Several people told us to go to Singapore’s Zoo and Night Safari Park since they are some of the best zoos in the world. But, we are from San Diego, which also has a top zoo, so the regular zoo didn’t excite us too much. But the night safari park sounded interesting, though. All the animals are nocturnal and you can see them when they are up and active. We did chores during the day. One of the chores was laundry. While we have a small washer on board, sometimes it is nice to use the bigger machines in the marina so the laundry gets done quicker. Christi had washed our mattress pad, but somehow ran out of time to wash the sheets, which is no big deal since we have a spare set of sheets for the bed. We left for the zoo before making the bed.
The zoo and night safari park are located side by side in the north center part of the island, and, like Raffles Marina, are out in the middle of nowhere. After a 30 minute train ride from Vivo City, we boarded a bus for another 15 minute ride to the park. The park opens at 1930 (7:30 pm). We arrived shortly thereafter. Near the entrance a tribal people of Borneo show was about to get started. The show was a half hour long. The tribesmen came out in costumes similar to what we saw at the heiva in French Polynesia. They did several stunts, such as balancing atop the tips of narrow poles held by their compadres and marksmen blowgun shooting, but the majority of the show was spent doing displays of fire eating. They put some flammable substance in their mouth, put a lit torch in their mouth to light the fluid, and then would spit out in steady streams of fire from their mouths. When the fluid was gone, they would stick the lit torch in their mouth to put it out. It was crazy. There were three women who danced in the background wearing assorted local costumes and spinning globes of fire.
As soon as that show was over, an animal show was beginning, so we got in line. For some reason, they stopped letting people in. A person came out and said the show had already started and we would be seated in a few minutes. We are not sure how much of the show we missed, but what we saw was disappointing. Most of the time was spent with the comical emcee cracking jokes and little time seeing the animals. They brought out an enormous snake and had a big guy from the audience come forward to hold it. He said it was heavy. They brought out three otters that they had trained to recycle. One otter went for all the plastic on the ground, one for the paper, and one for the cans. They mostly put them in the right bins, but they were reluctant to let go of their toys. They clearly wanted to play with them a little before giving them up. They brought out a small cougar to show how high it could jump. An owl flew around the arena and pooped all over a lady seated right near us. The lady didn’t take it well. All the participants and poopees got Ben & Jerry’s coupons. Ben & Jerry’s is pretty big out here.
The tram ride around the park was an additional USD$7.50. The tram ride was OK. It moved kind of fast, so you couldn’t get a really good look at most of the animals. Not all the animals were out, and there was no stopping to wait for them to appear. But it did cover most of the park. There are lots of animals we have never heard of before on display, including:
Malayan Tapir, which looks sort of like a pig with a grey front and back and a white middle.
Red Dohole, which looks like a fox.
Thamin and Barasingha, which look like different species of deer
Gaur, which looks like a brown ox with white socks and horns
Capybara, which is hard to describe. It looks like a cross between a dog and a rabbit, sort of.
Bongo and Lechwe, which look like different varieties of elk.
Markhor and Bharal, which look like different varieties of goats.
Mouflon, which looks like a ram
Anoa and Bantengs (not to be confused with Bintang, which is a beer), which look like cows
Barbirusa is another one that is hard to describe, maybe a cross between a rhino and a pig.
Oryx, which is like an elk with really long horns.
There were a lot of usual zoo animals, as well, including lions, tigers, foxes, bears, buffalo, hippos, hyenas, zebras, giraffes, flamingos, anteaters, elephants, rhinos, jackals, deer, wolf and water buffalo.
After the tram ride we wandered around a portion of the park not covered at all by the tram. This was the highlight. The new creatures we saw are:
Australian Sugar Glider, which is a cute little rodent looking thing that can sort of fly from tree to tree
Giant flying squirrel, and while we were there the keeper put food out and we saw them fly (really jump amazing lengths) to the food.
Tarsier, the smallest primate. They are tiny and have huge eyes.
Civet, which sort of looks like it could be a member of the cat family.
Golden cat, which is like a leopard without the spots.
And the animals we are more familiar with included leopards, one of which was pacing around and watching us through the glass; otters, porcupines, badgers and bats (AKA flying fox). Most were out performing for us, which is always fun to watch.
The park is definitely too much to see in one night, since it opens at 1930 and closes at midnight.
Unfortunately, we needed to leave by 2300 (11:00 pm) to catch the 2330 train. We were disappointed because we wanted to walk around the park and watch the animals close up that we had driven by in the tram. Even if we had stayed the hour longer that the park is open, we would have only seen a small portion of the animals on display.
By the time we had gotten out of the park and into a taxi, it was 2310, so we were cutting it close getting to the train. The cab driver told us the last train was at 2320, not 2330, and there was no way to make it. Sigh. He pointed out that between taxi fare to the train, train fare, and the higher after midnight taxi fare from Vivo City to the marina, the ride all the way from the zoo really wouldn’t be much more money since we were leaving early enough to get back to the marina before midnight.
When we arrived back we were sad when we realized that we still needed to make the bed. We keep the spare sheets and our comforter in a cabinet at the head of our bed. We opened the cabinet, and much to our dismay, realized that everything in the cabinet was sopping wet and covered with big, black mold spots. Oh no! We threw everything in the cockpit (back deck) to deal with in the morning.