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River Safari Singapore River Safari

Discussion in 'Singapore' started by Zooish, 6 Apr 2013.

  1. Zooish

    Zooish Well-Known Member

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    Ok, finally had a good long visit of River Safari. Its not very big, with only about 8 out of the 12 hectare site currently developed. Add to that the boat ride not being in operation (as well as some of the other exhibits), the average visitor could complete the park in an hour. Zoochatters will appreciate the rarities which the average visitor shows no interest for. In essence, River Safari is a very niche park.

    Most of the exhibits were good, with the Manatees and Giant Otters being clear standouts. In terms of design, there is a lot of theming, but being semi open air (almost the entire walking route is sheltered) reflections are poorly managed in many areas.

    I'll do detailed descriptions of the exhibits together with the photos, which are coming up shortly.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 11 Apr 2015
  2. Cyanoliseus

    Cyanoliseus Member

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    River Safari - a brief review

    Just got the chance to go the River Safari. I must say I was not that excited about the pandas, but quite interested to see the other exhibits. I must say I was somewhat disapointed with some of them, considering it is a brand new park and considering it comes from the same "parents" as such great parks as jurong bird park, singapore zoo and night safari.
    Here's a brief review:

    The park is quite small, as since half of it is still to be open, I really don't think it is worth 25$, considering that it is more expensive than the zoo or the birdpark, which are way better than river safari in my opinion. Even in the half that is open, some of the exhibits are closed.... There is a lot of stickers saying "coming soon" stuck on empty tanks...

    While some of the exhibits are wuite nice and good in size, like the dwarf crocs, chinese aligators, some of the tanks are ridiculously small to the point that the fish can hardly move. The most extreme example of this is the electrical eel, which is as big as the tank it is in. Not the sort of thing you would expect from a brand new WRS park.

    Anyway, here goes the first par, I will post the others later on:

    1- Mississipi River

    The beaver exhibit is quite nice, though I only saw the carolina ducks, as the beavers were hiding somewhere (too hot for them perhaps?). ANyway it looks ok.
    The snapping turtle tank is nice, but in my opinion perhaps overcrowded.
    The alligator gar tank was quite nice, and the fish looked great.
    The paddle fish are in a decent size tank, but I wonder if the aquatic team did any research, as the tank walls are rough and all of the fish have severe bruising on their paddles. Quite a shame...

    2 - Congo River

    The dwarf crocs are difficult to see but I think the exhibit is quite good for them. they are still quite small (1 m or less) and I guess still getting used to the enclosure, as they were hiding in the back and almost impossible to see.
    The "congo jewel" tank (i think that's the name) has a sign with a lot of fish but in fact all it has is a large shoal of subadult congo tetra and one puffer fish. Strange that in this tank they chose to put Anubia (from south america) as the main plant. Also quite worrying that people can easily put their hands in the water. But overall it is a visually very nice tank and I guess people won't care for the discreppancies...
    The tank with tiger fish and african arowana is quite nice, but the fish look still a bit stressed and the polypterus didn't look very healthy (I was not the only one noticing it, other visitors were also commenting)

    3 - Ganges

    The Gahrials are amazing! two large males (I was told they used to be at night safari) are on display.The tank is quite bare, which I guess it's the way that it has to be 'cause the guys are BIG! one of my favourite tanks, I must say. There is a sign for Chitra chitra (softshell turtle) but I could't see any. Maybe hiding.
    Then there is a tank with some carp and knife fish (very nice big ones).

    There is a long tailed macaque enclosure, which I kinda fail to see the point, since they are the mammal version of mynahs here in Singapore... but they look ok.

