Open 365 days a year, the Singapore Zoo (commonly known as the Mandai Zoo) is a favorite among locals in Singapore and international travelers alike. Famous for its signature night safaris and its controversial “croc coaching” shows, the zoo has a great deal to offer.
Situated on approximately 60 acres of heavily forested land on the edge of Singapore’s Upper Seletar Reservoir, the zoo’s relatively short history dates to just 1973, but since its birth it has made rapid progress. Home to more than 300 species of animal, the zoo, along with the neighboring Jurong Bird Park, attracts a million and a half visitors each year. Among its many species, the Mandai is home to the largest captive colony of orangutans in the world, the famed group with whom primatologist Dr. Francine Neago lived inside a cage for six months in 1977.
Among the various attractions on hand is the “Breakfast with an Orangutan” program that allows visitors to meet and interact closely with the Zoo’s group of friendly orangutans. Animal shows featuring token feedings with live commentaries by handlers are also a regular occurrence. Several notable conservationists and public figures have championed the zoo, including Steve Irwin, known as “The Crocodile Hunter,” who advocated for adopting it as the “sister zoo” to the Australia Zoo.
The Singapore Zoo is divided up into various zones, including:
- Frozen Tundra: Features raccoon dogs, polar bears and wolverines
- Wild Africa: Patterned after the grassy plains of Africa; here you can spot amazing creatures like rhinos, cheetahs and zebras
- Fragile Forest: Complex rainforest eco-system home to creatures like lesser mousedeer, two-toed sloth, Malayan flying fox and ring-tailed lemurs
- Australian Outback: Be sure to feed the kangaroo in the Australian Outback zone
- Great Rift Valley of Ethiopia: Impressive recreation of the Great Rift Valley of Ethiopia
- Treetops Trail: The Rainforest Courtyard at the entrance leads to an elevated platform in the forest canopy where you can see brown lemurs and white faced saki monkeys
- Gibbon Island: Look at red-ruffed lemurs, white-handed & agile gibbons, and black howler monkeys — just some of the species housed at Gibbon Island
- Primate Kingdom: 39 species of primates are housed here, like lion-tailed macaques, the black and white colobus monkey, the patas monkey, brown capuchin and douc langur
- Reptile Garden: Reptiles include a Komodo dragon, rhino iguana and Aldabra giant tortoise
- Critters Longhouse: Small critters from all over the globe, including Goeldi’s Monkey, Spotted Mousedeer and Malayan Porcupine
- Tropical Crops & Orchid Garden: Don’t miss Singapore’s national flower, Vanda “Miss Joaquim”
The Singapore Zoo offers a number of rides, shows and special interactive experiences. Here’s a look at a few of the offerings:
- Tram Ride: Take the tram for 2.2 kilometers to experience all of Singapore Zoo without getting wiped out in the heat. Hop off and on again as you wish. Additional fee, but unlimited rides.
- African Hooves and Horns Tour: Take this private tour to get up close and personal with the white rhino. Feed both the white rhino and giraffes. You can also watch the cheetah feeding session. 1 hour and 45 minute tour, additional fee.
- Keeper Encounter: If you’re traveling with kids, consider the Keeper Encounter. This free option introduces farm friends to kids where they can interact and learn the proper way to handle the animals.
If you’re wondering about food at the zoo, there are a number of dining options. Aside from the Jungle Breakfast with Wildlife, food options include:
- Casa Italia: Italian gelato
- Inuka Cafe: Breakfast, lunch and sweet treats
- Ah Meng Kitchen: Traditional Singaporean dishes like Nasi Lemak and Fried Be Hoon
- Chawang Bistro: Hot dogs, pastas and soups
- The Wild Deli: Sandwiches and coffee
- Ah Meng Restaurant: Casual dining
- Safari Scoops: Ice creams, sorbets and sundaes
- KFC Restaurant
Three venues at the zoo, the Forest Lodge, Pavilion-By-the-Lake and Garden Pavilion are all available for private events as well as three cocktail bars. Visitors get around the sprawling complex by means of trams, boats, pony and horse carriage rides, as well as strollers, wagons and wheelchairs, all of which can be rented.
See breakfast with the Orangutans up close and personal with this Viator video
Planning a trip? Browse Viator’s Singapore tours & things to do, top Singapore attractions, and top Singapore travel recommendations. Be sure to check out our Singapore Zoo Night Safari Tour with optional Buffet Dinner and Singapore Zoo Morning Tour with optional Jungle Breakfast amongst Orangutans for the ultimate Singapore Zoo experience. Searching on your phone? Bookmark our Singapore Night Safari mobile page for quick and easy access on the go.