Zoos in Singapore

Singapore Zoo


The Singapore Zoo (Шаблон:Zh; Bahasa Melayu. Taman Haiwan Singapura; தமிழ். சிங்கப்பூர் விலங்குக் காட்சிச்சாலை), formerly known as the Singapore Zoological Gardens and commonly known locally as the Mandai Zoo, occupies 28 hectares (0.28 km²) of land on the margins of Upper Seletar Reservoir within Singapore's heavily forested central catchment area. The zoo was built at a cost of S$9m granted by the government of Singapore and opened on 23 June 1973. It is operated by Wildlife Reserves Singapore, who also manage the neighbouring Night Safari and the Jurong BirdPark. There are about 315 species of animal in the zoo, of which some 16% are considered threatened species. The zoo attracts about 1.6 million visitors a year.

From the beginning, Singapore Zoo followed the modern trend of displaying animals in naturalistic, 'open' exhibits, i.e. with hidden barriers, behind moats and shrubbery etc. It also houses the largest captive colony of orangutans in the world. In 1977, primatologist Dr Francine Neago lived inside a cage with eighteen orangutans for six months to study their behavior and communication.


by a waterfall]] The conception of the Singapore Zoo dates from 1969. At the time, the Public Utilities Board (PUB) decided to use some of its land holdings around reservoirs for parks and open recreational facilities. The then Executive Chairman of PUB, Dr Ong Swee Law, set aside 88 hectares of land for the construction of a zoological garden.

In 1970, consultants and staff were hired, and in 1971, the construction of the basic 50 enclosures started. Animals were collected from dealers and donated by sponsors. The Director of the Colombo Zoo in Sri Lanka, Lyn de Alwis, was hired as a special consultant to work out problems inherent in tropical zoos.

On 23 June 1973, the Singapore Zoo opened its gates for the first time with a collection of 270 animals from over 72 species, and a staff of 130. By 1990, 1,600 animals from more than 160 species lived in social groups, housed in 65 landscaped exhibits with boundaries conceived to look as natural as possible.


]]Today, the zoo is a model of the 'open zoo' concept. The animals are kept in spacious, landscaped enclosures, separated from the visitors by either dry or wet moats. The moats are concealed with vegetation or dropped below the line of vision. In the case of dangerous animals which can climb very well, moat barriers are not used. Instead, these animals are housed in landscaped glass-fronted enclosures.

The zoo has not expanded beyond the original 28 hectares. However, 40 hectares of secondary forest were later developed into the Night Safari. The remaining undeveloped land has been kept as wooded land. This and the waters of Upper Seletar Reservoir contribute to the Zoo, giving it a sense of natural, unrestricted space.

Among various attractions that the zoo offers,one highlight is the "Breakfast with an Orangutan" programme that allows visitors to meet and interact closely with the orangutans in the zoo, amongst which includes the famous primate matriarch Ah Meng, (died on February 8, 2008) who was an icon of the Singapore tourism industry. Animal shows, as well as token feedings coupled with live commentaries by keepers, are also the daily staple in the Singapore zoo.

Education and conservation

The Wildlife Healthcare & Research Centre was opened in March 2006 as part of the zoo's efforts in wildlife conservation. The centre further underscores Singapore Zoo and Night Safari’s commitment to conservation research, providing the infrastructure for the parks and overseas zoological partners to better execute their research programmes.

The zoo also embarked on various rescue and conservation efforts to protect wildlife.


]] The zoo also offers various modes of rides available within the premises: trams, animals, boat, pony and horse carriage rides. Additional modes of transportation which can only be rented include: strollers, wagon and wheelchairs.

Friends of the Zoo

The zoo also has a "friends of the zoo" programme, where people can sign up for a yearly pass which grants them special privileges such as:

  • Free and unlimited entry to Singapore Zoo for whole year
  • Free Zoo tram rides and parking
  • A free quarterly "Wildlife wonders" magazine
  • 10% discount at some participating retail outlets

Organising events

There are three event venues available in the zoo, Forest Lodge, Pavilion-By-the-Lake and Garden Pavilion. There are also three cocktail venues, Elephants of Asia, Tiger Trek and Treetops Trail. The Singapore Zoo also facilitates birthday parties and weddings.



  • Sumatran Orangutan

Tiger Trek

  • White Tiger

Wild Africa

  • African Lion
  • Cheetah
  • Giraffe
  • White Rhinoceros
  • Zebra
  • African hunting dog
  • Banded Mongoose

Cat Country

Elephants of Asia

  • Asian Elephant

Primate Kingdom

  • Chimpanzee
  • Mandrill
  • Douc Langur
  • Proboscis Monkey
  • Spider Monkey


  • Hamadryas Baboon

Polar Bears

  • Polar Bear

Reptile Garden

  • Saltwater crocodile
  • Cuvier's dwarf caiman
  • False gharial
  • Spitting cobra
  • Komodo dragon
  • Reticulated Python
  • Burmese python
  • Sail-finned water dragon
  • Bearded dragon
  • Australian frilled lizard
  • Green anaconda
  • Common boa
  • Western diamond backed rattle snake
  • King cobra
  • Alligator snapping turtle
  • Rhinoceros iguana
  • Green iguana
  • Gila monster

Fragile Forest

  • Ring-tailed lemur
  • Malayan Flying Fox
  • Tree Kangaroo

Australian Outback

Sea Lion Show

  • Burmese Python
  • California Sea Lion

Other animals

  • Cotton-top Tamarin
  • Greater Flamingo
  • Guanaco
  • Leopard Cat
  • Malayan Tapir
  • Maned Wolf
  • Pygmy Hippopotamus
  • Sun Bear


On 13 November 2008, two of three white Bengal tigers mauled a zoo cleaner to death after the man jumped into a moat surrounding their enclosure.



  • In 2002, teams of The Amazing Race 3 also came to the Singapore Zoological Gardens as part of a detour.
  • Steve Irwin, the animal activist and conservationalist known as "The Crocodile Hunter", admired the Singapore Zoo greatly, adopting it as the 'sister zoo' to the Australia Zoo. He was at the Singapore Zoo in 2006 to officiate the opening of the Australian outback exhibit.
  • The Singapore Zoo is the first zoo in the world to breed a polar bear in the tropics. Inuka was conceived on 26 December 1990.


  • Michelin 3-star rating
  • ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certifications
  • Singapore Tourism Awards
    • Best Leisure Attraction Experience (20th Awards)
    • Best Managed Tourism Attraction (1st Awards)
    • Best Leisure Attraction (6th Awards)
    • Leisure Attraction of the Year (7th, 8th, 13th, 16th and 17th Awards)
    • Top 10 Best Family Experience (Jungle Breakfast at Singapore Zoo) (2006)
  • ASEAN Tourism Association Awards for Excellence
    • Best New Attraction in ASEAN for Hamadryas Baboons Exhibit (2002)
  • Voted one of the best loved pro-family businesses (2006)



Public bus services

3 bus services (services 138, 926, 927) stop outside the busstop at Mandai Lake Road. An additional service service 171, stops outside Mandai Road. People who want to take this service to the zoo, must alight at Mandai Road and walk down to Mandai Lake Road.

Bus Stop Code: 048131 (S'pore Zoological Gdns)
Service Destination Notes
SBS Transit Trunk Services
138 Ang Mo Kio Bus Interchange
SMRT Buses Trunk Services
926 Woodlands Regional Bus Interchange Operates on Sundays and Public Holidays only
927 Choa Chu Kang Bus Interchange

See also

  • Night Safari
  • Jurong BirdPark
  • Ah Meng
  • Inuka


  • Véronique Sanson (1992), Gardens and Parks of Singapore, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-588588-0
  • Ilsa Sharp (1994), The First 21 Years: The Singapore Zoological Gardens Story, Singapore Zoological Gardens, ISBN 981-00-5674-5

External links

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Tips & Hints
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3 July 2013
Definitely come early (like 8am) and on a weekday outside of school holidays. Visit the River Safari first and you may just be alone with the Pandas feeding like I was!
StJohn Deakins
13 November 2010
Check out the fragile forest - many people walk past as it's not obvious from the path - you walk around inside the enclosure with fruit bats, sloths, lemurs, deer, parrots and butterflies.
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80 Mandai Lake Road, Singapore 729826

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Open hours
Mon-Sun 8:30 AM–6:00 PM

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