The Mekong River zone at River Wonders wildlife park in Singapore.
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Singapore Zoo and River Wonders Guide Plus Backstage Pass

The Mandai Wildlife Reserve in northern Singapore is an epic tract of rainforest and wetland that just happens to contain some of the island’s finest natural attractions. We’re talking Singapore Zoo, River Wonders, Bird Paradise and more, all well worth a day trip (or two, or three) out of the city. Here we take a look at River Wonders and Singapore Zoo, including how to get there, what to see and how a Singapore pass from Go City can save you money when visiting these and other local attractions. Check out our whistlestop guide to Singapore Zoo and River Wonders below.

Singapore Zoo

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Singapore Zoo has a whole host of credentials to its name. Not only is it one of the most popular attractions on the island, it’s also frequently voted one of the best on the planet (up there with titans like London and San Diego) thanks to its open-concept environment and world-leading focus on conservation and biodiversity.

Zones at the zoo include Fragile Forest, a whopping 20,000 cubic meter biodome housing a tropical rainforest habitat that’s alive with the chatter of hundreds of cute and curious jungle critters. Here, golden-headed lion tamarin monkeys peep through the canopy, colorful eclectus parrots and majestic Malayan flying foxes soar from treetop to treetop, and timid lesser mouse-deer forage on the forest floor. Head to the plains of Wild Africa where you might encounter an inquisitive giraffe, shy white rhino or hair-raising pack of African painted dogs as well as some of the savannah’s legendary big cats. The RepTopia reptile house is where it’s at for regal horned lizards, cool and colorful panther chameleons, showstopping electric blue geckos and other such slithering, cold-blooded pals. And you can get up close and personal with Antipodean animals of all shapes and sizes in the Australasia zone. There’s even a dedicated island where orangutans are able to roam freely in the treetops. And that, frankly, is just for starters.

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Singapore Zoo Fast Facts

  • Age: half a century – the zoo first opened back in 1973
  • Size: 69 acres
  • Number of species: 300+
  • Number of animals: 4,200+ including lions, elephants, monkeys, reptiles and birds
  • Annual visitors: approximately two million

River Wonders

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River Wonders is just exactly what it sounds like: a watery tropical paradise, where meandering walking trails and boat rides allow you to meet some of the many beasties you’d expect to find living in and around rivers – everything from ferociously cute red pandas to the giant Mekong catfish. This is Asia’s first (and so far only) river-themed wildlife park, and it also just happens to be home to the world’s largest freshwater aquarium.

There are a few ways to explore the various zones of River Wonders. You’ll be relieved to learn you can do it on foot without the need for waders. But you can also book the Amazon River Quest boat ride, designed to simulate a journey down the Amazon, where animals like tapirs, leopards and giant anteaters can be spotted around the water’s edge. Check out other epic zones including the Amazon Flooded Forest, a ginormous freshwater aquarium that’s home to manatees, giant river otters and red-bellied piranhas. The Ganges River is where you’ll find the rare Indian gharial – a relative of crocodiles and alligators – the frog-faced softshell turtle, and the fearsome goonch catfish (aka the giant devil catfish), a river monster with razor-sharp teeth and a taste for human flesh. Come face to face with cute tamarins in Amazonia Encounters and don’t miss your chance to say hey to the inhabitants of the Pavilion Capital Giant Panda Forest, among them the eponymous big guys, plus their diminutive red panda pals. Cute!

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Backstage Pass

Add-ons to general admission at River Wonders include the Backstage Pass, which gets you access to Manatee Mania. Here’s where you can get really close to these magnificent marine mammals, taking part in their training sessions and even having a go at hand-feeding them during meal time. Find out more, including ticket prices here.

River Wonders Fast Facts

  • Age: the Giant Panda Forest opened in 2012 with the rest of the park following in 2014. Originally known as RIver Safari, it changed its name to River Wonders in 2021.
  • Size: 30 acres
  • Number of species: 260+
  • Number of animals: 11,000+ land and aquatic critters including manatees, giant river otters, pandas, leopards and catfish.
  • Annual visitors: approximately one million


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A Singapore pass from Go City includes general admission to all four of the wildlife parks at Mandai. That’s Singapore Zoo, River Wonders, Bird Paradise and the Night Safari. Passes allow you to visit as many attractions as you like over several days, and also include other Singapore big-hitters like the Gardens by the Bay, Universal Studios and the SkyHelix Sentosa. In other words, you can save up to 50% on Singapore attractions if you plan to visit a lot. Find out more about the different Singapore pass types and buy yours here.

Alternatively you can buy tickets – including multi-park passes – direct via the Mandai Wildlife Reserve website. This is also where you should book add-ons not included with Go City, such as the Amazon River Quest boat ride and River Wonders Backstage Pass.

Opening Hours

Singapore Zoo: 8.30am-6pm. Last admission at 5pm.

River Wonders: 10am-7pm. Last admission at 6pm. For opening times of individual attractions within the park check here.

Getting There

Take the red North-South MRT line from downtown and disembark at Khatib station, exit A. From here, a shuttle bus runs to and from the Mandai Wildlife Park.

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Save on attractions and activities in Singapore

Save on admission to Singapore attractions with Go City. Check out @GoCity on Instagram for the latest top tips and attraction info.

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