River Safari!

Friday, December 13, 2013



A fortnight ago, I had the pleasure of hosting a company's Family Day at the zoo and Nian brought Dylan down to visit me so since we were there, we took the chance to visit the new River Safari!

Check out Dylan's expression hahahaha. Don't know what he was so amused by lol.

Then after this picture was taken, he showed us another epic expression:


Let me zoom it in for you:


HAHAHAHA asking for a kiss is it, honey? *kiss kiss*

Do you know that River Safari has the world's largest freshwater aquarium? It had so many different types of freshwater fishes, alligators, cods etc, it was really an eye-opener for us!


Not to mention, we also saw Kaikai and Jiajia hahaha. It's the second time Dylan saw a mascot but this time, he wasn't so afraid anymore! He even waved byebye to Jiajia and touched her nose, says the proud mummy. ^0^

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After loitering around outside taking photos with the mascots and the signboard, we finally went into the Safari proper and started our first river - the Mississippi River!



Most parts of these river features are sheltered, which we really appreciate because when we went, it was drizzling slightly. It would have been very difficult to get Dylan to see all the fishes had it been an open area because we'd have to keep him in his pram.

We particularly liked the beaver who was swimming everywhere. Very, very show off!


Apart from the beaver, we also saw the alligator snapping turtle, who earned its name because of its powerful jaws. Apparently, the snapping force of its jaw is so strong, it can break a person's arm! :OOOO

Then we saw this Mississippi Paddlefish, whose roe are used for none other than the prized caviar.


There is a Chinese Paddlefish further down in the Yangtze River section of the River Safari which is worth a visit because the Chinese counterpart is a gravely endangered species. I mean, at the rate we eat their babies, it wouldn't be surprising that they are dying out so quickly. :(

Thankfully, there are many different types of caviar substitutes available now... so I hope it will give these guys a break and let them reproduce peacefully!

We then moved down to the Congo River and the Nile River (where there were many giant arowanas).. and then we reached the Ganges River.

I love how River Safari decorated their environment. In the Ganges River section, you can see that the area is filled with orangey, sun-baked tiles alike to the villages in India. In fact, they even have random pieces of sari, hanging as laundry!


The highlight of the Ganges River is the Indian Gharial, whom I was sitting on.

"The Indian Gharial has its origins traced as far back as the days of the dinosaurs. While abundant in numbers in the 1940s, its population plummeted by a shocking 98 percent within three decades.  Intensive conservation efforts since the 1970s have snatched it from the jaws of extinction.  Still critically endangered today, it is estimated that there are less than 200 left in the wild. Because of its inability to move well on land, it prefers to spend most of its time in water, coming up on land only to bask or lay eggs." - (credits)

Afterwhich, we moved through the Murray River, Mekong River to the Yangtze River.

The Yangtze River is very memorable too, because of the Chinese alligator with an extremely short snout. The Chinese Alligator is one of the world’s rarest crocodilians and it is saved from all the hunting from poachers because of its crazy hard, armoured body that is too tough to be made into leather.

Since its skin is so tough, nobody hunted it for food either.

And after a long walk through the rivers of the world, we finally went into the Giant Panda Forest, which may I add, is quite chilly so remember to bring a shawl or something if you're afraid of the cold!


Saw the Red Panda first and I had to stifle a squeal because the zoo-keepers told us not to make too much noise in the enclosure woops. :x

Turned around the corner and saw Kaikai sleeping very soundly.


Jiajia, on the other hand, was also asleep but because she is (as according to the information board) more shy, she will usually sleep in her private quarters, unlike the dude Kaikai who practically sleeps everywhere.

By the way, do you know that wild giant pandas usually live alone in the forest? OMG so lonely. And as of now, there are lesser than 1600 wild pandas in the world because of deforestation.



Exited the enclosure and we chanced upon this Panda-mama display at the exit. The Panda-mama was actually carrying a newborn Panda baby, which our big heads were blocking.

The entire stretch of the corridor upon exit depicts the growing up of a panda baby, which is quite insightful I must say!

It is difficult for pandas to reproduce because female pandas are generally only fertile 1 to 2 days in A YEAR and according to what I read at the River Safari, the males are not really into mating. As in, they are not interested in reproducing at all. OMG WHAT IS THIS!

Having twins are also quite rare for the pandas and even if they do have twins by some stroke of good luck, the stupid Panda-mama will choose to only take care of the stronger one. -__-

As such, having pandas in the conservation is really helpful for them because breeding centers will put the male pandas on a "regime" that will supposedly teach them how to... *eh-hem* procreate, strengthen their hind legs to improve their sexual positions (LOL) or use artificial insemination if everything else fails.

This will definitely boost the chances of panda babies surviving, against all odds.

Picture from Cuisine Paradise
Visited Mama Panda Kitchen after we exited the Giant Panda Forest. I know we shouldn't listen to the zoo ambassadors too much, but they highly recommended us to try out the Panda Buns which came in Chocolate Custard or Red Bean Paste, so we decided to give it a shot.



It was pretty good actually! I personally like the Chocolate Custard one, while Nian prefers the Red Bean paste so we are kinda happy with what we had... except that $2.90 is probably a little bit pricey for a bun like this.

We ended the 1.5 hours long tour by visiting the Squirrel Monkey Forest, where there were many, many, MANY squirrel monkeys scurrying around. I think they are pretty much a fun bunch - I caught one trying to piggy back another fella, then a whole group playing catching amidst the shrubs.. some were just running to and fro the ropes pulled from one end of the enclosure to the other.

There is also a giant freshwater aquarium exhibit at the Amazon Flooded Forest section. It is as big as the one you can find in the SEA Aquarium, except that it is freshwater and you get to see Piranahs, Manatees (which is the freshwater version of dugongs) etc.

I would say that the River Safari is worth a visit. In fact, if you are planning to visit the SEA Aquarium, you might as well come to River Safari. It has much, much more things to see and learn and pretty ideal for young children too.

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