The Night Safari opened in Singapore in 1994 and was the first zoo to showcase nocturnal animals and is one of the most popular things to do in Singapore at night. The park is divided into seven geological regions that you can explore via four walking trails. If you are travelling with kids or those not up to walking the tracks there is also a tram ride that drives around all the exhibits and provides a live commentary as you go.
The four interlinked trails called the Fishing Cat, the Leopard, the Wallaby and the East Lodge, allow visitors to view a number of endangered species. Through a successful breeding program at the Night Safari one of the endangered Asian Elephants, named Chawang, has had four calves that will one day assist in the overall conservation of this species.
Our itinerary only allowed us one day to visit Singapore Zoo, the River Safari and the Night Safari. This meant that we set a cracking pace to fit it all in. The Night Safari is a very popular tourist attraction in Singapore at night so expect there to be a decent crowd on any night that you visit. The park is open from 7.30pm to Midnight daily and receives over 1.1 million visitors annually. If you are looking for some where to go in Singapore at night, this will definitely be a winner with the kids.
Unfortunately I was unable to take any decent photos to share with you as flash photography is not allowed. Being nocturnal animals this is a totally acceptable request. If all visitors were using flash photography it would disrupt the animals ability to see.
The Thumbuakar Performance is held in the Entrance Courtyard and is shown four times a night on the hour starting at 7:00pm. This fire dancing performance includes fire breathing and other incredible fire-eating stunts! What these guys do with the fire is unbelievable and certainly worth watching, the shows go for about 15 mins.
The Entrance Courtyard is surrounded by food outlets, we got there early enough to have a quick dinner as we watched the 7pm performance. There was quite a crowd around the stage, we sat at the back of the food area and we could see the performance pretty well. Otherwise I suggest you time your exit on the hour and then you will be able to see the show with less of the crowd.
The Night Tram goes around the entire park, even if you intend on walking all four walking tracks, I suggest your also jump on one of the trams as there are animals you see on the tram that you don’t see on any of the walking tracks. Animals include the asian elephants, banteng, red dhole, bearded pig, asian rhino, malaysian tapir, sambar deer, hippopotamus, asiatic black bear are just to name a few.
The Night Tram will take you through the seven geographical regions, being the Himalayan Foothills, Indian Subcontinent, Equatorial Africa, Indo-Malayan Region, Asian Riverine Forest, Nepalese River Valley and the Burmese Hillside. Each of these geographical regions have animals on display native to that area. All exhibits are strategically lit so that visitors can experience what animals of the night really get up too.
If you require a tram with Japanese and Mandarin commentary, attend the guest services desk at the entrance to the park and for $10SGD this can be arranged. Trams run regularly so you won’t be waiting long to start your ride.
Just like the Night Tram, some animals can only be viewed from the walking trails and not by the tram. These include the leopard, hog badger, binturong, fishing cat, barking deer, malayan tiger and the Australian animals in the new Wallaby Trail.
The Wallaby Trail has free roaming wallabies, also on display are brush tailed possums, sugar gliders, tawny frog mouth owl and a white lipped python. The Fish Cat Trail includes local animals that would or still do inhabit the rainforests of Singapore. Animals here include the asian otter, mouse deer, slow loris and indian gharial. The Leopard Trail consists mostly of leopards (obviously), such as the leopard cat and clouded leopard but also includes the golden cat and Asiatic lion, this is also the place to view the giraffes. The East Lodge Trail exhibits include anon, bongo, spotted hyena, serval and sloth bear.
Feeding of the lions and tigers takes place each evening, the lions at 8pm and 9pm to be viewed from the lion lookout on the Leopard Trail and the tigers at 8.30pm and 9.30pm from the malayan tiger exhibit along East Lodge Trail.
If you do go walking the trails with the kids, just be mindful that you will be required to walk all the way back. The tram does not pick up and drop off. It does a round trip only. The Leopard Trail and East Lodge Trail are quite a way from the entrance especially if you are out by the giraffes.
This presentation is held in a purpose built amphitheatre and the shows start at 7.30pm, 8.30pm, 9.30pm (10.30pm on Friday, Saturday and public holidays) and run for 20 mins. It’s first in best dressed for seating but all seats will provide you with great viewing. Your advised to arrive 30mins prior to the show time to ensure you get a seat especially if you want to attend the earlier shows, these are often filled with families with young kids.
This show also has an emphasis on recycle, reduce and reuse, where nocturnal animals assist with delivering the message in a fun and interactive environment. Animals included in the presentation are an otter, binturong, civet, spotted hyena, raccoon, wolves and one very large snake! The show does a great job of getting the message across to the little ones.
There are a number of food and beverage outlets at the Night Safari. They are on the expensive side though. All food outlets open at 5.30pm and many are licensed if the heat has made you thirsty for an alcoholic beverage.
Safari Restaurant: buffet or la carte restaurant set in a Malaysian village setting, expect to find local dishes such as chilli crab, chicken rice and laksa;
Bongo Burgers: western dishes such as burgers and chips, this is where we ate and two burgers and three nuggets with chips and two beers set us back $100SGD;
Zebra Cafe: this is located out near the East Lodge Trail and offers snacks and beverages for those out wandering through the walking trails on those warm nights.
Safari Sizzles: offers gourmet hot dogs, sizzling hot fried snacks and other western fare.
It would be cheaper to eat outside the Singapore Zoo which is only a 3 minute walk from the entrance to the Night Safari, food is much more reasonably priced there and a bit more variety as well.
As costs regularly change, I have provided a link for the Night Safari ticket page so that you have the most up to date prices, please click here to be redirected. If you are planning on doing more than one park, check out the multi ticket prices by clicking here. You can save a substantial amount of money by purchasing the multi park tickets and they can be used over a couple of days.
We got a taxi from the Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre as we had 5 people travelling. The taxi cost $25SGD and this was virtually the same as all 5 of us going on the MRT/ bus. While you can get to the Night Safari on public transport it is a bit convoluted and much easier to get a taxi.
The Night Safari is a must for anyone visiting Singapore at night especially those with kids. Our kids really enjoyed the Night Safari and we walked some of the walking trails but not all. Our itinerary was very busy and I had us visiting all three attractions in one day. If I were to do it again I would visit Singapore Zoo on one day and spend all day there, then the next day I would visit the River Safari and the Night Safari starting at 2pm in the afternoon and going through until the kids were pooped.
Had we have done them on separate days, the kids would have enjoyed it more. As it was they would have walked close to 15kms or more that day. Even I was pooped. We arrived at Singapore Zoo at 9am and got back to the hotel at 11pm! The kids thoroughly enjoyed all three parks and I would highly recommend all three to everyone but over two days! I highly recommend the Breakfast with the Orangutans, we got a table up front and centre, best table in the house.
Another relatively new experience in Singapore is Kidzania. There’s a number of them around the world but Kidzania Singapore has a full size Qatar 747 sticking out the building! Doesn’t everyone want to be a pilot or flight attendant when growing up! We visited Legoland Malaysia which is just over the board in Johor Bahru, there are a number of different options for getting to Legoland Malaysia but it’s easily doable in a day trip from Singapore.
Did you visit the Night Safari? Would love to hear you feedback in the comments section below. What’s your favourite activity in Singapore at night?
Sal & Co.
Disclaimer: We had a mutually beneficial arrangement with the Night Safari, although as always our opinion is our own.