Pudong’s Shanghai Wild Animal Park will stay open at night — until 9pm — from August 8, allowing visitors to explore the magic and glamour of the animal world after sunset.
Many wild animals are active during the night as they sleep in the day, and visitors only get to see nocturnal creatures and some fierce animals in a state of slumber in daytime, the park operator said.
“The night zoo will display another side of the lives of various wild creatures,” said Zhong Yi, deputy general manager of the park.
“Animals like tiger, lion, raccoon, Central American tapir and anteater are active at night, and they seek food or do exploring and washing,” he explained.
The after-hours opening aims to enrich the night leisure life of local residents and spur the development of the night economy, Zhong noted, adding that it satisfies the curiosity of the public on what animals do at night and offers another summer night-tour option in the city.
In a preview visit on Saturday night, common squirrel monkeys could be seen jumping among trees while lesser pandas took a night stroll amid the summer breeze. Black bears played in water and tiger cubs enjoyed their milk. Fennec foxes were running around as anteaters dug nests for food.
And then there were the tigers fighting for meat.
Visitors also observed the night behavior of other animals such as hamadryas baboons, mandrills, golden-headed lion tamarins, meerkats, African and Asian elephants, rhinoceros and oriental pied hornbills.
A night tour on the water, the first of its kind among zoos in China, allows visitors to observe a variety of creatures such as swans, hippos, capybaras, white kangaroos, ruffed lemurs, alpacas and buffaloes on ship.
The effect on the animals’ eyesight was taken into account when installing the lighting, the park operator said.
“We use reflected lights instead of direct lights, and warm-toned shades to avoid disturbing the animals and create a gentle environment,” said Shen Jun, a lighting designer.
“We encourage tourists to look for the animals themselves; the wildness of the animals is hidden in their glittering eyes. The tour experience is totally different from daytime.
“For example, the lights for African elephants and lions are dim given their living environment, and it also applies to birds as they are highly sensitive to lights.”
In non-animal areas, dynamic lights of different colors are used, he revealed.
However, the fierce animal area where visitors need to enter on a bus, will be closed at night to ensure safety. In addition, some highly sensitive animals will not be open for visits at night due to their nature.
“It is my first visit to a zoo at night, and it is very interesting,” said Zhang Jiaqi, a child visitor.
“I like observing animals on ship, and raccoons are very adorable and impressive,” she added. “I want to have a second visit.”
Apart from animal observation, a night parade, featuring exotic dances and floats, together with sea lion shows and acrobatic performances, will also be staged at the park when night falls.
Some amusement facilities, like the Ferris wheel, will remain open at night to enrich tourists’ experience.
The park will stay open through 9pm, and the night admission is 60 yuan (US$8.65) for tourists who visit the park after 4pm. The ticket purchase time is between 3pm and 8pm.
The park operator reminds visitors to avoid flash photography and to keep their distance from the animals.
The Singapore Night Safari, which opened in 1994, was the world’s first nocturnal wild animal park.