    4 - Yantzee

    The tanks with the Mekong catfish is GREAT! the fish look great and there is an interisting combination of species, which you can hardly see anywhere else. definately one of the highlights if you are a fish person (which I am not, btw, but I still think it was quite impressive).
    Being a bird person, the Lesser Adjutant enclosure was one of my biggest disapointments; it is not really suitable for the birds, the pond is ridiculous and the landscaping looks more unkept than planted. As far as I know the birdpark doesn't have this species and I fail to see whay they are not at jurong intead on what appears to be a modified fish tank. Definately one of the worst enclosures in river safari.:(
    Then there is a series of (very) small tanks, one with aquatic bugs :)confused:not ver interesting) and one with elephant trunk snakes. I was really looking forward to seing this species, and I must say I find the tank quite small and unsuitable. these guys are easily stressed and they have no place to hide. Let's hope they cope well.
    The chinese alligator (called "Yantzee aligator" in the name sign) are quite nice, and the enclosure if ok, decent size, good viewing.
    The giant salamander enclosure is quite big, but the vieweing glass is quite low, and you need to be carefull not to knock your head when trying to see them. I saw 2, unusually light colored ones.
    The sturgeon tank is decent size, I only saw one fish and it looked very nice.

    More to come soon...
     
  3. Cyanoliseus

    Cyanoliseus Member

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    River safari review - cont.

    The Panda complex is quite nice, one of the best in-house panda enclosures I have visited. The red panda enclosure, on the other hand, is quite small. There is also a pair of golden pheasants.
    Moving out of the panda place you walk on a bridge over the river : AMAZING VIEW :):):)!!! really nice.

    Then starts the amazonian part, most of which is closed for now, as you can only see the animals from the boat ride which, according to the signage, wont be ready before end of this year :(
    You still get to see Jaguaroundi and a walk-in aviary with squirrel monkeys, both not spectacular, but also not bad.

    The other highlight of river safari if the flooded forest, where you get to see the giant otters in an acrylic tunnel and a huge aquarium with the manatees that used to be at the zoo (10 animals). In the future there wil also be arapaima there and to me this will probably be the highlight of river sfari (not the pandas). The only negative aspect is the fact that it is totally covered, meaning the animals only get access to artificial light, which is a shame. In the same complex there are a number of smaller (again, too small in my oppinion) some of them empty, some with big sucker fish, piranha, myleus, Heckel Discus, etc.
    In these I have to mention how disapointed I am with the electrical eel enclosure, which is no bigger than the poor fish itself, and a ridiculous mata-mata tank, which is totally innapropriate for the animals.

    Overall I think river safari will be a nice zoo, but for a brand new place it has some unexplainable faults. The animal collection is quite interesting, but if you think that this is a WRS park, I was expecting much more, specially after all the antecipation and postponing after postponing. I will return after the boat ride is open, maybe I will have a better impresion then. On the mean time, I don't think it is worth the money (I saw the whole thing in 1h) and I would rather go to the bird park, which to me still is the best of the WRS parks.

    I aknowledge it looks like I am trashing the place, which is not my intention, it is still an ok zoo, but I was expecting more then "ok", to be honest...

    Anyway, just my oppinion, I am sure everyone will have their own :p
     
  4. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks for the review Cyanoliseus, its good to hear all opinions on the park, and there does seem to be a general agreement that the park has a number of faults, especially the "too small exhibits", which are too often seen in WRS parks. I'm surprised it only took an hour to get through though, if it had taken me just that long I would have gone around again, but still been very disappointed.
     
  5. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    Cyanoliseus' comments are pretty much on par with what I've seen from Zooish's photos. Some good enclosures, but a lot of small or too-small ones, and all set-decorated to hide that. I'm still looking forward to it, although I do wonder what I shall think when I see it in person...

    I think perhaps the most regrettable feature of all is that the manatees ended up inside a glorified warehouse rather than open air like they had at the Zoo.


    On a related note, any word on when the polar bear/wolverine/raccoon dog bit will be open in the Zoo?
     
  6. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    It certainly has extreme theming, and it looks like its often distracting from the animals too much too.

    Do you think they had much choice with the manatees? Could they have built such a big tank outside, or would it have had to have been smaller?

    I'd forgotten about the Polar Bear exhibit, and hadn't realised that it would include the raccoon dogs and wolverine, but thats great that it will. I wonder if they will leave it unopened (regardless of when its actually finished) so as to maximise River Safari attendance for its first few months.
     
