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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Animal Encounters at the Wildlife Reserves

As a grown-up Singaporean, the zoo and the bird park is a distant memory. Last weekend, i revisited those memories and was delighted to find new additions and experiences!

Here's another nice date idea to spend the day knowing each other, eating amongst the wildlife. As part of Singapore Food Festival, you can do a food trail at the Singapore Zoo, Jurong Bird Park and Night Safari. Helmed by Executive Chef Kelvin Low, who is professionally trained at Le Cordon Bleu, Chef Low has whipped up exquisite fare for local and international dignitaries, celebrities and loyalty. The most expensive meal he did at the Gourmet Safari Express was $1200 per person, with ingredients flown in from France.


At the Singapore Zoo, you can dine with the wildlife. Now, it's kinda misleading for them to headline the experience as "Dining with Animals". I was expecting to have an Orang Utan sit beside me eating fruit with me. Instead, it really is a family of Orang Utans making a spectacular entrance, taking the 'treeway' from their free-range habitat next door, ambling on a trunk drawbridge into the dining area. You may take as many photos as you want with them, however you are not allowed to interact with them (due to animal protection measures and safety). 
               
The international breakfast buffet was average fare but the hosted programme made me learn more about Orang Utans. 

They are not monkeys but apes and the difference between monkeys and apes are their tails (apes have none). There are no female keepers caring for Orang Utans because they get aggressive if they smell menstruation. I remember a friend telling me he met a girl in a bar who's face was scratched badly. Apparently, she ignored the warning sign to not enter a monkey sanctuary if females are menstruating. A monkey jumped on her and tried to rape her ear.

It was a joy, however to get up close observing these beauties. Their eyes were so full of soul, so much like humans.
                 
The only other wildlife was some kind of snake.
                             
VenueTimingPrice
Ah Meng Restaurant (Terrace)9.00am - 10.30am (Daily)
$29.00* (Adult)
$19.00* (Child 6 - 12 years old)
For bookings, 
Call (65) 6360 8511 or

The Singapore Zoo has many new attractions since the hay days, and i am pleased to find the Fragile Forrest where butterflies flutter around, a special breed of duck whistle and curious about you.
Please do not try this.
She's a professional animal keeper and is able to do this without hurting the butterfly.
This is also the closest i've ever come to a bat and see it's nether regions. It has a acquired smell too.

I'm enlarging it for you, see its balls in full glory.

Mustering the courage to eat it.
Just kidding! This is a stick insect i was observing.
The river cruise was also a new attraction although you don't really see anything on the cruise. The additional $6 for a round trip probably just save you some walking.
At the Jurong Bird Park, it's also $29 for adults for a lunch buffet while watching a parrot show. Again, you may take as many photos as you want with the parrots as part of the fee but do note that sometimes animals can get tired and throw a tantrum. Luckily, the keepers are really nice and friendly so they make sure no diner leaves disappointed.

Unfortunately, out of the 3 wildlife reserve parks, the lunch buffet at Parrot Terrace is the worst.
 However, i throughly enjoyed their new attraction, the Breeding and Research Centre. I've never seen baby parrots before! It looks like the chicken we find in the supermarket.
That's with some feathers.
Dining at the Night Safari, the Ulu Ulu Restaurant was the highlight of my food trail. Designed with traditional ethnic architectural accents like wood beams, rustic rattan fans and ambient lights. 
                     
Expect to find famous local delights, it's like dining in ChatterBox of Mandarin Orchard Hotel where you pay premium price for premium hawker food.

You do not need to pay entrance fee to dine at this restaurant. In fact, it could be something you go for a dinner date because there are free nightly cultural and fire performances. Plus there's a buffalo enclosure near the dining area.

Chicken rice set at $17, the picture above was a sampler thus smaller portion.
A date in Singapore is often a movie and a meal, it's as standard fare as chicken rice. Beat the norm! Do the food trail in the wildlife reserves today.

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