Singapore Zoo opens illuminated night-time walks

The Play Like an Animal zone encourages guests to stomp on light pads to bring projections to life

From this month until December, the Singapore Zoo will come alive at dusk with its latest nocturnal attraction – the Rainforest Lumina – a night walk unveiled in conjunction with its 45th anniversary.

The attraction is an illuminated one-kilometre-long trail decked out with interactive light, multimedia projections and sound installations, and covers about half of the zoo’s area. It is open from 19.30 to 00.00, with the last entry at 22.30.

The Play Like an Animal zone, where the projections hop along with participants

Rainforest Lumina is a collaboration between Wildlife Reserves Singapore and Moment Factory, a Canada-based multimedia entertainment company. It is the first Lumina instalment in South-east Asia, and the seventh in the world.

At a press event, Mike Barclay, group CEO of Mandai Park Holdings, called the Rainforest Lumina a “sizeable investment that was deliberated on for a long time”. While he declined to give the actual figure, Barclay did share that the Singapore Zoo had to “sell a lot of tickets to break even”.

Tickets cost S$22 (US$16) for adults, and S$16 for children ages three to 12.

Aside from spreading the message of wildlife conservation, Barclays shared that the Singapore Zoo presented an opportunity to activate the precinct after it closes at 18.00.

At the sing Like An Animal zone, the louder participants sing, the more colourful and elaborate the projection

“This is a wonderful way of showcasing the forest,” Barclays said. He also believes that this attraction would help to increase the zoo’s appeal to locals, as well as teenagers and adults.

He elaborated: “Many locals come to the zoo as kids, and after with their kids and grandchildren, but there are sections in between where we don’t get a lot of visitation. We are aware that there are certain segments where we don’t really have a strong appeal.”

When asked why this event runs from July to December only, as opposed to being a permanent attraction, Barclays shared: “We would like to keep it fresh as a scarcity product, where it won’t be around forever. If something is always there, people will put off visiting the space. We can run a season, take a step back, and see if it works. (If it does), we can assess how it went, and perhaps make a decision (in the future) to bring it back.”

While the walk doesn’t involve any interaction with live animals – which are moved back of house at night – visitors will have the chance to interact with eight virtual animals. These eight creatures – an orang-utan, flying fox, sloth, chameleon, otter, pangolin, hornbill and white tiger cub – appear in various exhibits.

There are 11 zones in total, a few of which are interactive. For instance, in the Sing Like An Animal zone, guests can sing (or hum, croak or yell) into a microphone, and the more sound made, the more vivid, colourful and elaborate the projection will be.

Other memorable zones along the trail included the countless dancing green fireflies, and a section dedicated to luminous stalks of flowers.

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