SINGAPORE - It is sad to read the column An Outing To The $ZOO (Life!, June 29), with a nice picture of the orang utan baby, which turns out to be a long groan about how expensive the outing has been for two adults and a child.
Cost is relative. A trip to Universal Studios Singapore will be much more than what you pay for the zoo, not only in terms of admission fees, but also food and everything else.
The Singapore Zoo is not like any other zoo in the world. In my opinion, it is truly a world-class zoo.
The variety of animals, their environment and the efforts to present the animals at their best say a lot about the work and cost of such a facility. It cannot be cheap to operate. The entry cost mentioned for a whole day's entertainment, in my view, offers good value, relative to many entertainment spots locally and abroad.
Did anyone in the writer's family enjoy the outing? If your child had fun and learnt a lot about animals and nature, how do you, as a parent, put a monetary value on this?
Deepika Shetty also wrote in the column that a visit to the Kidzworld play area and KFC fast-food joint further set her back $50. Sad to say, but this has nothing to do with the trip to the zoo, but can happen at any entertainment venue.
Most people I know, including many foreign friends visiting, have found the Singapore Zoo a highlight of their visit to Singapore.
Chew Eng Soo
I beg to differ from Deepika Shetty, not just because I am a die-hard zoo fan.
Has she considered the cost of running a wildlife park? This includes the cost of maintaining the thousands of beautiful animals and keeping the park pristine and lush, and the staff's salaries. The cost of making the amazing world of wildlife accessible to everyone is not necessarily low.
Burnard Seow Choon Kee
Most of our local attractions, such as the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and the conservatories at the Gardens by the Bay, have become too expensive for the average Singaporean family.
Other than the high entrance fees, the cost of having light meals or refreshments at these venues is also fairly high - even for the average tourist.
Mak Yue Chong
The zoo should consider reducing the price for children to $10 and, maybe, $15 for adults. It could charge higher prices for tourists or foreigners. That is what some countries do.
"Oh, we treat it like our local nature reserve," I used to say this blithely to those who asked us about the zoo. And it was true: With our zoo passes, we went often and enjoyed the animals and relative tranquillity of a tropical zoo, where the animals seemed, for the most part, peaceful and well-cared for.
But after some four or five years of membership, we changed, and so did the zoo. We still go once a year or so, but I always go away determined not to return. The shows are just too noisy and intrusive, there are endless building works in progress, and plans to move Inuka away from the tropics once his mother died never materialised.
I am reminded that this is a commercial enterprise at every stop I make, unlike the old days when I could allow myself to see the zoo as a sanctuary. Now, the children clamour to visit the plastic-fantastic horror that is Kidzworld. The keepers seem worn out and to be simply going through the motions.
Dear Singapore Zoo, are you a zoological garden or a theme park? It has become hard to tell.