Sunday we took a trip way out east to Jurong Bird Park. It’s easy — just hop on the MRT, take the green line east and exit at Boon Lay, follow the signs to the bus connection area and get in the line for bus 194 which will take you right to the entrance.
When it comes to zoos, parks and animals in captivity, it’s hard know what to expect. At some places the animals seem well cared for with plenty of space, and at others they seem confined and depressed. We didn’t know what to expect given we were on our way to see birds in captivity (just the premise of that seems wrong) but generally we left feeling Jurong Bird Park was doing it right and worth the trip.
The park is laid out in a loop — you can either walk or take the monorail that circles the park on an elevated track. There are over a dozen really cool exhibits that include penguins, toucans, parrots, ostriches, cassawaries, birds of prey and even an enormous African aviary and waterfall. There are several other enormous enclosed aviaries housing birds from other world regions — you can walk through and see the birds up close as they fly and perch around you. There are also two ponds where flamingos flock and pelicans posture.
Larger, less common birds are housed in pairs or families in big open-air cages around the park. At first it seemed a little sad with them being caged, but out in the wild world these birds (some of them endangered) are often trapped and shipped to exotic animal traders, often dying in the process. Here they can live out their lives in a protected, peaceful environment to the enjoyment and education of many people. Their beauty and color is astonishing — it’s just a wonder to me how so many patterns and colors exist in the animal kingdom. And to see a full-size pelican spread its wings and fly freely from one pond to another? Marvelous! Party like it’s your bird park.