Wildlife Reserves Singapore Food Trail 2012 - Alvinology

Wildlife Reserves Singapore Food Trail 2012

Thanks to the wonderful folks from Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), my family was invited to their Wildlife Reserves Singapore Food Trail 2012 event with Executive Chef Kelvin Low, the man behind award-winning dining experiences that include Jungle Breakfast with Wildlife at Singapore Zoo, Lunch with Parrots at Jurong Bird Park and Gourmet Safari Express at Night Safari.

Family photo with a parrot
Family photo with a parrot

Wildlife Reserves Food Trail 2012 is organised in conjunction with the Singapore Food Festival.

Rachel and I brought our baby son Asher along and he thoroughly enjoyed the full day excursion touring the Singapore Zoo, the Jurong Bird Park and the Night Safari. We were hosted for all three meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner at each venue respectively. Here is the full program:

Time Activity Venue
9.00am to 10.30am Jungle Breakfast with Wildlife Singapore Zoo
10.30am to 12.00pm Fragile Forest behind-the-scenes
12.00pm to 12.30pm Journey to Jurong Bird Park Bus
12.30pm to 2.00pm Lunch with Parrots Jurong Bird Park
2.00pm to 5.15pm Birds n Buddies and Kings of the Skies showsBreeding & Research Centre behind-the-scenes
5.15pm to 6.00pm Journey to Night Safari Bus
6.00pm to 6.30pm Ulu Ulu Safari Restaurant kitchen tour Night Safari

First stop was the Singapore Zoo.

Rachel and I were late (sorry!) and missed most of the breakfast as Asher had a little diaper mishap (details not suitable for a blog post on food). You can read check out Christine and Grace‘s blog posts for more details.

Nonetheless, we were still able to grab some buns, croissants and fresh fruit juices before heading to the Fragile Forest for a guided tour, including an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour where we got to play with insects.

Recreated in the form of a 20,000 cubic metre flight area, the Fragile Forest showcases a mix of insects, animals, birds and plants found in rainforest. None of the inhabitants are caged or locked up, hence visitors get to observe them up close.

Asher was really tickled when we witnessed a fierce bird flapped its wings to prevent a ring-tailed lemur from crossing it’s path. He was crackling throughout the episode!

Kids would love this place:

Entering the Fragile Forest
Entering the Fragile Forest
A bird with twig
A bird with twig
A beautiful stationary butterfly
A beautiful stationary butterfly
A scarlet macaw
A scarlet macaw
A mouse-deer that came right in front of us
A mouse-deer that came right in front of us
This was the fierce bird that cracked Asher up
This was the fierce bird that cracked Asher up
A wandering duck
A wandering duck
Rachel and Asher spotted a family of ducks
Rachel and Asher spotted a family of ducks
A bird house
A bird house
Two ring-tailed lemurs
Two ring-tailed lemurs

During the behind-the-scenes tour, Asher had fun stroking caterpillars and the Madagascan hissing cockroaches among other insects. Not a big fan of creepy crawlers, I passed, preferring to keep the distance and just take photographs.

Food preparation for the animals and birds in the Fragile Forests
Food preparation for the animals and birds in the Fragile Forests
The food looks pretty good
The food looks pretty good
Various poisonous spiders and such, confiscated from illegal pet owners or traffickers
Various poisonous spiders and such, confiscated from illegal pet owners or traffickers
Dried scorpions and tarantulas
Dried scorpions and tarantulas
A dead tarantula - the hair on its body can still cause irritation to the human eyes
A dead tarantula – the hair on its body can still cause irritation to the human eyes
The first insects we got to play with
The first insects we got to play with
Asher was thrilled to play with this colourful caterpillar
Asher was thrilled to play with this colourful caterpillar
Baby hand stroking a caterpillar
Baby hand stroking a caterpillar
Asher hearts caterpillar
Asher hearts caterpillar
Chrysallis - the stage between a caterpillar and a butterfly. Looks like a piece of candy?
Chrysallis – the stage between a caterpillar and a butterfly. Looks like a piece of candy?
Giant millipede
Giant millipede
Prickly leaf insect
Prickly leaf insect
Full view of the prickly stick insect
Full view of the prickly stick insect
Taking out some Madagascan hissing roaches to play
Taking out some Madagascan hissing roaches to play
Close-up of one of the roaches
Close-up of one of the roaches
Asher had fun playing with roaches too
Asher had fun playing with roaches too
Can you see one of them giving birth?
Can you see one of them giving birth?
Long stick insect
Long stick insect
Blind mole rats
Blind mole rats

Some other animal exhibits that we saw along the way at the zoo on foot and while on a tram ride:

An adult proboscis monkey
An adult proboscis monkey
A baby proboscis monkey
A baby proboscis monkey
Playful orang utans
Playful orang utans
Zebras
Zebras
A meerkat or suricate, a small mammal belonging to the mongoose family
A meerkat or suricate, a small mammal belonging to the mongoose family
Two majestic giraffes
Two majestic giraffes
A chimpanzee
A chimpanzee

We ended our zoo trip with a boat ride. I think many visitors, including Singaporeans do not know this is available as an alternative way to cruise the park. Now you know.

Going for a boat ride
Going for a boat ride
Zoo boat
Zoo boat

We then moved on to our next destination, the Jurong Bird Park via a chartered bus provided by WRS.

At the Bird Park, our first stop was at the Songbird Terrace for the Lunch with Parrots. The lunch was buffet-style which works well for Rachel and I, famished after a long morning in the sun.

Lunch with parrots!
Lunch with parrots!

The buffet spread was Asian cuisines. I like the laksa and had three servings:

I love laksa
I love laksa

While eating, diners are entertained by a birds show featuring a painting Cockatoo, an acrobatic Scarlet Macaw and more:

A cockatoo putting objects into a plastic container
A cockatoo putting objects into a plastic container
Repeating the same trick, but this time, with a volunteer holding the container instead of the trainer
Repeating the same trick, but this time, with a volunteer holding the container instead of the trainer
Asher was totally captivated by the show
Asher was totally captivated by the show
Ippy the Scarlet Macaw doing an acrobatic flip
Ippy the Scarlet Macaw doing an acrobatic flip
Pikasso, the Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo that paints
Pikasso, the Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo that paints
Is the painting nice?
Is the painting nice?
Fixing wooden shapes into their respective holding units
Fixing wooden shapes into their respective holding units
Teaching recycling
Teaching recycling

After lunch, we caught two bird shows – the Birds n Buddies and Kings of the Skies shows.

The Birds n Buddies show (daily, 11am and 3pm) is a visual fiesta that brings together a collection of birds and colourful costumed characters. It is considered the only bird show in the world with the most number of birds in a live performance. Asher loved the bright, vibrant spectacle; I believe most kids would too:

The show started with a bird mimicking the human voice very accurately
The show started with a bird mimicking the human voice very accurately
Showcasing a flock of flamingoes on stage
Showcasing a flock of flamingoes on stage
A scarlet macaw flying through hoops
A scarlet macaw flying through hoops
Love the strong dash of colours as the bird flew across the sky
Love the strong dash of colours as the bird flew across the sky
An adult holding a hoop
An adult holding a hoop
A young boy holding the hoop this time
A young boy holding the hoop this time
Asher was captivated by the sights and sounds
Asher was captivated by the sights and sounds
A clever cockatoo making delivery
A clever cockatoo making delivery
A macaw and a cockatoo competing to see which can place more balls into the tree holes
A macaw and a cockatoo competing to see which can place more balls into the tree holes
Trainer giving instructions to his two hornbills
Trainer giving instructions to his two hornbills
Two hornbills in the arms of a tourist
Two hornbills in the arms of a tourist
Assorted pelicans showcase
Assorted pelicans showcase

The King of the Skies show (daily, 10am and 4pm) on the other hand, features ferocious flying predators – eagles, hawks, falcons, vultures and owls showcasing their hunting mights:

