Tag Archives: singapore zoo

One Year Old Baby Elephant Nila Utama’s Birthday Tea Party at the Singapore Zoo

Singapore Zoo and Night Safari celebrated Singapore born and bred baby elephant, Nila Utama‘s birthday last Sunday (20 Nov) as he turned one today on 23 November 2011.

I was invited to Nila Utama’s birthday tea party together with Rachel, Asher and my parents, thanks to the wonderful folks from the Wildlife Reserves Singapore, which manages the Night Safari, Singapore Zoo, Jurong Bird Park and the upcoming River Safari. Also invited were omy Blog Club family bloggers, Edmund, Leonny and Maryann, who brought their family.

Family photo with the elephants
Family photo with the elephants

This was also my son, Asher’s first visit to the zoo. Rachel and I were very thrilled about the experience and were looking forward to the trip since we received the invitation a month ago.

At just three months old, Asher may still not be able to comprehend much of what goes on in his surrounding, but his eyes were alert and inquisitive at some points when we were at the zoo. Rachel and I were glad he did not fuss too much and was quite well-behaved throughout the event (despite the grumble face). This is just a beginning. We will bring him back to the zoo again as he grows older.

Back to the little birthday elephant; lovingly referred to as ‘Nila’ by his keepers and who is named after the Palembang prince who founded the kingdom of Singapura, received a giant birthday cake made with carrots, wheat and ice, among other ingredients.

Nila with his mother and aunts, enjoying his birthday cake
Nila with his mother and aunts, enjoying his birthday cake

Nila was born on 23 November last year to mother Nandong and father Chawang, and is the 11th addition to the population of Asian elephants at Wildlife Reserves Singapore. He was a whopping 151kg at birth, and at 11 months of age, is a healthy elephant weighing 544kg and measuring 1.38m in height. Considered large for a newborn at 1.5 times the average size, Nila arrived after 3 hours of labour. He has two siblings – 12-year-old Sang Raja which is currently at Cologne Zoo, Germany, and nine-year-old Sang Wira which still resides at the Night Safari.

Video on Nila Utama’s birth:

When the keepers wheeled the cake out into the elephant enclosure, Nila promptly rushed forward to crush the cake with his feet, together with his mother and aunts.His brother, Sang Wira watched earnestly from an opposite enclosure as adult male elephants have to be kept separated from the females:

Nila and his mother, charging to stomp on the birthday cake
Nila and his mother, charging to stomp on the birthday cake
Nila Utama excitedly following his mum's lead in smashing the birthday cake
Nila Utama excitedly following his mum's lead in smashing the birthday cake
Aunt trumpets her trunk to cheer them on
Aunt trumpets her trunk to cheer them on
Close-up of Nila Utama
Close-up of Nila Utama
Another close-up
Another close-up
Showing Asher his first sight of real life elephants
Showing Asher his first sight of real life elephants
Rachel and Asher
Rachel and Asher
Asher is happy
Asher is happy
Nila is happy too with his family
Nila is happy too with his family
The majestic Sang Wira, Nila Utama's elder brother
The majestic Sang Wira, Nila Utama's elder brother
Asher and I with Sang Wira in the background
Asher and I with Sang Wira in the background
My parents with Asher
My parents with Asher
Rachel with our friend, Min from Wildlife Reserves Singapore
Rachel with our friend, Min from Wildlife Reserves Singapore

Guests were treated to cute, elephant-shaped mini cakes and other tea-time items when we arrived. This was followed by a gourmet safari tram ride at the Night Safari, which stops at the Asian elephants exhibit where the party for Nila and his family was held.

