The Singapore Zoo is marking its 45th anniversary this year — and with Singapore’s beloved pastime of celebrating milestones of every and any kind — the wildlife park is hosting a slew of events in June, including animal-themed movies, picnics in the park, and the overnight “Sleep with the Beasts” program.
For a little bit of history, this park was one of the world’s first open concept zoos: it launched in 1973 with animals such as giraffes, lions, and hippos in their natural setting. Well, made by man to be as close to their natural settings, anyway.
The Fragile Forest followed in 1998. This rainforest dome was built for mousedeer, bats, birds, and sloths.
When 2001 came around, The Great Rift Valley of Ethiopia debuted with 100 Hamadryas baboons frolicking amidst cliffs and waterfalls. Yet another world first happened in 2006 when the zoo’s orangutans were allowed to swing freely between trees right above visitors.
All that said, what sounds coolest is the zoo’s July debut of Rainforest Lumina, touted as “Southeast Asia’s first multimedia night walk experience”. Not much has been revealed so far, other than it being an immersive, interactive visual experience that will be hosted by a “group of unlikely heroes” called the Creature Crew.
The crew will lead visitors through a kilometer-long trail of the park’s tropical rainforest in the dark of night, opening up exploration of the zoo come nightfall (instead of simply heading to the Night Safari). While the animals are asleep, visitors will get to stroll through 10 zones, which will be set up according to various themes.
The trail was created in collaboration with multimedia arts studio Moment Factory, which has erected similar projects across the globe, including sites like Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall in the US, and the Granby Zoo in Canada.
Rainforest Lumina starts in July, daily 7:30pm-midnight at the Singapore Zoo, 80 Mandai Lake Rd. Adults $22, children $16.