The line between zoo and botanic oasis blurs at this pulse-slowing sweep of spacious, naturalistic enclosures and interactive attractions. Get up close to orangutans, dodge Malaysian flying foxes, even snoop around a replica African village. Then there's that setting: 26 soothing hectares on a lush peninsula jutting out into the waters of the Upper Seletar Reservoir. Taxi (S$30 from the CBD) is the easiest way to get here or alternatively catch bus 138 from the Ang Mo Kio MRT station.
There are over 2400 residents here, and as far as zoos go, the enclosures are among the world's most comfortable. Among the highlights is the Jungle Breakfast with Wildlife, a morning buffet enjoyed in the company of orangutans. Close encounters with free-roaming ring-tailed lemurs, lories and tree-hugging sloths await at the giant Fragile Forest biodome, or spy on shameless, red-bummed baboons doing things that Singaporeans still get arrested for at the evocative Great Rift Valley exhibit. If you have kids in tow, let them go wild at Rainforest Kidzworld, a wonderland of slides, swings, pony rides and farmyard animals happy for a feed. There's even a dedicated wet area, with swimwear available for purchase if you didn't bring your own.
The zoo prides itself on fostering respect for nature, and works together with other like-minded institutions on conservation projects both locally and regionally. One stain on its otherwise admirable record is the animal shows it still puts on; although elephant performances ceased in 2018, there is still an educational elephant presentation which sees the mammals interacting with their surroundings, by way of enrichment toys and verbal requests from keepers.