Dining area where guests were first ushered to upon arrival
Dining area where guests were first ushered to upon arrival
Asher was very curious of his colourful surrounding
Asher was very curious of his colourful surrounding
Some tea-time items for all guests
Some tea-time items for all guests, served in individual plates
When the food was served, Asher cried for his milk at the same time
When the food was served, Asher cried for his milk at the same time
Special Nila Utama birthday cake for everyone
Special Nila Utama birthday cake for everyone
Asher was curious about the cake
Asher was curious about the cake
Children's activity corner where they were making elephant masks
Children's activity corner where they were making elephant masks
Riding on the zebra motif gourmet safari train
Riding on the zebra motif gourmet safari train
Family photo
Family photo
Rachel and Asher checking out the deers
Rachel and Asher checking out the deers
Checking out the water buffaloes
Checking out the water buffaloes
Close-up of a water buffalo
Close-up of a water buffalo
An exotic species of wild pigs
An exotic species of wild pigs

Nila is currently housed at the Asian elephants exhibit at the Night Safari. The birthday boy is an active calf and has his own unique quirks. Keepers noticed his strong sense of independence right from his birth. Nila is inquisitive, fun-loving and likes to swim and wallow in the mud whenever he has the chance.

Check out the official Night Safari website if you would like to visit Nila and his family or find out more about the Asian elephants at the Night Safari. 🙂

Halloween Horrors at Night Safari 2010

Halloween Horrors at Night Safari
Halloween Horrors at Night Safari

This year’s Halloween Horrors at Night Safari is definitely scarier than 2009 and 2008. Thanks to an invitation from the nice folks at the Singapore Zoo, Rachel and I visited their Halloween Horrors for the third year in a row.

Third year I have seen this ghost - so much so it's endearing to see her again :)
Third year I have seen this ghost - so much so it's endearing to see her again 🙂

For the past two years, the costumed ghosts were generally placed in more predictable spots and on a fixed stretch of route on the tram ride.

This year, the costumed ghosts were placed randomly. When I say random, I really mean it. The ghosts seemed to pop out everywhere – at random points along the tram ride, somethings even between animal enclosures; along the empty pavement you are walking on; and even from behind harmless looking signboards.

This year, a few of the ghosts managed to make me jump. A difficult feat as I am a very calm and composed person. Kudos to the organisers this year! 🙂

Queuing for the tram ride
Queuing for the tram ride
Me in the queue
Me in the queue
This year, some of the costume ghosts ride together with you on the tram
This year, some of the costume ghosts spook you before the tram starts moving off
Entering a Chinese Opera ghost section on the tram ride
Entering a Chinese Opera ghost section on the tram ride
Bloodied eyes ghost spotted along the tram ride
Bloodied eyes ghost spotted along the tram ride
Fat lady ghost
Fat lady ghost
Manequins were placed as decoys to confuse us with the roaming ghosts
Manequins were placed as decoys to confuse us with the roaming ghosts
This guy spooked me quietly
This guy spooked me quietly
Not too sure why this ghost is carrying a musical instrument
Not too sure why this ghost is carrying a musical instrument
Dude with a large axe
Dude with a large axe
Funny shot of one of the ghost trying to block my camera
Funny shot of one of the ghost trying to block my camera

I like it that the Halloween walking trail this year managed to incorporate some of the animal enclosures into the setup, making the trail longer and more unpredictable.

Entrance to the walking trail
Entrance to the walking trail
Managed to spot this dude before he jump out
Managed to spot this dude before he jump out
Another one standing in wait
Another one standing in wait
This dude is seated really low, but I still managed to spot him
This dude is seated really low, but I still managed to spot him
The snakes enclosure was converted into some sort of haunted caves showcase
The snakes enclosure was converted into some sort of haunted caves showcase
Spotted Medusa in the snake enclosure - how adept!
Spotted Medusa in the snake enclosure - how apt!

I also like it that there are more Halloween attractions added this year – like the Haunted Mansion at the Singapore Zoo for instance. I did not get to visit it as we arrived rather late, but I am sure it is a blast.

Rachel and I caught the Creatures of the Night Show though. We have seen this a few times and it is still as entertaining and refreshing with each visit. Rachel particularly loves the Asian small-clawed otters segment where they picked up empty drink cans and bottles to chuck them into recycling bins. She will be going “Oh so cuteeeee……” throughout the performance.

