Glamping, research sanctuary: What to expect at Bird Paradise following its official opening

New announcements include a penguin glamping experience, a freshly-opened breeding and research sanctuary, and commemorative stamps.

Keola Cheah

Irrationally moved by otter live cams. Enjoys trashy rock and metal.

Published: 17 November 2023, 2:47 PM

Editor’s Note: Mandai Wildlife Reserve has indicated that all Glamping with the Penguins dates have been fully booked for 2023. Those still keen on the experience can register their interest for dates in 2024 here.

Visitors can look forward to seeing new activities and programmes at Bird Paradise as part of a shift to refresh the Mandai Wildlife Reserve precinct, announced the park on Wednesday (Nov 15).

This announcement took place at the park’s official opening, six months after its soft launch on May 8, 2023. The park houses 400 bird species to date.

The new developments aim to create opportunities for entertainment and education for guests. Bird Paradise will “[encourage its] visitors from near and far to care for nature, and to act for a world where people and wildlife can thrive together.”

Here’s what to expect at the park, old and new:

Go on an avian adventure

In celebration of its official opening, Bird Paradise will run its Invitation to Paradise campaign from Nov 15 to Dec 31. The campaign’s slew of activities include the distribution of Paradise Passports, which can be stamped at special checkpoints.


stamp station
Checkpoints are located between aviaries, and have two stamps each. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/KEOLA CHEAH


Visitors who collect all five unique location stamps can redeem a pin commemorating the official opening. The pin depicts a left-facing hornbill framed by an electric yellow stamp.

Visitors can also participate in workshops by photography professionals, pick up free postcards, and interact with photo walls.

A full list of activities under the campaign can be found on Bird Paradise’s website.

Get involved in a ‘glampy’ plot

If you’re anything like the small, waddling mob of children chanting “Penguin!” on the way to the Ocean Network Express Penguin Cove, you might want to check out the park’s newly-launched glamping experience.

Glamping with the Penguins is a two-day-one-night glamping experience for anybody above the age of five.


Each tent can hold up to four visitors. Booking one tent costs $1,699. PHOTO CREDIT: MANDAI WILDLIFE GROUP


The programme will take place from December 1 to 30, 2023, on select dates. Each booking will span from 4.00pm on the first day of the experience to 2.00pm on the following day.

Participants will spend a night in the Cove in glamping bell tents. During the glamping experience, the exhibit will be lit up in a showcase of the Southern Lights.


The Cove is inhabited by king penguins, gentoo penguins, northern rockhopper penguins, and humboldt penguins. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/KEOLA CHEAH


The price covers park admission, reserved seating to watch the Wings of the World live presentation, a mystery animal Meet and Greet, and lunch at the restaurant, Crimson, among other activities.

A full itinerary and programme dates are available on the experience’s page.

Visit the new Breeding and Research Centre

According to Bird Paradise, about 24 per cent of all birds housed at Bird Paradise are part of endangered species.

The newly-opened Breeding and Research Centre features species of especially high conservation value. Nestled next to the Winged Sanctuary, it features interactive educational opportunities for visitors to learn more about the birds under the park’s care.

To the left of the Centre is the food preparation station. Visitors can peer through the windows and catch a glimpse of food pellets, nuts, diced fruits, and writhing mealworms laid out in trays for the birds.


Flaps at the station can be lifted to reveal the diet of different species of birds, like the American Flamingo, Hyacinth Macaw, and Toco Toucan. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/KEOLA CHEAH


Besides shining a light on how certain birds eat, the Breeding and Research Centre also details the conservation efforts being conducted by Mandai Bird Paradise.


The wall features case studies from past efforts involving Santa Cruz Ground-doves and a Crested Goshawk. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/KEOLA CHEAH


READ: Caring for 300 birds a ‘true calling’ for 31-year-old avian keeper

A light shuffle to the right will reveal the nursery. There, visitors can find out more about how workers and volunteers look after abandoned eggs, and monitor embryo development.

According to Mandai Wildlife Group, guests can also get a chance to see chicks being hand-raised at the nursery.


