Finally found the time to visit the S.E.A Aquarium at Resorts World Sentosa with my friends yesterday, although it was already open since the end of 2012.
Singapore already has an aquarium, the Underwater World which is also located within Sentosa, so this was not a totally new experience for me. In fact, I think the two aquariums are quite similar, except that the new one is bigger with more variety of fishes.
Maritime Experiential Museum
Upon entry, you will see many statues and exhibits depicting the maritime trade in Asian countries such as China and India. There are also several interactive displays for you to play games and learn more about the region’s maritime history.
I must admit that these did not really interest me since my main purpose in coming here was to see the fishes and not lifeless statues and fake replicas of spices and ships. Of course, the politically-correct person will lament that I am totally missing the point of my visit to the aquarium since I am not enriching myself with the historical knowledge that the attraction seeks to impart to me.
If you visit the aquarium during non-peak periods, you can enter the Typhoon Theatre using your admission ticket without having to pay an extra $10. You will first watch a short film (approximately 5 mins, in English with Chinese subtitles) about a sailor being entrusted with a mission to deliver a treasure from the Chinese Emperor to Oman via sea. His colleague warns him that the weather does not look safe for sailing today, but he ignores the warning and sets sail anyway.
Visitors are then led to the actual theatre to “experience” a typhoon. The sitting area resembles the benches that sailors sit on a ship and there is a huge panoramic floor-to-ceiling giant screen that gives the illusion that you are indeed on the ship. Be prepared to get a little wet when the sailors in the movie encounter a typhoon, but don’t worry about getting drenched. This is considered mild as compared to those 4D theatres that I’ve been to overseas. The sailor’s ship sinks to the bottom of the sea, and this is where the journey through the aquarium actually begins.
There is one part of the aquarium where you walk through a tunnel with fishes swimming overhead. This is similar to what one will see at the Underwater World.
There are also at least two areas where you can admire the fishes behind a huge floor-to-ceiling glass panel.
There is also an area where visitors can dip their hands into the water for a hands-on experience to touch the starfishes.
There were several interesting species that intrigued me:
Pipefish – they looked like sticks floating in the water
A pink pig-like fish whose name I do not know. It looks like Pumbaa from the Lion King.
I never knew shark eggs looked like this.
Splendid Garden Eels looking like earthworms. They protrude their heads out of the sand to feed on plankton.
Overall, it was quite an enjoyable experience, though the directional signs in the aquarium could be made clearer. I will give the Typhoon Theatre a miss if I have to pay extra to visit it, because contrary to the official website’s description, I don’t think it was a “nail-biting” experience.
Tickets to the aquarium cost SGD$29 for adults, while children (4 – 12 years old) and senior citizens (60 years old and above) can enter for SGD$20. Students studying in Singapore can also enter at the discounted price of SGD$20 if you bring along your student identification pass.
The tickets are not cheap, and you have to pay an additional $4 admission fee into Sentosa, so I don’t think I’ll be coming back here anytime soon.