“Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam, where the deer and the antelope play…” goes the old song. While there aren’t any real buffalo or antelope at The Animal Resort, little Elliott still found lots of animals friends to play with.
In this day and age of Pokémon Go zombies and touch screen babies, it is increasingly important to not let one glowing screen after another dictate your kid’s childhood. There are surely better ways for Elliott to chase animals around that don’t involve being glued to a screen.
With that in mind, I set out to look for an activity that would allow Elliott to get in touch with nature and its wonderful creatures. Elliott loved visiting petting zoos back in the States, but we haven’t really found a similar experience in Singapore. We were at the Singapore Zoo recently, but it didn’t offer as much interaction between the animals and children as I’d hoped for.
A little digging online led us to The Animal Resort, an old-school farm where kids can roam freely and get up close and personal with a variety of animals.
Getting to The Animal Resort
Located near Jalan Kayu, The Animal Resort − hidden within the secluded depths of Seletar West Farmway – is a stone’s throw away from Sengkang. However, I wouldn’t recommend heading there on foot, especially with kids in tow. There isn’t a proper pedestrian path – just a narrow and winding road with two-way traffic. There are ample parking lots available if you’re planning to drive in; otherwise you might want to flag a cab instead.
Upon arrival, you will spot a banner announcing your arrival at “The Animal Resort” and a huge number 81 on an open gate. This leads to a dirt road car park, and on its left, the resident horse grazes on.
There is a friendly old lady manning the farm who is more than happy to give you an introduction to the farm and its animals. You can also purchase packets of animal feed to take around. These range from bread crumbs and fish food to carrots and hay. All at a very affordable price of just $2 for any three packets.
Touring the Animal Farm
Even before starting our tour, we were already surrounded by a kit of pigeons and two female turkeys. Elliott made an instant connection with one of the turkeys, and the two quickly became inseparable. It was as if the turkey was our personal bodyguard throughout our visit!
At one point, Elliott got so engrossed with feeding the turkey that he picked up a bread crumb from the ground and popped it into his mouth, going “mmm yum yum”, as if to goad her into eating. I tried to get the crumb out of his mouth but it was too late. Well, we did sign up for an authentic kampong farm experience, so no complaints here.
Next up was the rabbit hut. The bunnies aren’t the super fluffy types that we were accustomed to seeing during fall in the States, but they were just as enthusiastic in the presence of carrots. Some chose to continue napping the warm and lazy afternoon away.
We headed to the fish pond, and boy were they hungry! All it took was a little sprinkle of fish food and they were ‘flying’ out of the pond for their afternoon snack. This got Elliott excited, and he tried to jump in for a swim. Luckily this time I caught him before he could, and prevented him from becoming fish food himself.
Roaming with the Birds
If you love birds like Elliott does, you’ll love The Animal Resort, which is the perfect avian sanctuary. With 11 types of birds roaming around the cluster – some were caged for safety reasons – you can expect a versatile mix of species. Exotic marabou stork and the cassowary live alongside your usual kampong finds of ducks, guinea fowls and pigeons.
There was a fenced-in area of peafowl that I had to keep Elliott from getting too close to, as he kept trying to bite on the cage. The peacocks and peahens weren’t very interested in food either, and were mostly taking their afternoon naps.
We also spotted a crowned crane with a handsome mohawk that freaked out when Elliott decided to run after it.
We had better luck with the cassowary, which was enclosed in a cage. As we were out of bread crumbs by this point, I handed Elliott a carrot instead. The cassowary was a friendly little fella who amused Elliott endlessly in a little game of peek-a-boo.
Elliott spent most of the afternoon playing with the free-roaming birds, running up and down the kampong path as a gaggle of geese and ducks followed closely behind. Of course, his new turkey BFF was never too far away.
Meeting PIN Number
Our last stop was the main attraction of the farm – the one and only resident horse. Named PIN Number, he is a former racehorse who had to retire from the races due to a sore leg. He lives the rest of his days at The Animal Resort and welcomes anyone with carrot or hay.
He is prone to biting though; there are instructions provided on the correct way of feeding him. It was as if Elliott knew, as he quickly became terrified of the horse. I tried to get him to feed the horse, but he was clutching my skirt for dear life the whole time, too scared to even look its way.
Revisiting the Past
We ended our little adventure back in the shed where we nursed a cold drink after the warmth of the afternoon. There were two vintage kiddy rides – the kind that we used to play on as kids – that were still functioning. Even the prices were reminiscent of yesteryear, costing no more than 50 cents per ride. Elliott wasted no time getting on one of them, but started bawling his eyes out the moment it started moving. Millennials!
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they actually serve lunch at the shed. There is no menu but the old lady is more than happy to fry up some noodles with whatever she has in her fridge. It’s almost like visiting your grandma back in the day!
(See also: Why Kids Need Kampong Play)
There is also a pretty cosy area that they rent out for birthday parties and events, including a play area with swings. Elliott loved it so much thatI had to tear him away from it when it was time to head home. This is definitely something I’d consider for Elliott’s birthday when he gets older.
His turkey companions weren’t ready to let him leave either, sticking by his side until we got into the cab.
All in all, we had a wonderful time! It was the perfect opportunity to break Elliott out of his modern-day comfort zone and introduce him to the many wonders the less beaten path has to offer.
Our connoisseur, Elliott’s rating:
Elliott absolutely loved our time at The Animal Resort. Not only did he get to experience the good ol’ kampong farm life, he got to spend an entire afternoon up close with his favourite animals, so much so that he even found best friends for life in the resident turkeys!
Things to note:
- If you’re a fussy parent and not a fan of the rural or rustic, this place is not for you. If you’re open to a kampong-style setting and would love to give your kids a taste of the good old days, then you’ll definitely want to check this out.
- Don’t forget to bring sunscreen and insect repellent.
- There is a children’s sink next to the shed for washing up, although you might wish to bring your own soap just in case.
- It is best to make your way to The Animal Resort via car or taxi (enter via Sengkang West Road).
Operating hours: Tue − Sun, 10am − 5pm
Address: 81 Seletar West Farmway 5, Singapore 798061