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Asia’s top bird park attraction

By Julian Abraham Chua

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Considered a bird watchers paradise, Jurong Bird Park in fabulous Singapore is the world's largest. Jurong Bird Park houses over 9000 birds of different species, with 29 of them considered to be endangered. The park also provides a wide array of shows and attractions that are sure to educate even the most avid bird-watcher.

 

It is a landscaped park, built on the western slope of Jurong Hill. It is located within the Boon Lay Planning Area of the Jurong district and has an area of 202,000 square metres (50 acres).

 

Asia Pacific's largest bird park was opened on 3 January 1971. The S$3.5 million park draws in both locals and foreign visitors to a learning experience about the life and natural habitats of the birds found within the region. In recognition of this, the Park has been awarded a number of local and international tourism awards. It is also noted for housing the world's largest walk-in aviary with the tallest man-made waterfall of over 30 m.

 

How the plan to build the park was hatched

Jurong BirdPark owes it founding to the vision of one man, Goh Keng Swee (Dr). In 1967, during a World Bank Meeting, Goh, Singapore's Minister of Finance at the time, visited the aviary in the Rio de Janeiro zoo (Jardim Zoológico or the Rio City Zoo). Impressed by its free-flight aviary, he shared his idea of such a bird park for Singapore at the inaugural meeting of the Jurong Town Corporation in June 1968.

With rapid industrialisation taking place in Jurong then, Goh felt that the creation of a bird park would allow Singaporeans and their families to appreciate nature in an increasingly urban society.

 

Highlights of the park

The Park's exhibits and aviaries simulate the natural habitats for different species. It boasts the world's largest walk-in aviary where the tallest man-made waterfall is found. Its attractions and bird shows are some of the best in the region.

 

Some of the key attractions include the Hornbills and Toucans Exhibit that consist of 25 large aviaries covering an area of 2,000 sq m and houses the world's largest collection of Southeast Asian Hornbills and a wide variety of South American Toucans. The simulated natural habitat proved successful for the Park when it recorded the world's first hatching of the Black Hornbill and Great Indian Hornbill in captivity.

There is also the Penguin Parade exhibit, which occupies an area of 1,630 sq m, and is second in size only to that in San Diego, USA. The exhibit is home to more than 200 penguins of five to the 17 known species. The five species on exhibit are the Humboldt, the Rockhopper, the Macaroni, the Fairy and the majestic King Penguin. Visitors are able to view the birds through a specially constructed viewing gallery, which has a 30 m window.

Its Southeast Asian Birds Aviary has 260 species out of over 1,000 species of exotic birds from Southeast Asia. Some 100 species of the birds are grouped in A-framed aviaries, with a large walk-in aviary in the centre where the birds fly freely. The aviaries were landscaped to simulate a secondary rainforest environment for the birds. In addition, there is a tropical thunderstorm that comes on at 12 noon daily, but the rain falls within the centre of the aviary, away from the visitor's walkway.

Another walk-in aviary is the Park's Waterfall Aviary, which houses the world's largest walk-in aviary with the tallest man-made waterfall of over 30 m. It houses over 1,500 free-flying birds such as flocks of Ibis and Egret. Visitors can also view the impressive collection of 10,000 exotic flora of trees, bamboo, palms and ground-cover vegetation that simulates a tropical rainforest environment.

 


Whether it is the 'Birds of Prey' exhibit, which shows eagles and falcons soaring above, the 'Penguin Exhibition,' with more than 200 penguins and multiple species, or the insightful realm of flightless birds, one of the enjoyable qualities of the park is that many of the exhibits are as educational as they are visually stimulating. These vase collections of birds are a delightful oasis which offers a one of a kind experience for the whole family that is both educational and entertaining. So when you are in Singapore, don’t forget to drop by this amazing bird park.

 

 



Published on Feb 22, 2013

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