Singapore’s Night Safari is fabulous. We live near a zoo and I neither love them nor hate them. A great zoo is a fabulous experience for the family. The best zoo’s are educational and leading conservationists. SeaWorld may not be my cup of tea but when asked if the animals are happy, I have my answer as to whether I like the place or not. If they are breeding, that’s a fairly positive sign that they love their environment.
Our local zoo has the world’s oldest bear in captivity – she is 20 years older than she would have lived to in the wild and she puts on a show of her own accord almost daily, albeit after she has rested. Hard to hate the zoo in that case. Wildlife Reserves Singapore is the holding company that managers all of the animal parks. Each is fantastic in it’s own right and I plan to visit the River Safari on my next visit.
Singapore is fabulous for kids
Singapore has an abundance of activities for kids. For a city that covers an island, 10% of this space is parks & reserves and you will find it hard to find a building that hasn’t incorporated gardens into the building somehow. They love their wildlife. So much so that they have built crossings over the freeway just for the wildlife to be able to cross safely!
There are many animal related activities in Singapore and the standout is clearly the Night Safari. From the moment you arrive to when you leave, you are lost on a journey of the nocturnal. Fire-eating Thumbuakar performers greet you at the gates and keep you entertained while you wait for night to fall. The gates open and in pour the crowds. Unlike a day-time zoo the visitors arrive en masse for the recommended start time. I recommend that you visit the Creatures of the Night Show first up and then leisurely take one of the walking trails to make your way around the park.
Creature of the Night Show
The Creatures of The Night Show is an informative show about what dangers or issues these animals face in the wild. They use food incentives to get the animals to come out for the audience to view. They do not do tricks. At one stage they had a volunteer from the audience (a rather muscly guy from New Jersey) and having established he was petrified of snakes, a large anaconda was placed on his shoulders and then the lights went out and over the microphone the keeper stated they were going home. The lights were turned back on and the poor man looked like he was about to wet his pants. The children in the crowd thought it was hysterical!
The park covers 35 hectares of dense rainforest and to get around that vast space you can use the tram, one runs every few minutes or so. We booked a VIP tour. We had our own guide to answer all the little scientist’s questions. On a tram – you listen to recorded audio and are not privy to receiving answers to your questions.
With over 2,500 animals, of which most are native to South-East Asia, there is a lot to see. We were lucky and nearly every animal was awake and close to the path on the night we went. As luck would have it, the one animal we wanted to see was asleep. Silly sleeping wolf!
Our guide was very informative and my little scientist proceeded to test the keeper’s knowledge. My son was thrilled by the fact that, as we were in a buggy and not the tram, the animals seemed to think we were a keeper i.e. bringing them something to eat! A lot of the greedier animals came right up to the buggy. We did have to make a run for it at one stage – one of the male elephants was getting quite excited and our keeper had concerns that he would charge at us (it’s hard to imagine they would create all that excitement for entertainment purposes).
Eating and shopping
Little ones will struggle to stay awake but the bigger kids will think the experience is worth staying up for. If you have young ones I would visit one of the day-time parks that the company has. There are plenty of food options so no need to rush to eat before you go. Don’t leave eating until after you have been around the zoo as many of the food places cater for early meals only. There are loads of souvenirs to take home and the selection is high quality. Although the shops do open late, I would recommend purchasing on your way in and asking them to hold it for you to collect on the way out. The queues on the way out were lengthy.
We caught a cab. Taxis are so cheap and clean in Singapore I really don’t know why you would you think to use other transport methods. The MRT of course is fabulous, but the MRT does not have a stop at the zoo. You need to transfer to bus from one of several nearby train stations. Catch a cab!