The Breakfast with Orangutans at Singapore Zoo is a decades-old program that started with an icon of Singapore tourism, Ah Meng, the red-haired Sumatran orangutan. Ah Meng had breakfast with celebrities and noted visitors like Prince Philip and Michael Jackson in her day.
Today, as when the innovative idea was first implemented, Singapore Zoo’s Breakfast with Orangutans strives to educate people of the threatened status of the orangutan species in Indonesia and to spur conservation efforts. It has now been expanded to include a wide variety of the zoo’s friendly residents and is a perennial favorite of young and old alike.
Conducted at the open-air restaurant named after Ah Meng (she passed away in 2008), it is a buffet-style affair where small animals and birds roam between the tables and larger ones are brought along by handlers.
You can purchase fruit to feed the elephants (who will not be in the room) and feed them as they come up to the balcony that overlooks the stream where they are bathed and where they play. The orangutan family makes an appearance at 9.30 a.m. and usually stays for about 30 minutes. The troop consists of over 5 adults and several tiny babies who are the most active – and mischievous! – of the lot.
A number of visitors remark that a buffet breakfast with the wildlife at Singapore Zoo is more affordable and immensely more entertaining than breakfast buffets at their hotels. Just remember that photographs with the orangutans will cost you $18.
Singapore Zoo has been lauded for its use of open concept animal enclosures across its 64 acres (26 hectares). Of course, there are barriers between visitors and the more unpredictable and potentially dangerous of the 3,600 animals from over 300 species. However, they are disguised as natural obstacles like moats and large boulders – you won’t see rows and rows of steel bars here.
The zoo is located in the Mandai Reserve area at the northern tip of the island. Singapore has never been known for its natural environment – there simply isn’t enough space on the tiny island. Mandai is one of the few areas where there are still relatively large areas of natural terrain within which you can roam. However, the Singapore Zoo’s remarkable concept stands up to competition from around the world in terms of both the variety of species on display and the quality of life that they enjoy. Breakfast with Orangutans at Singapore Zoo is a definite recommend for any animal lover.