photo (1)

Photo credit: Heather Barnard / Expat Travelingmom

I’ve been to quite a few amazing aquariums in my life, including the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Atlantis Resort Dubai and the Dubai Aquarium, so my expectations are pretty high.  We were recently invited to experience Singapore’s S.E.A. Aquarium on Sentosa Island, and I can proudly say, they’ve got it right!DestinationReview

The entrance to the aquarium is by far the most engaging one I’ve ever seen.  Greeted by a life-size ship vessel, called Bao Chuan, we began our journey by traveling back in time. The ship comes to life and introduces a brief introduction to Asia’s maritime trade heritage. Then, you enter The Maritime Experiential Museum where we visited various ports, touched artifacts, read stories and even virtually tried on clothes!  Vietnam, Sri Lanka, India, Kenya, Oman and more…all the countries were represented which contributed to Asia’s trade routes.

image (1)

Photo credit: Heather Barnard / Expat Travelingmom

While the museum itself offered plenty to keep my kids occupied, we still had the actual aquarium to see!  View a shipwreck while walking through the underwater tunnel entrance, getting up close and personal with many species like the Goliath Grouper!  As we kept walking, we were surprised to find ourselves now standing on a glass floor with sharks and rays scurrying beneath our feet!

An aquarium favorite of my children is always the touch pool areas.  That’s one activities I think the Monterey Bay Aquarium does really well…incorporating a lot of hands-on for the kids, in large, open spaces.  At the S.E.A. Aquarium, the space was a bit tight and you had to file through in a line, but nevertheless, kids don’t care!  They just want to touch and explore, and they loved it.  They thought it was cool to see fish swimming in the touch pool along side the sea stars, sea cucumbers, snails and urchins.

image (2)

Photo credit: Heather Barnard / Expat Travelingmom

A few of the highlights of our visit to the aquarium included watching bottlenose dolphins jump, flip and play games underwater in the Dolphin Island viewing area and getting completely lost for a good 40 minutes under the enormous clear dome of the Open Ocean tank.  This 4,800,000 US gal tank has a viewing panel that is a whopping 118 ft wide and 27 ft tall, making it the largest panel in the world (yes, larger than Dubai Mall’s which held the record previously).  Everywhere you turn in this aquarium, you’ll find more magical sea creatures to make you oohhh and ahhh, and be impressed by the amount of detail that has gone into this exhibit of underwater life.

image

Photo credit: Heather Barnard / Expat Travelingmom

Upon exit, we walked through a second underwater tunnel, this time featuring the aquarium’s August highlight…Sharks!  These enclosures always make me nervous, as I’m terrified of open water, so this is the closest that I’ve ever been (or ever will be!) to these fascinating creatures.  It’s exciting to experience them in a way I know I’m safe, and the kids love being so close to them all.  Learn all about sharks this month at the aquarium before the exhibit comes to an end.

In September they will feature Manta Rays!  My favorite!

Getting Here:  Take the MRT to HarbourFront station.  Proceed outside and walk across the boardwalk, which has people movers for those of your worried about the walk.  It’s a lovely walk and much faster than taking the RWS8 bus which can be found right outside the HarbourFront station.  Other options would be catching the monorail or cable car, both of which come at quite an additional cost when you have a family.