Speak to any older kid about Jurong Bird Park who visited a few years back, and you’ll likely get a nonchalant response like “…it’s soooo lame” or “it sucks”. However, speak to any parent who has visited recently, and the response is very much different. We first went there with some great mates about five years back and I have to say we were a little underwhelmed. Then again, at that time we had one baby (Lex), Andrea was pregnant with Jax and had limited mobility, while our friends, Anna and Brett had a toddler and a baby.
Jurong Bird Park unfortunately gets lumped into the same category as Singapore Zoo and Night Safari (probably because you can buy one handy ticket or membership to all three), and as such, seems to come across as the poor cousin to these other two bright and sparkly (and well marketed) attractions. The truth is – Jurong Bird Park is GREAT! No doubt it is less central, and in some places looks a little “tired” – but it represents a terrific day out and I reckon, one of the best value attractions on our island. I recently took the boys there with our tireless helper Auntie Vick and the boys came back excited, full of new things to talk about and exhausted. Here’s how our day went.
We pitched up on a weekday around 10.30am and before I could get to the ticket counter I got cornered by a young fella. At first I thought I was getting a hard sell on something, but it turned out he was selling combo tickets and we got a great deal. All up we paid $84 for two adults, two kids, monorail tickets (which was handy when the rain hit) and unlimited bird feeding was also included.
We basically walked around the park in an anti-clockwise direction, took in the penguins, bats (which was nice and cool), the Spoonbills, Ibis’, Hornbills and Toucans. When we reached the enclosed Lory Loft the boys were a bit freaked out by the feeding, as these little birds literally climb all over you if you’re holding a tub of food – but they enjoyed it nonetheless and are still talking about it. Just as we reached the birds of prey section the skies opened and in true Singapore style the weather went from hot and sunny to torrents of rain (but still hot of course). At this point we jumped on the monorail and did a complete circuit of the park which lasted about 20 minutes, but long enough for the rain to clear off. Out we jumped and saw the birds of prey – the highlight for Jax was watching an eagle tearing apart a mouse. We then moved onto the “Dinosaur Descendants” (aka Ostriches and Emus) – but we didn’t have time for the Bird Discovery Centre which looks like a more educational feature. Tucked around a corner in a weather shelter was a sand pit with some buried dinosaur bones, which the boys took 30-40 minutes to dig up, brush off, etc.
Seeing the boys were flagging a bit, we moved quite quickly (still anti-clockwise) past the Flamingos and onto the African Waterfall Aviary, which boasts the tallest indoor waterfall in the world. Inside there is a large café area with good toilets, baby changing facilities, etc. We didn’t explore every corner of the aviary but it’s stuffed full of birds buzzing around, the only thing I would say is some areas didn’t look too pram-friendly. We then walked out and started the homeward-bound part of the journey (at this point it was about 2.30pm) and walked past the Parrots and Pelicans before discovering the newish Birdz of Play area, which is a good sized waterpark with swings, slides and play apparatus for all ages. Also a chance to cool off with a well needed Ben & Jerrys ice cream.
It took a good hour to bribe the boys away from this part after a little fun in the arcade, but this interlude seemed to give them a new lease of life, so we wandered into the “Hawk Walk” and blundered in the “Kings of the Skies” show which was pretty good, but I have to say a little corny as well. By this point the sun was out with a vengeance and the boys were starting to wilt, so we ambled past the Flamingos, Macaws and Penguins once again before under repeated requests, heading off again to see the bats.
By this point the boys were done in, well and truly. The good thing was, unlike most places, you then didn’t have to run the gauntlet through a gift shop to actually get out, as it was positioned off to the side. That said we did pick up two cool parrot-head hats ($10 for the pair).
You’ll need the usual stuff, namely hats, copious sunblock, water and food if you don’t want to fork out for eating while you’re there. I think on reflection the good thing about Jurong Bird Park is it’s not as frenetic as other attractions. There’s no pushing and shoving, seemingly fewer coaches of tourists stampeding over any hapless toddlers, and being a little smaller you can see the whole park easily in a day depending on the pace your kids move at. I’d say it’s engaging for kids of all ages above two years. Financially it represents really good value if you’re on a budget – which of course can blow out with endless snacks, drinks, ice cream and toys if you wish. I reckon the whole day just about gave us change from $100 but I did invest (under heavy I pressure I may add) in a really funny professional photo of me and the boys feeding the Lorys which has pride of place on the sideboard. Check it out above – have you seen anything so corny???
Let us know what you think?