Local Writer and Friend Accidentally Trapped in Chiang Mai Night Safari Aviary

 | Thu 20 Aug 2015 10:06 ICT

CityNews — On the evening of August 12th local writer Julian Midhi Breneman and his friend found themselves a little too acquainted with the local wildlife when a trip to Chiang Mai’s Night Safari ended with them being locked in the aviary.


“I like taking friends for late night strolls at the Night Safari,” explains since-escaped Breneman.  “On this particular evening it was my visiting friend Dan’s first time being there. Admissions usually close around 10pm, and we got there at 9:55. I can speak Thai, so I tried convincing them to let us in, and after some deliberation they acquiesced.”

Breneman recounted that they reached the aviary about 30 minutes into their visit.

“They had full knowledge we were in the park. Dan and I were quite vocal with our exclamations at the shadowy peacocks and cute rabbits, so it’s hard to believe that no one heard our distinctly human voices before locking the doors.”

Breneman and his friend spent only about 15 minutes in the aviary exploring the various exhibits, but when they tried to exit, found that both doors had been locked with thick chain.

Luckily, Breneman’s cell phone was charged and still had credit, so he placed a series of phone calls and eventually received word that help was on the way. As Breneman and their friend waited, they decided to try find their own means of escape.

“We found the aviary to be pretty well fortified,” says Breneman.

At around 1am, a young Thai man approached the aviary to find the two locked inside. He left and returned with a group of men who used various tools to break the chain and free Breneman and his friend from the cage. The Night Safari employee that held the keys was apparently unavailable.


“They were all very congenial and good-humoured, even taking pictures of us when we were inside.”

Because it had started to rain heavily, the security gave the two friends rides back to their motorbikes, and explained that they will all learn from this event and make sure to make a more thorough sweep of the park before shutting everything down.

“This is why [recent news] about the Night Safari ramping up security in light of the Bangkok bombings made me chuckle,” said Breneman.  “I think they need to focus on training their employees before anything else! With all that said, I love the Night Safari and this incident won’t stop me from going back, nor should it stop anyone else!”


Dr. Sarawut Srisakul, director of Chiang Mai Night Safari, explained that on that evening it was raining heavily, so employees neglected to take a full inventory of the park before shutting everything down. Since then, he has reiterated to the employees that they must inspect the whole grounds before locking up. Dr. Sarawut explained that the trapped men reached the security on duty by phone, and they were able to free them from the cage after about an hour.

Chiang Mai’s Night Safari opened as Thailand’s first and only night zoo in 2006, and is the largest night zoo in the world. The zoo has both daytime and night time exhibits and is open daily from 11am to 10pm.