  7. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    I can't see why the flooded forest tank couldn't have been outside, it makes no difference to the size of the tank and it would have looked vastly better with the fake trunks coming up out of the water against the sky. I realise that in the tropics water can turn green very easily with the sun there but that can be managed. I mean, they were in an open-air tank at the Zoo with penguins and pelicans and sealions all in there as well!

    I just thought of an even better idea, have the whole tank sunken into the ground with a tunnel running through it.
     
  8. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    That would have been cool. I think the penguins had their own pool at the Zoo, and I never saw Sea Lions with the Manatees, but then I never saw them anywhere.

    They could have done the tank sunken into a slope, giving waterline viewing on one side, a concealed underwater tunnel and a great big window on the opposite side. :D

    Also, why are there so few waterbirds at the park? As far as I can tell there are just four waterbirds displayed, with only Carolina Wood Ducks and Lesser Adjutant Storks currently visible, which is a rather measley representation of the many, many species of freshwater adapted birds. Where are the herons, geese, swans, pelicans, spoonbills, kingfishers, fish eagles, waders, etc, etc?
     
  9. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    http://www.zoochat.com/40/manatee-penguin-139315/ from 2009. I seem to recall Zooish saying the sealions weren't in there all the time, only for shows (or something along those lines). I didn't see the sealions myself, just the manatees, penguins and pelicans.

    Birds are Jurong's department - you probably noticed there are precious few at the Zoo - so I'd hazard a guess that's the same reason for there being few at the River Safari?
     
  10. Zooish

    Zooish Well-Known Member

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    Its just not sensible to have a huge, completely open-air aquarium in the tropics buddy. As you said, algae growth is a major problem; the old manatee pool at the zoo had awful water clarity, you couldn't even see the bottom of the pool. Filtration would be unacceptably costly to maintain crystal clear water.

    Then you have frequent torrential rains which would stir up the water and make it murky.

    The Mekong catfish tank is far smaller than the flooded forest tank, but because it is completely open air, the park staff struggle daily to maintain water clarity and keep algae off the glass.

    The only other possible solution would be to use a fabric roof instead (as is the case with Marine Life Park), which would allow limited amount of natural light in. Even so, the tank would still need artificial lighting.
     
  11. Zooish

    Zooish Well-Known Member

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    The old pool contained freshwater which isn't good for the sealions. So they were kept off-show in smaller saltwater pools.
     
  12. Zooish

    Zooish Well-Known Member

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    Frozen Tundra is expected to open in June. Need to manage expectations on this one, as it will be "grotto" style (high rock walls all around), and the wolverine and raccoon dog exhibits are all indoors.
     
  13. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    OK, I'm now not sure about the penguins, they weren't in the water on my visit, but I still think their exhibit might have been seperated from that of the manatees.

    Yeah, I guess that makes sense, and there will be a few at River Safari, but a few more wouldn't hurt.
     
  14. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    yes all quite true, so I accept the reasons. It is still disappointing to me though that they went from an outdoors pool to an indoor tank.

    hmm, I am anticipating the wolverine and raccoon dog enclosures to be not too big then. Which will be a real shame for the wolverine especially because they are quite big and active animals. I've seen the mock-up pictures of the polar bear enclosure so am prepared for the white concrete ice formations which will no doubt dominate....
     
  15. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    if I recall (and Zooish can correct me if need be) the penguins had a separate area to the right - when facing the tank - where they could come out on land (and nest?) but they could freely move between "their" area and the manatees' area. The pelicans were all down the left end when I was there but I don't know if they were specifically contained.
     
  16. Zooish

    Zooish Well-Known Member

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    The penguins do have their own area separated from the main pool. They can access the main pool via an underwater opening that's just big enough for them.
     
  17. Zooish

    Zooish Well-Known Member

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    I've also come to learn that the manatee aquarium is all indoors to allow environmental conditions to be fully controlled, as the aquarium is designed to recycle water extensively to reduce water consumption and waste-water discharge.

    They've ditched the ice formation look for regular grey mock rock walls that surround the entire enclosure. I don't expect the wolverine and raccoon dog exhibits to be too spacious given the small footprint of the indoor area (which also has viewing points into the polar bear enclosure).
     
