The River Safari Singapore officially opened in February 2014 and is just a minute walk from the entrance of the Singapore Zoo. The park is a fresh water river themed wildlife park, with dedicated zones that highlight famous waterways from around the world. There are around 200 native animals in the zones to explore and learn about.
There are so many amazing things to do in Singapore with kids, these amazing animal experiences are only a few of the family friendly Singapore experiences. While I love travelling in South East Asian in general, Singapore is definitely one of my favourites cities.
We only had one day to explore the Singapore Zoo, River Safari and the Night Safari so can you can imagine we set a cracking pace. When we arrived at the River Safari Singapore we only had 1 hour before the park was closing. The kids were keen to do the rides and give some of the animals a miss, especially ones they had seen before elsewhere. I think after being at Singapore Zoo all day, the animals weren’t much of a highlight.
This is a great area for kids to learn all about the rivers of the world. We were wandering along reading about the rivers and where they are located in the world on the map boards. First up is the Mississippi River, animals displayed include an Alligator Snapping Turtle, Alligator Gar and the Mississippi Puddlefish, all of which were new to me. Moving on to the Congo and the Nile rivers, we saw an African Dwarf Crocodile, Tiger Fish, Giant Puffer Fish, Congo Tetra. Caelan loved the Tiger Fish with all his sharp teeth on show. The Ganges River included an Indian Gharial, which looks very similar to an alligator. There was also an enormous Goonch Catfish which I thought was rather ugly!
We then moved on to the Mary River in Australia…….crickets! Craig and I looked at each other and simultaneously said ‘Where’s the Mary?’. Great Aussie’s we are! We then thought that they probably meant the Murray River and got it wrong. As we walked off we both forgot about it. While writing this post it reminded me so I looked it up and low and behold there is a Mary River, it’s up north. Now there appears to be two, one near Brisbane and one near Darwin. I can’t be certain which one they are referring to but they had Australian Lungfish, Archerfish and Mudskippers on display.
Just behind the Mary River display is the new kids River Safari Singapore touch pool. Kids love touch pools and it gives them the opportunity to touch things in a safe environment. There were star fish, sea cucumbers, horseshoe crabs and a few little sting rays in there also. The kids are asked to wash their hands before and after to ensure it’s also a safe environment for the animals in the water. Keira loves this type of thing and she was straight in there handling all the sea creatures.
The last two waterways were the mighty Mekong River and the Yangtze River, which included animals such as Crab Eating Macaques, Giant Freshwater Stingrays, Giant Mekong Catfish, an Elephant Trunk Snake, Yangtze Alligator, Giant Chinese Salamander and the Sturgeon.
It was about here that we got told by a staff member that we had 30 mins before the boat rides close for the night so we gave the Giant Panda Forest a miss. The kids felt they wanted to do the boat rides more and in particular see the manatee.
The Amazon River Quest is a new edition to the River Safari Singapore it’s basically a log ride where you float through the river environment viewing animals native to the amazon. The ride lasts around 10 mins and is suitable for all ages. You will pass up to 30 different animals that you might normally find in the Amazon including a Jaguar (behind glass), a Giant Anteater, Brazilian Tapirs, Brown-headed Spider Monkeys, Brown-tufted Capuchins, Collared Peccaries, Black Howler Monkeys, Caribbean Flamingos, Scarlet Ibis and a Capybara. The highlight was of course the Jaguar and he was right at the window when we went past.
We then had 4 mins to run from the Amazon River Quest to the final ride for the day, the River Safari Cruise, we just made it! The kids were a bit tired and ratty by now and Keira had a little melt down and sat on the other side of the boat from us in protest!
I have to admit that the River Cruise was a little well, boring. The boat goes around the reservoir and at best you might spot a rhino, elephant or giraffe in the distance. On our trip we only spotted a rhino and he was pretty far away. The kids quickly lost interest as there wasn’t anything to look at. It was heading towards dusk though which may have had something to do with it.
Recorded to be the world’s largest freshwater aquarium and housing 18 animal species including the Manatee and an Arapaima. Alannah had been excited to see a Manatee and Craig told her how the Manatee was how the legend of mermaids originated.
This wildlife park is actively engaging in a global captive breeding programs which should go some way to ensuring the long term survival of a number of endangered animals including the Manatee and the Giant River Otter. That in itself is reason enough for me to support the River Safari Singapore concept.
Depending on what your itinerary allows, you are likely best to purchase a multi bundle package that includes up to four parks – Singapore Zoo, River Safari, Night Safari and the Jurong Bird Park. If you are only interested in visiting the River Safari, click here for prices. There are various combinations of bundles so click here to see what suits you best.
Just note that you will be required to purchase tickets for the Amazon River Quest, these are not included in the ticket price and are currently $5SGD per adult & $3SGD for a child. Personally I find this disappointing, if I pay an entry fee, I believe that all activities inside should be included in that price.
There are a couple of options for food and refreshments inside the River Safari and are listed below. Do note though that there are a number of options located at the entrance to Singapore Zoo so if the options below don’t float your boat, its only a 1 minute walk back to the zoo:
We enjoyed the River Safari Singapore although we did rush through it after over staying at the Singapore Zoo and having a booking at the Night Safari. If I were to do it again, I would allow a full day at the Singapore Zoo then a separate day for the River Safari and the Night Safari. This would allow a later start on the second day arriving at the River Safari in the afternoon and going straight to the Night Safari from there.
The kids learnt a lot and wanted to go back to the Amazon River Quest and could have easily spent more time at the Manatee. I think there is plenty of scope for this wildlife reserve to grow and expand and I envision it will only get better. It’s well set out with plenty of room, it does not get the visitors that the other two parks currently get. This is likely because it lacks some big ticket animals to attract the crowds.
We have been lucky enough to visit Singapore a number of times and we find it to extremely family friendly. You can read our reviews of some of our top things to do in Singapore with kids:
Universal Studios Singapore – located on Sentosa Island its a great theme park with things to do for kids of all ages.
Kidzania Singapore – a fantastic way for kids aged 4-17 to role play in different employment roles including a pilot, flight crew, doctor, dentist, courier, shop assistant, lab technician and even an ice creamer maker!
We’ve stayed at a few different hotels in Singapore, you can read our reviews from our favourites by clicking the links:
Shangri La Singapore – located just off Orchard Rd, a great central hotel and the buffet breakfast is amazing.
Holiday Inn City Central Singapore – a short walk to the MRT will get you anywhere you want to go. You must have dinner the the Tandoori Restaurant on the basement level.
Marina Bay Sands Hotel – who doesn’t want to swim in the world’s most famous infinity pool? Need I say more!
Have you been to the River Safari Singapore, what did you think? Would love to hear your comments in the section below.
Sal and Co!
Disclaimer – I had a mutually beneficial arrangement with the River Safari, although as always my opinion is my own.