Night Safari, Singapore - World's First Nocturnal Zoo

Night Safari was invented by Singapore. Yes, really! This was the very first nocturnal zoo in the whole world and was opened in 1994. The term "Night Safari" was invented here and soon many different countries would duplicate this concept. With over a million visitors every year, Night Safari quickly rose to the most popular attraction in Singapore. This open-air zoo is home for 36 endangered species of animals which enjoy a natural environment without being harmed by predators and poachers.

Address: 80 Mandai Lake Road, Singapore 729826
Phone: +65 6269 3411
Timings: 7.30 P.M to 12 Midnight

Ticket Price:

Adult: 35 Singapore Dollars
Child: 23 Singapore Dollars (age 3 - 12)
Singapore Senior Citizen: 17.50 Singapore Dollars
You can also get combo tickets which include other attractions such as Jurong Bird Park. Special experiences are possible, which can be found at the bottom of this article. You can buy tickets online to avoid waiting in line.

Note: Don't go if it is raining. Animal show and fire breathing show will be canceled, and if there are heavy rains, the entire place will be shut down!

The Night Safari is divided into 4 different phases. Your stay here will last at least 2 hours and if you are an animal lover, you will end up staying until midnight. You can see the four different phases below.

Thumbuakar Fire Breathing Show:
As soon as you purchase your tickets, you will enter an open dining area. They have a few restaurants and bars here. Get something to eat and grab a seat! You are about to see a fantastic tribal fire eating show. These performers come on stage every 30 minutes, but it is worth the wait. The fire breathing show lasts for 10 minutes, but it is great to watch them breathe fire and dance.

The performers call themselves "Thumbuakar tribe of Borneo", but I can assure you that no such tribe exists anywhere in the world. The fire breathers are Singaporean Tamils and Chinese who have invented a new tribe for themselves :) . They do a fantastic job in entertaining us. The breathe fire, dance and even eat fire, meaning they extinguish the burning torches in their mouths. They usually appear as a trio and wear just loincloths. It is important for them to be dressed as scantily as possible, so they can eliminate the risk of lighting their clothes.

Creatures Of The Night Show:
After the fire breathing show, head towards the amphitheater for a truly amazing animal show. This show highlights the skills of nocturnal animals. You can laugh, admire the skills of animals and if you are lucky, you can even be picked as a "volunteer". Watch the video to see what that means!

There are eight nocturnal species animals that appear in this show. They are:

Binturong (Bearcat): These look like hybrids between bears and cats. They use their long powerful tail to hold on to branches and eat fruits, fish and small mammals. The females are the dominant sex in the Binturong family. They are 20% larger and heavier than the males. Binturongs are currently listed as a "Threatened Species".

Small-Toothed Civet: Civets have a keen sense of smell and it will be demonstrated with the help of a young brave volunteer. These small animals are found all over southeast Asia and feed on fruits, frogs and lizards.

Spotted Hyena: These crafty creatures have an amazing sense of smell to detect carcasses even miles away. Spotted hyenas are the largest of the hyenas. They have powerful jaws that can even crush the bones of an elephant. With an excellent digest system, they can digest the entire prey: skin, bones, teeth, horns even hooves! Hyenas are more related to cats and not the canine family.
African Servals can leap vertically up to 10 feet to catch birds that take off slowly
Serval: These are African wild cats and feed on birds, rodents and reptiles. They are closely related to cheetahs, but have shorter tails. Their hind legs are longer than the forelegs which helps in leaping. They pounce with lightning speed, on birds that take off . Spots and stripes are individual to every single serval like human fingerprints.

Python: These are snakes that are found only in Asia and Africa. In countries like Cambodia where deforestation is rapidly growing, pythons end up in people's backyards. The Python's skin is smooth and dry, but looks wet and slimy. Pythons are constrictors, which means they squeeze their prey to death. While they are generally not aggressive to humans, they possess enough power to strangle a person to death.

Raccoon: With bandit like mask, they prowl around our neighborhood and are specialists in dumpster diving. They have become pests because our towns and cities have grown so close to their natural habitat. The word raccoon was given to us by the Powhatan (Native American) language, before the language became extinct.

Oriental Small-Clawed Otters: These are amazing animals and teach us how to recycle! They have a great sense of touch and possess superb hand to eye coordination. They take soda cans, water bottles and paper cups and put them separately in the recycle bins.

Mongoose: Sworn enemies of snakes, they can win a battle even with a deadly cobra. They can giggle like humans, especially during courtship. Mongooses are common roadside spectacles in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. In ancient Egypt, Mongoose was worshiped to protect the humans from snake bites.
Asian Elephants, Rhinoceros and other large animals can be see while riding the tram

Tram Ride:
Finished watching the animal show? Rush to the tram ride, because they have only limited seats! This is the part where you get to see the actual zoo and the bigger animals. Say bye bye to the time where the animals were held in a cage. You get to be in the tram, while the animals watch you!
Normal zoos reverse the day-night cycles of animals, so they will be more active during the day. But night safari keeps the animals in a natural, tropical forest. Wild animals are more active during nights, which is why the zoo opens only after sunset. The lighting is also done very efficiently to closely resemble moonlight. No flashes allowed, so it is hard for the camera to capture, but well-lit to see with your naked eye.

The tram ride lasts approximately 25 minutes, and  a guide explains all the different species. Officially called the "Tram safari", it is a very effective way of looking at all the animals in a short duration. The trams are screechy to the ears, but are very comfortable and don't have glass windows or railings.

Walking Trails:
At any point during or after the tram ride, you can start walking on trails. There are four different trails.

Fishing Cat Trail: The highlight of this trail is the Fishing Cat which patiently waits for the fish to come to the water edge. It then dives into the water and grabs the fish with its webbed paws. There are also plenty of other animals in this trail like Pangolin, Slow Loris and Barking Deer.

Leopard Trail: This is the most popular trail in Night Safari, as you can see Leopards, Clouded Leopards, Gir Lions and the Golden Cat.
Babirusa (pig-deer) can grow tusks and eventually kill itself by penetrating its own face.

East Lodge Trail: Take this trail if you want to see the Babirusa, Red River Hogs and the Bongos. The spotted Hyenas and Servals are also in this trail. The most important feature of this trail is the Malayan Tiger, which can be seen very closely through the glass doors.

Wallaby Trail: This is a new trail that has some amazing new animals. They have two species of beautiful Australian possums - Sugar Gliders & Brush-Tailed Possums. Ready to see some snakes, scorpions, toads and rats? They are there too. Don't be scared if Wallabies hop on right next to you, they are harmless.

Special Experiences: 
Where there is cash, there is a way! Want to impress your hot date? You can definitely do that here. Want to have close range encounters with exotic species? Sure thing! There are four different special adventures.

Gourmet Safari Express: At a price of 199 Singapore Dollars per person, you can wine and dine on the moving tram, while watching exotic animals at a very close range.  There is no limit to the flow of wine and beer, and the food comes in a variety of styles: Indian, Chinese, American and other international cuisines.
Perfect for couples, enjoy free flowing wine and exquisite dinner while watching animals

Cocktail Safari Express: This is the lighter version of the Gourmet Safari and costs 80 Singapore Dollars. They start by serving you a cocktail drink of Wild Passion, and then you get to enjoy some good food. Mini croissant, smoked salmon, fruit tartlets, pralines, a glass of wine or beer and coffee/tea.

Safari Adventurer Tour: If you are an animal lover this is a perfect for you. At a cost of 128 Singapore Dollars, you get special seats at the animal show and a private guided tour in a buggy. Watch the exotic animals at a close range, while the guide tells you unknown facts about your favorite animals. Have a close range encounter with the Asian elephants and get your souvenir picture. The "Safari Adventurer Tour" does not have any food, but they can include dining for an extra 60 Singapore Dollars.

Note: For all the special experiences above, remember to make reservations at least a week ahead. For faster reservations, call +65 6360 8560 or email

Lion and Tiger Token Feeding: There is no extra fee for this, but there is no guarantee that it will happen either. They feed the Tiger at 8.30 and 9.30 P.M and the Lion is fed at 8 and 9 P.M. You can observe these huge cats chow down their food from a very close range through glass doors.

Of all the top 10 things to do in Singapore, this one tops the list. Night Safari is truly an amazing experience whether you are six or sixty, Singaporean or a tourist, animal lover or not. Don't miss it, when you are in Singapore!


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