We brought the kids to visit Singapore newest attraction, the River Safari (河川生态园) on Saturday. It is conveniently located right beside our award-winning Singapore Zoo but not to be confused with the Night Safari though which showcases nocturnal animals. River Safari is Asia’s first and only river-themed wildlife park in the world.
|The exuberant pair – Caleb and Dana|
Here in Singapore, children (and even adults) have a very hazy concept of what rivers are (For example, how many of us can tell the difference between a river, a stream, a lake and creek?) Our Singapore River is in no way a good representation of the rich and diverse river ecology found in larger rivers elsewhere. Being a modernized non-agricultural economy, our kids lack the exposure to the interdependence between humans and the natural habitats which are fast becoming endangered. A trip to River Safari offers a first-hand educational experience which opens our eyes to the abundant life forms (plants and microorganisms, insects, fish, birds, and even mammals) supported by the world’s rivers.
|This way to the River Safari…|
Even though the park is only about 70% opened and the Amazon River Quest Boat Ride will only be opened to public at year end, it did surpass my expectations. The park was very well-laid out with a leisurely route that takes us on a nature trail around a sprawling compound which spans across the Seletar Reservoir. The park’s also surprisingly well-shaded by the lush greenery and I personally came away with a deeper appreciation of the metaphor ‘River of Life’ (I never knew a river can be so teeming with life!). As a parent, I like the attractive, simple-to-read signages accompanying each exhibit which are specially designed for kids. Dana was engaged by jotting own the names of some of the unique river animals in the handy notebook she brought along.
|It’s Show Time!|
Here are some highlights of The River Safari brought to you by PrincessDanaDiaries!
7 Great Rivers of the World (in order of the nature trail we took)
|The Mississippi River – one river through ten States|
Where it’s located: North America
Unique Facts: Many of Mark Twain’s famous stories are related to or take place near the Mississippi River, this includes the well known ‘Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’.
Animals we saw: Beaver, Alligator Snapping Turtle, Alligator Gar and Mississippi Paddle-fish.
|Water fowls of the Mississipi River|
|Check out the Alligator Snapping Turtle!|
|Fun info-boards for kids!|
|Caleb loves the Busy Beavers!|
|Our nature reporter busy at work…|
|The Mississippi Paddle-fish|
|Check out the jaws of the Alligator Gar!|
|The prehistoric Alligator Snapping Turtle is really quite antique-looking.|
|The Congo River – Deepest River in the World|
Where it’s located: Africa
Unique Facts: The world’s deepest river, going beyond 220 metres!
Animals we saw: World’s largest Freshwater Puffer Fish and African Dwarf Crocodile.
|African Dwarf Croc – small but deadly?|
|The River Nile – Longest River on Earth|
Where it’s located: Egypt, Africa
Unique Facts: The most famous and longest river in the world and only one that flows south to north as it meanders through 10 African countries.
Animals we saw: Sharp-toothed Tiger-fish and the Giraffe Catfish.
|A friendly and passionate guide giving us commentary…|
|Congo Tetra on Display…|
|Bright, attractive signage in the park…|
|Ganges River – The River of Faith|
Where it’s located: India and Bangladesh, Asia
Unique Facts: The world’s most revered river, supports around 400 million people.
Animals we saw: Crocodilian Indian Gharial, Softshell Turtle and Goonch Catfish.
|The Indian Gharial has a very distinct snout!|
|They are really huge!|
|Here’s looking at you Buddy…|
|How to distinguish a family of crocs…|
|Murray River -Food Bowl of Australia!|
Where it’s located: Australia
Unique Facts: Murray River covers one-seventh of the earth’s driest continent – Australia.
Animals that will be showcased: Largest freshwater fish – the Murray Cod, and the living fossil, the Australian Lungfish.
|The Mekong River – Mother of All Rivers|
Where it’s located: Thailand and Laos, Asia
Unique Facts: The world’s largest freshwater aquariums. At least 60 million people in Asia depends on it for fish and other resources.
Animals we saw: Magnificent Mekong Catfish.
|Huge Mekong Fishes…|
|Mommy, can we eat these fishes?|
|Yangtze River, otherwise known as 长江 (long river)|
Where it’s located: China, Asia
Unique Facts: Asia’s longest river and the world’s third longest. It holds 40% of China’s freshwater resources and one-third of China’s population lives around it .
Animals we saw: World’s largest amphibian – the Giant Salamander and the rare Chinese Alligator.
|The rare Chinese Alligator is so tiny!|
|It’s not everyday that we see a Giant Salamander|
|Don’t miss the Squirrel Monkey Forest!|
This is the first time we saw these short-furred, highly active and very sociable Squirrel Monkeys. Apparently, they have the heaviest brain in proportion to body mass, this makes them one of the most highly intelligent primates. When we were there, they were having a field day playing ‘catch’ with one another, amusing the visitors!
|Our distant alert and agile primate…|
|Slender fingers and toes…|
|Whatcha looking at?|
|Playing on the trees…|
After all the hype, it’s finally our turn to meet the famed Pandas from China- Kai Kai and Jia Jia. This has got to be the kids’ favourite exhibit, I suspect partly because it’s so cool inside (with temperatures kept between 18 to 22C) and the pandas are really adorable. I love the Red Pandas too – they are really handsome looking and regal.
|Ecstatic Day Out!|
|JiaJia enjoying her bamboo lunch!|
|Kaikai’s feeding too!|
|JiaJia doing her rounds in the enclosure…|
|Close up shot of JiaJia…|
|Enjoying the AC and the view of the Pandas..|
|Different paws for different purposes!|
|Interactive displays which captured the kids’ attention…|
|Fun facts in bite-sized bits for kids!|
|We spotted the Red Panda!|
|Beautifully perched atop a branch…|
|Caught in stealth motion…|
|Did you know that you can swim among trees in the Amazon?|
Where it’s located: South America
Unique Facts: 2nd longest river in the world but by far the largest by water flow with an average discharge greater than the other seven largest rivers combined. In this fascinating underwater ecosystem, aquatic animals swim and live amidst the trees and plants until the waters recede.
Animals we saw: The Piranha, Arapaima, Sea Cows and Manatees.
|The mystery of the Flooded Amazon Forest…|
|The inquisitive pair…|
The Amazon Flooded Forest is our last stop of the day and it is my most absolute favourite. It’s so educational (never knew the Amazon Forest can be so seriously flooded for as long as 6 months each year!) I stepped inside not knowing what to expect and was awed to see this big gigantic aquarium. It’s similar to the S.E.A Aquarium (which we visited last month on Dana’s Birthday) but what awed me were these huge Sea Cows and Manatees swimming inside. I was totally mesmerized and couldn’t contain my delight as I admire these stuff that legends are made of. Our creator God is truly creative and amazing!
|These took my breath away…|
|The graceful Manatee…|
|The kids were fascinated, so did we…|
|The Princes and the mystical ‘Mermaid’…|
We spent nearly 5 hours (from 9am to 2pm) at the River Safari and only managed to explore three quarters of the park (the entire left section plus a the small bottom right section on the map). We can’t wait for the Amazon River Quest Boat Ride to be operational in a few months’ time before we return and check out the rest it has to offer!
|Click to enlarge River Safari Park Map|
It’s open every day of the year. 9am to 6pm.
In view of the fact that the Amazon River Quest Boat Ride is not available, River Safari admission tickets are currently sold at discounted price.
Child (3-12 years old) S$16.00
Senior Citizens (above 60 years old) $12.50
Click here for Park Hopper Special Packages (Singapore Zoo, Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari and River Safari)
|Farewell shot of Dana and Daddy…|
|We’ll be back!|