Sunday, October 27, 2013

River Safari Singapore

The grounds of the zoo are very natural and unspoiled
(it is built around a reservoir)
R and I go to the zoo a lot, because Singapore has really excellent ones, and because I love seeing the animals (despite all the ethical/moral quandaries: I know many people can't enjoy zoos as a result but I am a sucker for cute animals). Actually we have memberships to three different places.

The new River Safari is a great addition to the Singaporean zoo supply, because while mostly outdoors, all paths are covered with roofs. This is perfect for Singaporean weather, which often varies between hot and unbearably sunny (being in direct sunlight is physically painful for large portions of the day) and rainy (Singapore receives over 90 inches annually). It was a rainy weekend back in July (sorry, very behind with posting!) so R and I headed off to check out some riverine life.

R bustling around in the rain: she enjoys being wet, much to the horror of overprotective Singaporean parents. 
It's raining! Note the purse and hat: she always insists on packing and bringing her own bag when we go out.
By far the best part of the River Safari is the manatee exhibit (which is supposed to mimic a seasonally flooded forest in the Amazon). It is an immersive experience, featuring mood music, special lighting and the chance to look a manatee right in the eye. They have several baby manatees on display for maximum cuteness (one of which nursed while we were there, so strange to be reminded of these strange creatures' mammal status). R's trip highlight was watching one of the manatees poop as she swam directly in front of R: she talked about it for days afterwards. (Toddlers have very different interests from adults!)
You can view the manatee tank from above...
or at manatee eye-level...
or at the bottom of the tank, where there is a small playhouse in the shape of a hollowed-out tree
We checked out the pandas again, which R still finds uninteresting. She really liked the various interactive panda-themed displays though! (and the "panda pao"--red bean buns--we had for lunch).
The statue shows the relative size of a baby panda: R loved it because she loves babies and did her best to remove it to take home (luckily it is firmly attached)

This panda wandered through the exhibit for perhaps 2 minutes, then hid in its den: pandas, you have to work on your self-presentation skills!
Disturbing placard describing how the pandas all starve to death during cyclical bamboo flowering: R was rather upset by the crying, dying panda graphic
R DOES love the crocodiles. She is fascinated by them, I think because they are terrifying.
They are big!!
Life-size bronze statue for climbing
Other kids like them too
Actually these are gharials, which supposedly don't eat humans (instead, the nearby giant catfish does??: the natural world never stops surprising). R believes the "crocos" are supremely bloodthirsty however, and loves having her crocodile bath toy bite all the other animals during her nightly bath.
R demonstrating how "crocos bite and eat" people
Happy contemplating her dominance over the savage natural world

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