Family Outing Idea: Jurong Bird Park (Singapore)

A day at the Jurong Bird Park (“bird park”) on 8 June 2021. Compared to the zoo, this cousin seems forgotten. The bird park is not as crowded, and the shows are not snapped up as fast as those in the zoo.

The bird park is supposed to move to Mandai in 2020 and join the other parks — Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and River Safari. However, COVID happened and the move is delayed to 2022.

JBL kept staring at this stained glass in the ceiling at the ticketing gantries. Children open my eyes to appreciate the surroundings.

With the impending move, the park is not maintained to the usual pristine standards we see for attractions in Singapore. Then again, the park gives off a kind of rustic country feel in this way.

Moreover, compared to the curated Mandai space, the current location on Jurong hill is naturally a habitat for the birds and animals.

Crossing a Wooden Bridge at Waterfall Aviary

Jurong Hill is home to the highly acclaimed and much-loved Jurong Bird Park, which resides at the foot of the 60m tall hill. Few people know that at the top of the hill lies a small park with a distinguished past. Although hard to believe, this unassuming park once featured prominently on the itineraries of foreign dignitaries visiting Singapore in the 1970s.

Many older Singaporeans will remember visiting the park in their childhood, however the park sadly sees few visitors these days.

Excerpt from untouristsingapore.wordpress.com
A wooden pathway led us through the flamingo lake.

With the park built on Jurong Hill, it meant that we got to climb some slope in the park. No joke, the slope always made me so breathless. Every time I climb, I would tell myself to take the tram during the next visit. Every next visit, I would forget. This time with lack of sleep and hot sun, I was too tired to climb further up at each attraction to view the birds. So tram is a very good idea for those with children and not as fit. The money will be well spent.

The park is not big, but the somewhat steep long slope is a killer. It makes the walk around the park tiresome. You can download the map of the bird park here: www.wrs.com.sg/en/jurong-bird-park/plan-your-visit/jurong-bird-park-map.html

On our way to the next attraction, “What’s that?” my hubby pointed to a big monitor lizard on top of the bushes. My heart leaped and I took a step back. It’s huge, and it’s quite near us.

On our way out of the park, “What’s that?” the children went closer to see the many chamelons roaming at a space near the taxi stand.

On our way out also, “So many fishes!” EX exclaimed. Both girls knelt beside the koi pond and watched the fishes swam.

Welcome to nature (in a man made space).

Bright red scarlet ibis spotted from afar as we walked down a long stretch of road. We could not find this attraction on the map. Yet after our visit, we saw YouTube videos of people visiting these birds close up! Never did we once manage to stumble upon it. You could probably check with the keepers.

Bird Shows

Learning from our lessons at the zoo, we went straight to the amphiteatre to scan the QR code and book a seat. Booking portal at the bird park and zoo opens 90 minutes before show time, and can only be accessed at the performance venues.

According to my hubby, the shows at the bird park are more entertaining than the one at Night Safari. I personally like the finale where all the birds gather for the “final showdown” of the High Flyers show.

The other show, Kings of the Skies, is generally entertaining with the magnificent predators. Some parts of the show saw them flying low and near us — the eagles, vultures, and hawks. EX was afraid of the birds coming close, while JBL clapped her hands at the swooping birds. One other afternoon, we were sitting at the playground and some crows flew past us. JBL clapped her hands, her free bird show.

Latest update: With effect from 1 July 2021, shows are available from Thursdays to Sundays, eves of public holidays and public holidays.


Lunch

When we were at the bird park, we could not dine in. Hence, we packed pizza from Pizza Hut (the only eatery that was opened) and searched for a place to picnic. Found a secluded place with fans behind Pizza Hut and it was a relatively cooling place for JBL to nap in too.

Speaking of which, remember to bring a fan along! EX did some colouring of fans at the entrance, but that’s only when we were about to leave the park. We should have done it in the beginning of our visit, because we were so in need of the fans under the scorching sun. Hope this can be a permanent activity, good for those who forget to bring fans like us!


Penguins

The keeper was standing still, hands in the pockets. A few penguins waddled near her. Soon, other penguins got wind of the news and slowly all of them waddled and congregated near her.

Personally, this attraction is one of my park favourites. The penguins can be found indoor and outdoor near the park entrance. Inside, the cold aircon is definitely a bonus for us. Head up the platform to sit and enjoy the waddlers.

Another time when my friend went, she noticed that most of the penguins were standing perfectly still for some time. Sleeping? So I did a quick google to find out more.

