River Safari

An immersive journey

Blending nature, wildlife and the built environment, River Safari is Asia’s first river-themed wildlife park, hosting Southeast Asia’s largest panda exhibit and the world’s largest freshwater aquarium. More than a collection of wildlife exhibits, the pathways and exhibition spaces through the various landscapes were designed to be in close proximity with the animals, enabling an unusually intimate experience between the guests and animals.

Situated along the Upper Seletar Reservoir and nestled between the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari, the immersive experience showcases the different wildlife that is indigenous to each featured location as the 12-hectare route travels across eight different freshwater habitats – Amazon, Congo, Ganges, Mekong, Mississippi, Murray, Nile and Yangtze rivers.

80 Mandai Lake Road, Singapore 729826
Category Sports, Community & Recreation | Theme Parks
Year 2012
Size 88,400sqm
The priority in the design of River Safari is to place an emphasis on the visitor experience and to challenge conventional thinking of zoo interaction.
Preserving the site’s natural topography, the panda enclosure is served by an elevated walkway that allows encounters with the pandas at eye level.
Amazon Flooded Forest; the attention to light and volume of the space imparts a sense of discovery.
Aluminium trellis filters daylight and views into the staircase and inner spaces.

Similarly, the unique semi-outdoor bathrooms adopt a similar approach with a focus on the use of local materials. Central skylight with a wooden trellis veil enlivens the interior of the bathrooms in the Entrance Plaza zone while the open-air wash basin area in the Amazon River Quest zone is surrounded by natural greenery and bamboo detailing, generating a pleasant microclimate. These distinctive design elements foster the interplay between openness and privacy.

Visitors are brought on a rhythmic journey that offers an intimate observation of exhibits in a setting that is an attraction unto itself. Immersing guests and animals in the same landscape allows people to observe how animals live in the wild and to establish an open, authentic connection with the animals.

Each of the four distinct zones – Rivers of the World, Giant Panda Forest, the Amazon River Quest ride and Amazon Flooded Forest – have carefully orchestrated paths to deliver unique, thematic experiences. For instance, the giant panda exhibit, the most anticipated of the river safari’s attractions, utilises the surrounding topography to position visitors at eye level with the animals.

Amazon Flooded Forest also delivers an experience that is more intimate than would typically be expected by disguising the barriers between the giant river otters and visitors. By controlling the ambient light from light to darkness in another darkened tunnel, the sense of arrival and experience was further enhanced.

Specialist Services

Integrated services provided for this project.


2013 SIA-Rigel Bathroom Design Awards
River Safari
2012 BCA Green Mark GoldPlus – New Parks
River Safari

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