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Jurong Bird Park
Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrJurong Bird Park is one of the largest bird parks in the world. Built on the west side of Jurong Hill, Singapore, the landscaped avian garden is the largest in Asia. It is managed by the Wildlife Reserves Singapore, the same non-profit organization in Singapore that also manages the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, and River Safari parks.
In addition to showcasing various species of birds to the public, Jurong Bird Park is also educating the public on conservation and protection of our feathered friends.
Park ChroniclesIn 1968, Singapore’s Minister of Finance Dr. Goh Keng Swee envisioned a permanent bird exhibit after visiting the zoo in Rio de Janeiro and became fascinated with the zoo’s open space aviary. Goh wanted a similar place in Singapore to take a break from city life.
Jurong Bird Park was designed by John Yealland, curator of the Zoological Society of London and constructed in 1969 at the cost of $3.5 million SGD. The park formally opened on January 3, 1971.
Enjoying the ParkSingapore does parks and gardens very well, and Jurong Bird Park is no exception. It is a huge, lush park, with the different species of birds providing colorful counterpoints to the otherwise green space. It is often overlooked by the more popular Singapore Zoo, which is sad because Jurong Bird Park is a great place to enjoy nature.
The park is 20.2 hectares filled with exhibits, attractions, and shows that may just take more than a day to truly appreciate. There are more than 8,000 birds of 400 species in the avian garden, some donated to the bird park, and others bred there with the park’s breeding and conservation program. Jurong Bird Park strives to show these birds in the natural habitat for us to better learn about them, and if possible, does not keep them in cages to give the birds freedom to move around without harming them or us.
Wings of AsiaThe whole park is made up of about eight different aviaries, displaying the birds in their natural habitats. The largest aviary in the park is the recently opened Wings of Asia. The highlight of this aviary is that it is home to some of the rarest and endangered birds in the world. A definite must-see to come back for, as this aviary only opened this January, 2015.
Waterfall AviaryThe Waterfall Aviary is huge and wet, effectively mimicking a rainforest, with plenty of birds flying around its canopy. The aviary boasts of having one of the world’s tallest man-made falls that gives off the cool mist to visitors, a welcome relief from the country’s humid weather. This exhibit boasts of having over 1,500 free flying birds. Though you won’t see them all, it’s a thrill catching sight of the birds soaring above you.
Lory LoftLory Loft is another popular exhibit. Apparently it’s the world’s largest walk-in aviary for parrots. You walk into a huge tropical rainforest and you’ll see a lot of parrots flying or perched on branches, of different colors and sizes. The parrots are so used to humans that they land on you if you’re still long enough or pretend to be holding their nectar. It’s $3 SGD ($2.22 USD) to feed the Lories, if you want to make sure you get a photo opportunity with them flocking around you.
Penguins are birds so of course they are featured here in Jurong Bird Park. The penguin exhibits always draw crowds, especially children who will enjoy watching them swim around. The King Penguin species are well represented here, as well as 3 other species that are used to cold climates. The cool temperature maintained in the exhibit house is also welcome, though the park also has African Penguins. These penguins are used to warmer climates so they are in an enclosure outside. Try to time your visit here at feeding time so you’ll see a lot more penguins swimming and diving.
Flamingo LakeThere are many Flamingos in Jurong Bird Park, most of them in their own Flamingo Lake. Pretty pink and rather gangly on their legs, flamingos are an amusing sight. Better though if we can see the flock in flight.
World of DarknessAnother cool (and not just in terms of temperature) attraction is the World of Darkness. Nocturnal birds are the focus of this aviary, a lot of owls and a few other species. Everything here mimics the forest at night so you can see the birds in their simulated habitat. Despite the darkness though, most of the birds here seem to be resting.
Other exhibits in the park feature Toucans, Pelicans, flightless birds like Ostriches and Emus, birds of prey and many other species. While most of the birds are allowed to fly freely in the aviaries, those that are territorial or wilder than most birds like raptors and vultures are kept in huge cages.
ShowsOne thing that can’t be missed in Jurong Bird Park are the shows. The High Flyers Show is a noisy, colorful performance of birds like the parrots, Toucans and Pelicans all showing off their natural abilities and intelligence. At some point, it looks like a vibrant organized chaos, amusing and amazing. The Kings of the Skies is like witnessing a controlled hunt as hawks, eagles, owls and vultures show you why they have been wanted as pets for those in power or royalty since ancient times.
You can also enjoy a parrot show while having lunch, but that is something to do on the next visit. There aren’t as much visitors to the park, not like the Singapore Zoo and its safari neighbors, so it’s a more relaxing place to visit.
Getting thereThe park is a bit of the way from the city center but very accessible. Take the Green Line and alight at Boon Lay Station. Hope on Bus no. 194 or 251 at Boon Lay bus interchange to get to the park.
There is apparently also a bus that can take you to many of the attractions in Singapore, including Jurong Bird Park, the SAEx Service. Just check the schedules and stops first if you want to take that route, though the first option is a faster and more direct way.
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Author: patricia16. Last updated: Jan 31, 2015