A stern looking eagle
A stern looking eagle
Another eagle
Another eagle
A guy in costume enacting the art of falconry
A guy in costume enacting the art of falconry
Trainer/ emcee on falconry
Trainer/ emcee on falconry
A lady in costume and the art of falconry
A lady in costume and the art of falconry
Showcasing many different species of vultures
Showcasing many different species of vultures
A vulture flying into the trainer's arm
A vulture flying into the trainer’s arm
Close-up of a vulture swooping down
Close-up of a vulture swooping down
Asher dancing to the show music
Asher dancing to the show music
Owls are up next
Owls are up next
Majestic and proud owl
Majestic and proud owl
An owl all ready to strike
An owl all ready to strike
An owl howling
An owl howling
A fierce-looking owl
A fierce-looking owl
Asher had lots of fun
Asher had lots of fun
Rachel and I with an owl. Asher is not in the picture as he was sleeping.
Rachel and I with an owl. Asher is not in the picture as he was sleeping.

After the shows, we visited the Breeding & Research Centre and went for a behind-the-scenes tour, witnessing how baby birds are fed with syringes:

Newly hatched chicks are kept in containers like these
Newly hatched chicks are kept in containers like these
Weaning room
Weaning room
Two baby pelicans weaning
Two baby pelicans weaning
Many of the chicks are quite ugly without feathers
Many of the chicks are quite ugly without feathers
Filling up the syringe with feed
Filling up the syringe with feed
Pinning down the chick for feeding
Pinning down the chick for feeding
Syringe feeding
Syringe feeding

By now, we were quite tired and sticky after a long day. Thank goodness for the air-conditioned bus to the Night Safari, our last stop for the day!

At the Night Safari, we were greeted by the friendly executive chef, Kelvin Low and he brought us behind-the-scenes for a kitchen tour at Night Safari’s Ulu Ulu Safari Restaurant:

Chef Kelvin Low came to greet all of us
Chef Kelvin Low came to greet all of us
The beautiful Ulu Ulu Restaurant
The beautiful Ulu Ulu Restaurant
Front open kitchen
Front open kitchen
Chef Kelvin Low bringing us round his kitchen
Chef Kelvin Low bringing us round his kitchen
In the kitchen of Ulu Ulu Restaurant
In the kitchen of Ulu Ulu Restaurant
Meat and fish preparation room
Meat and fish preparation room
Pastry
Pastry
Chef showing us inside one of the giant fridges
Chef showing us inside one of the giant fridges
Dishes that are ready to be served
Dishes that are ready to be served
Soup preparation
Soup preparation

Professionally trained at Le Cordon Bleu, Chef Low has whipped up exquisite fare for local and international dignitaries, celebrities and royalty. These include Singapore’s former president S.R. Nathan, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, magician David Copperfield and even the Prince of Wales.

The kitchen tour was followed by an exquisite dinner which Chef Low had specially arranged for us:

Chef Kelvin Low introducing the dishes
Chef Kelvin Low introducing the dishes
Our dinner menu
Our dinner menu
Ulu Ulu Chicken Satay
Ulu Ulu Chicken Satay
Pineapple juice and lime juice
Pineapple juice and lime juice
Ulu Ulu BBQ Chicken Wings
Ulu Ulu BBQ Chicken Wing
Trio meat platter served with fragrant chicken rice
Trio meat platter served with fragrant chicken rice
Ulu Ulu Chili Crab with Mantou
Ulu Ulu Chili Crab with Mantou
Indian Fish Tikka with Garlic Naan
Indian Fish Tikka with Garlic Naan
Honey sea coconut in grass jelly for dessert
Honey sea coconut in grass jelly for dessert

After dinner, Rachel and I decided to head back home as Asher was finally getting tired. We were proud of him for not kicking a fuss throughout the entire day. He must have enjoyed himself tremendously. Too excited to sleep, he only had an hour afternoon nap compared to the usual two to three hours.

Animals always appeal to children.

Learning more about flora, fauna and the natural environment teaches children to respect the Earth and its other co-inhabitats. Asher just had one of his first such lesson in life. 🙂

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