Rachel and I before the show started
Rachel and I before the show started
Some giant furry creatures that smells of pandan leaves
Binturong, or Asian bearcat, that smells of pandan leaves
Some wild cat with a very strong sense of smell, sniffing out an odourless grape from the boy's hands
A civet cat with a very strong sense of smell, sniffing out an odourless grape from the boy's hands
A Hyena lifting a giant tree branch
A Hyena lifting a giant tree branch
Giant python
Giant python
Wrapping the python around this American tourist
Wrapping the python around this American tourist
Raccoons
Raccoons
Rachel's favourite segment of the show featuring the adorable otters
Rachel's favourite segment of the show featuring the adorable otters
The otter picking up more cans
The otter picking up more cans

Specially for Halloween, the Grim Reaper and a slew of other scary costumed characters also made their appearances at the Creatures of the Night Show.

Fire dancers
Fire-eaters
The Grim Ripper and some fancy laser beam show
The Grim Reaper and some fancy laser beam show

If you would like to visit Halloween Horrors at Night Safari, you still have till this Sunday (31 Oct) to do so. Book your tickets online first to avoid disappointment at the door. At the time of this post, only tickets for 29 and 31 Oct are still available for online booking.

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Halloween at Night Safari 2009

At the entrance
At the entrance

Back in October, the nice folks at the Singapore Zoo invited Rachel and I to the Night Safari to experience their Halloween Horrors. The special Halloween program and activities are available every Friday and Saturday for the month October. You can find out more at the official website.

It’s  a yearly affair. Hence you can still check it out next year if you missed it this time round. 🙂

I bumped into my friends, Sherlyn and Yixin at the event and we embarked on the tram ride together after a sumptuous buffet spread, courtesy of the zoo.

Sherlyn and Yixin
Sherlyn and Yixin
Special Halloween drink
Special Halloween drink
Buffet spread
Buffet spread
Rachel and I
Rachel and I
Rachel with Min from the zoo
Rachel with Min from the zoo
Rachel, Yixin and Sherlyn with the zoo staff
Rachel, Yixin and Sherlyn with the zoo staff
Min and me
Min and me
Design-for-Halloween desert
Design-for-Halloween desert
Rachel enjoying the syringe jelly
Rachel enjoying the syringe jelly

As this was my second year visiting their Halloween program, I did not get a fright this time as I was more or less able to anticipate where the costumed ghosts will jump out. Nonetheless, the Halloween-themed tram ride which mixed the usual animal trail with an additional fright trail was still fun.

The costumed ghosts are themed around fairy tales this year. Unless last year where there was an educational message behind the fright trail, it’s scary fun all the way this time.

Here are the photos I took that night:

Posters as we enter the Halloween fright trail
Posters as we enter the Halloween fright trail
Conan the Barbarian? I pity this guy... there's lots of mosquitoes
Conan the Barbarian? I pity this guy... there's lots of mosquitoes
The Little Mermaid being chopped into sashimi
The Little Mermaid being chopped into sashimi
Piked bodies
Spiked bodies
The costumed ghosts scare people by creeping up to the tram like this, quietly
The costumed ghosts scare people by creeping up to the tram like this, quietly
Snow White
Snow White
If I am not mistaken, this is Sleeping Beauty
If I am not mistaken, this is Sleeping Beauty
This one almost got me as I thought it was a real animal
This one almost got me as I thought it was a real animal
Ghost with long tongue
Ghost with long tongue
Pumpkin head
Pumpkin head
I remember this guy from last year
I remember this guy from last year
The ladies forced this poor Chinese zombie to pose with them
The ladies forced this poor Chinese zombie to pose with them
"Can I have 500g of minced pork please?"
"Can I have 500g of minced pork please?"
This guy was coming for me, but the camera flash stunned and exposed him
This guy was coming for me, but the camera flash stunned and exposed him
I caught this guy hiding in the well
I caught this guy hiding in the well
Rachel tried to offer candies to this mummy
Rachel tried to offer candies to this mummy

In case you are wondering why there are no images of the animals, flash photography will startle them. Hence if you are visiting the Night Safari, please refrain from flashing the animals. Human beings are okay though. 🙂

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