River Safari. You might just spot two Giant Pandas roaming int the wild. Don't forget to catch them for a photo op!


Final verdict
So is River Safari a must go attraction?

Compared to the zoo, it does not have as much animals nor does it have a children play area. In addition, there is a lack of animal shows compared to both Singapore Zoo and River Safari ( there is one but it is not publicized on the website or brochure )

However, the best part of it , is that it is sheltered and in parts air conditioned. Most important, you get to catch the Giant pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia.It was a good stroll round the park, seeing mostly aquatic animals.

We reckoned it would make a good rainy day attraction to visit. Would the Amazon River quest be the game changer? Only time will tell...
The Roaming Pandas
River Safari
80 Mandai Lake Road
Singapore 729826
Opening 9am-6pm
Tickets : Adult ($35) Child age 3-12( $23)




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