Penguins sleep while standing up or in the water. Sometimes they sleep with their bills tucked under their wings. Not all 17 species of penguins sleep standing up. Of which, Emperor Penguins are most frequently seen standing up.

Instead of sleeping for many hours at night, penguins take several short naps throughout the day. On average, these naps last only minutes. Penguins never really go into a deep sleep, but nap.

Because as preys for predators such as leopard seals and Galapagos sharks, they have to constantly remain alert and on guard. For added protection and security, penguins can usually be found sleeping in groups (or rather, a rookery, as a group of penguins is called). This sleeping arrangement also supplies additional warmth for the already well-insulated bird species.

Excerpt from sciencing.com

I think JBL is currently as tall as a Humboldt Penguin. She went straight to the poster of the smallest penguin, Little Penguin, and pat the picture like its a real life dog.


Flamingos, Macaws (Parrot), and Others

“Flamingos are like rats in bird park. There are so many of them,” my hubby said. For a moment, his statement tainted the image of the pink beauty in my head. The oh so cute flamingos often found in children’s stuff can’t be compared to pests like rats!

Another bird we saw often in the park are the macaws. You can also find critically endangered blue-throated macaw among many other birds in the bird park’s Breeding and Research Centre. Over there, check out the incubation room for abandoned eggs, and eggs of endagered species. Be sure to stop by!

Macaws are a group of New World parrots that are long-tailed and often colorful. They are popular in aviculture or as companion parrots, although there are conservation concerns about several species in the wild.

Wikipedia

“Hello,” the macaw squeaked as we walked past this particular cage in Lory Loft. I didn’t hear it, but my hubby stopped and said hello to it, and the macaw replied with another hello! The hello conversation went on back and forth a few times. Our mini bird show.

There are people in Singapore who keep Macaw as pets, like this man with 35 parrots. Ouf which, 5 of the parrots are hyacinth macaws, the most expensive parrot breeds in the world, costing up to S$40,000 each! But macaws are extremely loud birds, and so neighbours of such petowners might find the squawking too noisy for comfort.

Above: Other interesting birds we saw in the park.


Pelicans

At pelican cove, enjoy the pelican from different angles. Enjoy them outdoors or indoors.

There are more than half a dozen species of pelicans, but all of them have the famous throat pouch for which the birds are best known. Pelicans use their elastic pouches to catch fish, but do not store the fish in their pouch. The American white pelican can hold some 3 gallons of water in its bill. Young pelicans feed by sticking their bills into their parents’ throats to retrieve food.

Excerpt: www.nationalgeographic.com

The pelican’s feeding session was suspended while we visited. That’s a pity because I enjoyed the session much.

According to Wikipedia, the Dalmatian pelican is the largest member of the pelican family, and perhaps the world’s largest freshwater bird. See the photo below, a Dalmatian pelican has a wingspan bigger than hubby’s outstretched arms!


Waterall Aviary

I will end the article with hubby’s favourite place of the bird park — Waterfall Aviary. This is where the attraction tries to keep things as natural as possible for the birds, although the waterfall here is man made, more on that later. Then again, faking a waterfall to make the place like a natural oasis for the birds is better than nothing.

An aviary is a large enclosure for confining birds. Unlike birdcages, aviaries allow birds a larger living space where they can fly;

Excerpt from Wikipedia

These pink birds (see below) greeted us when we entered the attraction. Good thing we were there there duing the feeding time as all of them flocked to the pond at ground floor. When we made our round back to this place, they were all gone, flew up to the sheltered “fake” branches on the second floor of the building.

This place is like a free range bird park where we can get super up close with the birds. However compared to our last visit 2 years back, there were fewer animals roaming around, along with fewer visitors. The birds went into heightened phase too? We spotted a white peacock resting though.

EX was so tired after hiking up to the suspended bridge for a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape. Hence, we didn’t climb further up the waterfall . Instead, we went to the foot of the waterfall this time and got some water splashes from the splendid fall.

The Waterfall Aviary towers at a height of 35m (equivalent to 13 storeys) and houses one of the world’s tallest man-made, indoor waterfalls. The waterfall will be in its 49th year (as of 2019).

Though man-made, the Jurong Falls – in a country with few natural scenic spots – has been a source of pride and joy to many Singaporeans. It was at one time the world’s tallest man-made waterfall, and provided many schoolchildren like me in the 1970s, when chances to travel overseas did not come by easily, with our first awe-inspiring experience of a waterfall.

Excerpt from www.straitstimes.com, and www.wrs.com.sg

Armed with some knowledge of the birds and bird park, may your visit be more meaningful and enjoyable. Soar away and have fun!


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