Besides raising chicks, volunteers and employees also monitor incubation, look after abandoned eggs, and rehabilitate injured birds. PHOTO CREDIT: MANDAI WILDLIFE GROUP

Stroll through ten zones

Besides the Ocean Network Express Penguin Cove, there are nine other zones to experience, each themed after tropical and sub-tropical areas. The zones also mimic the habitats of the birds it features.

The craggy rocks of the Australian Outback, for instance, houses a variety of hooting, howling, and giggling birds from down under.


The camouflaged Tawny Frogmouth keeps an eye out not for Selener, but for tasty insects. Sorry, Nicki. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/KEOLA CHEAH


The northern bald ibis, which somewhat resembles Jim Henson’s skeksis puppets, hops around on the rock wall at the Heart of Africa zone. PHOTO CREDIT: KEOLA CHEAH/YOUTHOPIA


READ: A rundown of the aviaries at Mandai Bird Paradise

Between each zone is an air-conditioned area (a welcome respite from the blaring heat outside). In these spaces, small exhibits are set up to teach visitors about the birds they are about to encounter.

One area between Mysterious Papua and Lory Loft, screens a series of videos on the mating habits of several species of birds.


Some of their presentations, much like mine in school, “fail to impress.” PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/KEOLA CHEAH


Another area features the monstrous egg of the elephant bird, an extinct species that allegedly had the largest eggs in the world.


“The egg is the world,” writes Hermann Hesse in classic novel ‘Demian’. “Who would be born must first destroy a world.” If I were fighting out of the elephant bird’s egg, I fear I might give up. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/KEOLA CHEAH


While all main walkways around the park are “universally designed”, aiming to provide access to people with a wide range of physical abilities, some areas may be too narrow for wheelchair access. Others, like the Lory Loft, involve the climbing of stairs or slopes. Visitors may want to consider the accessibility of certain zones before entering.

Watch live performances

Visitors looking for live entertainment can look towards the Sky Amphitheatre, which hosts the Wings of the World and Predators on Wings presentations.

According to CEO of Mandai Wildlife Group Mike Barclay, the presentations have been carried over from their original versions at the Jurong Bird Park, which preceded Bird Paradise. Their current iterations retain some content from the past, with some added extras.

Birds swoop in and out, with occasional beats to teach visitors about the featured birds.


Olivia the hornbill hops through hoops in an interactive hybrid presentation that combines the two performances. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/KEOLA CHEAH


Wings of the World takes place at 12.30pm and 5.00pm every day, while Predators on Wings can be caught at 10.30am and 2.30pm. Both presentations take place at the Sky Amphitheatre.

Grab commemorative stamps

To commemorate Bird Paradise’s grand opening, it collaborated with Singapore Post Limited (SingPost) and put out a set of stamps. These stamps celebrate three threatened bird species and three aviaries in the 17-hectare park.

The stamp set folds open into a rectangular booklet, with three stamps on each page laid carefully behind a thin film of plastic.


The birds featured on the stamp set are the Knobbed Hornbill, Philippine Eagle, and Negros Bleeding-heart. PHOTO CREDIT: MANDAI WILDLIFE GROUP AND SINGPOST


The stamps inspired by the aviaries depict the Hong Leong Foundation Crimson Wetlands, Kuok Group Wings of Asia, and Nyungwe Forest Heart of Africa. PHOTO CREDIT: MANDAI WILDLIFE GROUP AND SINGPOST


Stamps are available for purchase at all Post Offices, Philatelic Stores, and online via SingPost’s shop. The first 200 sign-ups for the Friends of Wildlife or Friends of Wildlife Plus membership from Nov 15 to 19 will also receive a stamp set.

Prospective visitors to Bird Paradise can get their tickets to the park online; tickets are no longer available for purchase onsite. Admission costs $48 per adult and $33 per child.

Under the Invitation to Paradise campaign, visitors who sign up for WildPass (free for Singapore residents) will receive a “2-to-go” 30 per cent discount.

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