Have your kids ever asked how the animals at the zoo are cared for? Have they ever wanted to be a Park Ranger for a day? If the answer is a resounding yes, then get ready to pack your camera mama and let you children’s curiosity run wild with a behind the scenes tour of the Singapore Zoo!
Having heard that bookings for the private tours have to be made in advance, I sneakily called the Zoo ahead of time to sign up my entire family (including my almost one-year-old, and 8 and 10 year old nieces) for the Reptile Garden Behind-the-Scenes Tour and the Kidzranger Tour.
On the day of our tour I was particularly impressed by how the Zoo made us feel super important. An experienced guide by the name of Rosalind greeted us with a private buggy, so all we had to do was jump aboard and we were ready to go! Venturing into the “off-limits” areas of the Zoo, we were able to get up close and personal with all of our furry friends. Rosalind shared a vast amount of information that made the entire tour an educational experience not only for the two girls but for the whole family as well. We got to learn how to differentiate apes from monkeys (monkeys have tails and apes do not!), about the different plants at the Zoo and why they are important, as well as interesting trivia such as how the horns of rhinoceroses are made up of keratin, just like in our own hair and fingernails, and that the collective noun for rhinoceros is a crash of rhino!
During our backstage experience at the reptile garden, we got to find out more about these slimy creatures, such as how what their skin actually feels like, their reproductive life and some of the threats they face in the wild. Our one-year-old was brave enough to enjoy a rare and close encounter with a royal python and my two nieces developed a newfound respect for these cold-blooded creatures.
We then moved on to the Kidzranger tour, which turned the two older girls into “mini-zookeepers” for a while. They received their very own vest and a pin-on button that gave them special access to areas in the Kidzworld Rainforest that are typically only open to the zookeepers. They got to mingle with the horses, learn how to tell the falabellas and ponies apart, and they even got to try their hand at grooming a falabella and a rabbit! It was really lovely watching the girls enjoy this special time “behind-the-scenes”.
When it was time to go home, all the kids were definitely tired but still reluctant to leave! Having just experienced the Singapore Zoo in a whole new light and they couldn’t wait to return and explore some more.
The Singapore Zoo has a number of “special experiences” that can be booked ahead of time. The Kidzranger Tour costs $15 per child (5 to 12 years) and runs daily at 10:30am and 3pm. The Reptile Garden tour costs $28 per adult and $18 per child (3 to 12 years) and is available throughout the day. Tours must be booked ahead of time by calling (+65) 6269 3411 or emailing [email protected]. Normal Zoo admission still applies.
80 Mandai Lake Road, Singapore 729826
Tel: (+65) 6269 3411
Open: Daily 8:30am – 6pm
Top image sourced via Singapore Zoo