If you and your fam intend to head out for a much-needed breather or to spend quality-time together, why not make it fun, educational and also nature-themed? It is always good for the mind, body and soul to touch base with the wildlife in and around Singapore.
So, make like The Croods, but a better brood, by reading up about the history of our little island’s varied biodiversity in a museum, visiting the protected animals homed within our world-renowned zoo and parks, or appreciating coastal wildlife on nature walks.
Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum
The main reason why you should bring Kiddo here: Dinosaur bones. Be wowed by the three huge diplodocid sauropod fossils in the Dinosaur Zone of the Biodiversity Gallery, before wandering the other 14 thematic zones, where Kiddo and you can awe in wonder at a 10.6-metre-long skeleton of a female sperm whale, a slice of the famous Changi Tree, and the formerly extinct, now re-discovered Neptune’s Cup Sponge.
After which, learn about the museum’s history and marvel at its old-school specimens of a leatherback turtle and Sunda pangolin in the Heritage Gallery. Once you’re done, you can move on outdoors to visit the mangrove, swamps and dryland forest garden and phylogenetic garden to view some actual living plants.
But let’s not “miss the forest for the trees”; the more important goal of visiting the museum is to learn all about the importance of biodiversity and environmental issues and their relevance in our modern lives.
Founded circa 1878, this institution is one of the oldest national history institutes of its kind in Southeast Asia that helps to safeguard the national collection of flora and fauna and the region’s natural heritage.
Along with the aforementioned two public galleries and two gardens, it also houses two large collections – the Botanical Collection of the Herbarium of the National University of Singapore with over 30,000 flora specimens, and the Zoological Reference Collection with over a million zoological specimens.
The museum also hosts an online reference collection, The Biodiversity of Singapore, that serves as an eye-opening digital repository for Singapore’s biodiversity.
Visit the museum’s website for the full details including admission fees and opening hours. Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, Faculty of Science, National University of Singapore, 2 Conservatory Drive, 117377, https://lkcnhm.nus.edu.sg
BONUS: SAFRA members get to enjoy 10% off admission tickets to the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum. Click here for more information.
Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS)
The 21-year-old Wildlife Reserves Singapore is the main self-funded organisation that manages our famed zoological institutions: the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, Jurong Bird Park and River Safari, each a wondrous attraction “providing meaningful and memorable wildlife experiences” for its visitors.
And, what memorable experiences they are. In the 26-hectare rainforest environs of the Singapore Zoo, expect to see our famed great apes in the world’s first free-ranging orangutan zoo habitat from a raised boardwalk, feed elephants, giraffes, giant tortoises, goats and white rhinos by hand, embark on the multimedia night walk that is Rainforest Lumina (it’s in its final season!), or go on your own party-of-five private buggy tour with a planned itinerary.
Looking for friends of the “flighty” kind? Then Asia’s largest bird park, the 20.2-hectare Jurong Bird Park should tickle your feathers with its breath-taking aviaries such as the nine-storey-tall African Treetops where visitors can get to feed starlings and turacos while walking across suspended bridges, and the park’s largest walk-in aviary, the Waterfall Aviary, that houses 600 free-flying birds along with a 30-metre-high man-made waterfall.
Curious about freshwater denizens? Then explore the 12-hectare, river-themed River Safari wildlife park to view Mekong giant catfishes and manatees in aquariums and exhibits that mirror famous rivers such as the Congo, Nile and Yangtze. Tip: Keep an eye out for news on when you can get to visit and go gaga over Singapore’s first Giant Panda cub born at the Giant Panda Forest here in the park.
End your animal adventure at the Night Safari on a 30-minute guided tram ride, or on foot through different animal zones and trails; test your night vision and see if you can spy with your little eye, nocturnal creatures such as clouded leopards, Sunda pangolins and Malayan tigers.
And, hopefully, while you and the family are ooh-ing and aah-ing over the best of what nature has to offer, you will be also be equally impressed by WRS’ loftier goals: to protect biodiversity in Singapore and the region by collaborating with like-minded partners, and to encourage people to value conservation and biodiversity through its public attractions.
Visit the WRS and its respective zoo and parks’ websites for the full details including admission fees and opening hours. Wildlife Reserves Singapore, multiple locations, www.wrs.com.sg
BONUS: SAFRA members get to enjoy up to 20% off prevailing admission rates to the WRS zoo and parks, and 15% off F&B at WRS dining outlets. Click here for more information.
Need a helping hand with teaching your sapling all about Mother Nature or wish to get the most educational value out of the little one’s outdoor outings? Try the Young Nautilus’ Nature Learning Journeys.
This education enrichment provider for schools and families is founded by educators with degrees in Life Science and Marine Biology, who are equipped with both the teaching skills and dedication to impart their science-based knowledge and nurture a love of nature within the young ’uns.
For its regular biodiversity Nature Walks public programmes, there are fun and safe group day and evening outings to our coastal locations such as Sungei Buloh Wetland, Changi Sandy Intertidal, Coney Island Intertidal and Pasir Ris Park Mangrove to find and learn about what the “wild things” are – think shark eggs, scorpions and moulted snake skins.
Young Nautilus also holds special programmes such as its upcoming Marine Scientist Day Camps in September and October. In this 4-hour camp, your mini-me will get to be a marine scientist for a day, learning how to dissect a squid, going on an intertidal field walk and doing good in a coastal cleanup.
Visit the Young Nautilus website for the full details including programme fees and timings. Young Nautilus, youngnautilus.com
BONUS: SAFRA members get to enjoy 10% off Online Nature-Learning Packages and 10% off à la carte Nature Walk (Adult/Children) tickets. Click here for more information.