04 November 2011


There are many outdoorsy things to do in Singapore but Paul is not a fan of many of them – mostly because that means he has to be outside to do them. Paul would much rather be inside under an air conditioner any day of the week.

Tuesday I was able to get him out of the house for one great outdoor adventure – the Night Safari at the Singapore Zoo. The Night Safari is separate from the Zoo and the Jurong Bird Park, another attraction focusing on, you guessed it, birds.

The first park in the world dedicated to showcasing nocturnal animals, the Night Safari is a must see for anyone spending some time in the area. The park does not open until the sun is down and continues tours through midnight.

I bought the tickets as part of Paul’s birthday adventure but the thunderstorm we experienced caused us to delay our trip to the zoo. Luckily, the park provides a 31-day window for using tickets, which is amazing.

Before we entered the park through the turnstiles, we were in a world made of huts filled with souvenirs, food centers and a bar.

We immediately walked into a fire eaters show in progress where a large white man with no shirt was dancing and participating in the act, looking oh so stupid. At one point, the fire eaters (men and women) had the tall, white man with no shirt place his knees on the ground, stand up tall on his back legs, lean back and cover his eyes with his hands. All of the performers casually left the stage, leaving the man waiting…and waiting…and waiting. And he had no idea he was all alone. He just sat and waited until they all came out for their final bow and picked him up.

When we arrived inside the gate, we boarded a tram that drove very slowly through the trees on a narrow blacktop path. The tram did not have lights and no flash photography was allowed so, unfortunately, I have no pictures to prove we saw anything other than a large white man with no shirt.

We rode very slowly as the tram guide told us about the animals we would be seeing as we approached each station. Picture a dark road only wide enough for one car with grass on either side. As Paul nervously pointed out, there were no fences separating the animals from the tram, the road or the other side of the road. They all roamed freely.

We witnessed a few animals crossing the road in front of us on a few occasions. A giant Malayan Tapir sat right next to the tram on the edge of the road. I really wanted to reach out and touch it.

Google image of a Malayan Tapir
We saw several types of deer and pig, some hippos, hyenas, tigers, lions and elephants, among others. When stopped at an intermediate tram station to walk one of the trails, we saw several animals not seen from the tram including flying squirrels.

The flying squirrels were in a big cage structure in which we had to make our way through three sets of doors in order to enter. One door would not open if the other was not closed to ensure that the animals stayed inside. We estimated that there were four squirrels in the bushes and tall trees. Two came out to play while we were inside the cage.

One squirrel flew from one bushy tree to a tall, bare tree stump out front for viewing. He knew he was being watched and he liked it so he sat up there, posing and looking at the eight or so of us on the ground hoping to see him fly again.

When a buddy made his way to the viewing stump, the first squirrel took off. He jumped into the air, arms sprawled, and headed toward the ground, nearly taking off Paul’s head as he did so. Paul had been walking toward the door and had no idea this silently-flying creature was about to take him down.

After the squirrel adventure, we headed into what I called the bat cave. I never pictured myself willingly going into an area that housed free flying bats and flying foxes (think of them as giant bats that look like baby foxes with wings that hang upside down). However, when two white-haired women came out with the biggest smiles on their faces saying this was a “must,” I figured that if grandma 1 and grandma 2 could survive, I suppose I could give it a shot.

Google images of Flying Foxes

So I was somewhat brave, somewhat nervous and very cautious. Paul kept pushing me because I was moving so slowly through the winding wooden bridge of a path, stopping in my tracks any time I saw movement. There were small bats in the trees, flying around and eating fruit that was hanging from branches.

I remembered seeing the flying foxes at the Columbus Zoo so I was looking forward to see them awake (they were all sleeping inside their wings behind the grass when we were at the zoo during the day). I did not expect to see two of them fighting over a meal, however. Hearing that squawking and seeing the wings flapping was enough to make me want to find the exit, so I quietly excused myself and waited for Paul outside.

Paul, who admitted he was not keen on the idea of spending an evening at the zoo, really did have a good time. He said that anyone who comes to visit gets a trip to the Night Safari, so come on over. 


Liana W said...

Glad you guys had a good time at the zoo! Of course, I'm slightly partial.

Anonymous said...

Do the hyenas, tigers and lion roamed freely too? Well, glad you all made it out alive... lol!

McKee said...

They do! There is a large ditch by the road so that they cannot approach the trams so the people are protected but there are no fences, whether structural or invisible. I highly recommend the trip.