  18. Jackwow

    Jackwow Well-Known Member

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    Without reading this whole thread is the river safari worth going to yet if the river isn't finished? Is it perhaps just a quick side trip whilst visiting the zoo?

    Also as someone who likes to take their time photoging the animals, if a lot of the species are only going to be visible from a boat, which will presumably keep moving albiet slowly, then it won't be ideal for the likes of me?
     
  19. Dejiki

    Dejiki Member

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    I finally went to River Safari. It was a surprisingly tranquil experience (something I wished Marine Life Park is, right now) with just a handful of tourists and 3-4 primary school classes in the park when I was there. I specifically chose to go on a monday morning for less visitors, but didn't expect "barely anyone" - it's a real shame that the park is deserted.

    I'd just share my thoughts about the park, from someone who visits mainly amusement and theme parks:

    1. I've already expected it to be a short experience. It took me about 90 minutes. I skipped feeding time activities and the show, though I saw the "stage", seems very makeshift/temporary. I like the park's layout though - circling around the reservoir (they call it a pond?) because I can only recall my visits to the Singapore Zoo as being in a messy maze.

    [​IMG]

    2. Placement of exhibits "outdoor" but with sheltered walkway causes too many reflections on the panels, especially for the first half of the "Rivers of the World". It is just awkward to view some of the exhibits (the Tigerfish tank comes to mind) and just tempts me to push my face onto the glass.

    3. The "Giant Panda Forest" was alright. The "booking system" was disabled for the day, so visitors could just visit whenever they wish. I felt that the layout was quite boring - it's already quite small, why divide the pandas' habitats with the wall?

    Alright, I'm really spoilt by the "Giant Panda Adventure" at Ocean Park Hong Kong, because it's larger, has a more interesting design. The red pandas practically have a playground to themselves; giant pandas kept near visitors' eye level. There's also a viewing gallery, an area separated by glass, to see pandas up close.

    4. Some of the small exhibits are impossible to see, either because the glass is fogged up, or the display is not meant to be brightly lit (and yet it's facing the sun). Or sometimes there's really nothing to see at all?? The one with aquatic bugs is filled with dead (really, dead) insects and one living water strider...

    5. Very nice theming around the park. Honestly quite surprised to see the amount of sculpted rock and pillars embellished with bamboo at some places. Even the standees holding up photos/information are themed. Was expecting a lot of flat plain walls, like SEA Aquarium.

    6. Signage for exhibits are very clear (they can't be worse than the hopeless ones at SEA Aquarium) which makes it easy to identify species (not that the displays in RS lack variety anyway!). There are many pieces of fun facts scattered around. Everything is nicely designed and themed.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    7. The Squirrel Monkey Forest was a nice experience because there are so many energetic monkeys and no "glass" to contend with! BUT there are also A LOT of mosquitoes. So bring some eco insect repellent or risk being human fodder here.

    8. Flooded Forest is a grand conclusion to the River Safari experience. I enjoy being able to see the exhibits from various angles. The small tanks, showing fish, leading to the manatee seems very crowded/small for its inhabitants, as mentioned in a previous review.

    But the largest tank is quite a sight to see, especially with the gigantic manatees and arapaimas.

    [​IMG]

    Here's a photo of a crab-eating macaque, deep in thought. :)
    [​IMG]
     
  20. bench

    bench Member

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    Visited River Safari yesterday. Being a fish nut, im very disappointed with the Amazon Sunken Forest aquarium. The fishes in the aquarium are arapaima, pacu, red tailed catfish and flagtail prochilodus. Fishes so common that they could be found in just every other aquarium.

    The smaller aquariums, are just disappointing as well. Electric eel tank feels kinda cloudy, the Irwini catfish tank has no deco but the fish itself. The discus angelfish tank, the discus are skinny and wasting away, the angelfish are an ornamental form shape looks kinda odd.

    The design of the aquariums are excellent, the choice of fishes is the thing that's lacking. Overall, it's not worth visiting until its fully open, then again, who knows how the remainder of the parks will be like.