Virtual creatures come out at night in new Rainforest Lumina attraction at Singapore Zoo

SINGAPORE - Its animals may be fast asleep, but Singapore Zoo is now giving visitors the chance to see them in a night-time setting -albeit in a virtual form.

From Sunday (July 1), the zoo will launch its Rainforest Lumina attraction -a 1km trail featuring interactive light and sound installations showcasing animals like orangutans, pangolins and flying foxes.

The night walk has been launched to celebrate the zoo's 45th anniversary. It covers nearly half of the zoo's area and features 11 mist-filled zones.

While there will not be sightings of the zoo's actual creatures, visitors will encounter a group of 'virtual animals' called the Creature Crew, which will be projected around various exhibits.

Rainforest Lumina is a collaboration between Wildlife Reserves Singapore and Moment Factory, a multimedia entertainment studio behind the Lumina night walk series that has featured at venues such as the Canadian seaside and an island in Japan. It will run until the end of December.

Mr Mike Barclay, group chief executive of zoo owner Mandai Park Holdings, said the attraction aims to spread the message of wildlife conservation, and ties in with efforts to ramp up the use of technology in and around the precinct.

With the zoo closing at 6pm every day and its animals retreating from the exhibit areas to the back of house at night, the collaboration presented an opportunity to activate the wildlife park in the dark and attract a new crowd, he said.

"We are aware that there are certain segments, particularly among locals, where we don't really have a strong appeal," said Mr Barclay, who said the new attraction hopes to draw teenagers and young adults.

"A lot of people come to the zoo with their kids and grandchildren but there are whole sections in between where we don't get a lot of visitation."

During the nearly 10-month preparation process, efforts were taken to ensure that there would be minimal disturbance to the park's animals.

These included impact studies, simulations and ensuring that the light and sound were projected away from the back of house, which has been insulated and installed with cameras to monitor any disturbance to the animals.

"It would have been a deal-breaker for us if it was going to be stressful for the animals," he said.

Tickets to Rainforest Lumina cost $22 for adults and $16 for children, excluding zoo admission. It will run from 7.30pm to 10.30pm, with seven entry timings a day.

The Singapore Zoo, which sees 1.9 million visitors a year and is home to some 2,400 animals representing more than 300 species, celebrated its 45th anniversary on Wednesday.