Let there be light.
The Singapore Zoo has never opened its gates to visitors after the closing time of 6pm – and there’s no actual need to, anyway, with the Night Safari serving as its nighttime counterpart for the nocturnal animals.
So it’s only more than apt that the attraction spot is celebrating its 45th anniversary with the team’s first-ever attempt at creating a nighttime setting – and my, have they pulled it off well.
Named the Rainforest Lumina, the latest attraction features a 1km trail, with various interactive light set-ups and sound installations littered along the way. It sprawls across nearly half of the zoo’s area, and is separated by means of 11 mist-filled zones that sport animal sightings at times – albeit in virtual forms.
Walking through the entrance yields a blanket of brume, which while certainly helps to add to the overall atmosphere, also comes with a slight rank odour. A bit of time is needed to get used to it, and once inside, stone slabs and lit cauldrons line the sides of the pathway; visitors are guided to snap on a wristband from the stash belonging to the trait or animal they relate most to (I picked the hornbills). Tagged with a QR code, this can later be used as a photo opportunity at the end of the trail.
Pulsating with streaks of alternating green and blue light is the lead-up to the second zone. The illumination projects an optical illusion, which is undeniably cool, but do exercise caution: the paths can be rather poorly-lit, and the repeated strobe may possibly trigger epileptic episodes. Past this, the lights are used purely as a directional guide, with minimal to zero flashes. Depending on the zones, they take on a different colour, although blue and green seem to be the primary choices, alongside the occasional palette of orange and red.
The lighting showcase is further enhanced with interactive exhibits. An enchanting one would be the audio-controlled display, where users have to sing, speak, or make a small sound into the standing microphones to activate splashes of visuals on the screen. It’s ingenious, creative, and hypnotising to watch – see it in action above.
A zoo without animals makes for a ridiculous notion, and the team has introduced virtual animal projections to compensate for the lack of actual ones. Finely-crafted, they easily blend into the surroundings, and boast smooth movement from one spot to another – the orang utan, for instance, is able to swing about fluidly without any stutter. A complete package with special effects in tow, this makes for an especially enjoyable watch, and would be perfect for families with young children.
The little ones will also appreciate the last interactive attraction. By jumping on any of the pads lying around, the corresponding onscreen animals are launched into the air, with the height of the hop determining the latter’s travel distance. It’s great fun, and serves as a great form of entertainment for the active gremlins, making it the most apt choice to close off the hands-on zones with a bang.
As Rainforest Lumina is a standalone attraction, ticket prices are non-inclusive of zoo admission, and will cost S$22 and S$16 for adults and children respectively. It’s slated for opening on July 1, 2018, spanning across 7.30pm to 10pm over seven entry timings a day.
Check out the rest of the scenery and action here: