To make full use of our SingapoRediscover vouchers, my family and I decided to spend a day in Sentosa Singapore and visit some kid-friendly indoor places (Singapore weather is infamously humid and hot), the SEA Aquarium was an obvious first choice. I have been to the older aquarium some 10 years ago and was expecting the same stuff in this newer SEA Aquarium. We actually left the aquarium impressed and in awesome of the majestic fish tank, the amount of marine animals that swam around us, and even had a close encounter with dolphins (divided by the fish tank of course). The tickets to the aquarium cost SGD35 for adults, SGD23 for kids.
The SEA Aquarium is home to more than 100,000 marine animals of over 1,000 species, across 45 different habitats. It houses the world’s largest collection of manta rays, particularly the unique giant oceanic manta ray in captivity. According to WorldCitiesRanking, up until 2014, the aquarium was the world’s largest aquarium by total water volume, but Chimelong Ocean Kingdom surpassed it. In fact there were massive amount of fishes surrounding us during our two-hour time in there, it almost felt like the marine animals are watching us humans as exhibits.
We bought our tickets online in advance, which is essential as capacity in the aquarium is restricted during this Covid-19 period. Of course, you can also buy the tickets on the spot but run the risk of not getting any tickets.
The first exhibit that greeted us was also one of the most impressive gigantic fish tank that contains more than four million litres of water. We saw exhibits of shipwrecks with marine plants and corals growing around the wrecks. In the same exhibit hall, one can also sit from afar in a thematic hall with marine lighting effects and soundscape to watch the shipwreck and marine animals swimming around, like a huge live theatre.
The Shipwreck Habitat is viewable from two galleries – the main viewing panel and an immersive walkthrough tunnel. We saw divers doing some work in the waters and they interacted with us too which was funny.
According to the official website of S.E.A. Aquarium, here they successfully bred a unique specie of the critically endangered bowmouth guitarfish aka the shark ray. Try to spot it in the video below.
Sounds like a dim sum restaurant or beer garden, Coral Garden is actually a cylindrical 8-meter high habitat for a vibrant reef world, housing more than 5,000 fishes from over 100 species. You can see the corals but they are all fake, for the logical reason that the reef-eating fishes would eat them. We were quite fascinated by the colour fishes that were having fun swimming around and under the reefs.
Sea Jellies Gallery
The stunning sea jellies gallery is definitely instagrammable. The first marine animal in this gallery is this big octopus that can’t keep ‘dancing’ in front of us spectators. However due to its size and its fluid movements, our little nephew was a little fearful of this jelly animal.
Jellyfishes to me, are a mysterious specie of marine animal. They look so beautiful, luminous under the lights, yet their stings can be very severe. I read that some species of jellyfishes do produce light although most of them merely reflect the lights around them. They have no bones, brains, teeth, blood or fins and are made up of more than 95 percent water! The SEA Aquarium features jellyfishes such as moon sea jelly and white spotted sea jelly.
One of the highlights in the aquarium was the closeup to the dolphins. There were about 2-3 dolphins in a huge tank, swimming in high speed around and teasing the visitors. Kids were thrilled when these dolphins swim past the viewing panel. Do note that the queue to enter the viewing panel can be quite long due to social distancing measures. Only one family is allowed per viewing panel.
Open Ocean Habitat
The iconic centerpiece of the SEA Aquarium is a magnificent stunning viewing panel of about 36 meters wide, over 8 meters tall and 70 cm thick, contains more than 18 million litres of water (equivalent to 7 Olympic-sized pools), home to 120 species of marine animals including manta rays. According to the SEA Aquarium, this Open Ocean Habitat is certified as a full open water dive site thus good news for divers, you can get certified here in this ‘pool’.
Directly in front of the Open Ocean Habitat is the Aqua Gastronony, a dining hall with eight igloo pods for dining and events. Definitely an experience to hold or attend and event there!
After the Open Ocean Habitat, we came to the Shark Seas area, home to more than 70 sharks from 12 species, viewable from the flat viewing panel and the underwater tunnel
Towards the end of the SEA Aquarium
The whole education component in the aquarium was end-to-end, even after all the marine animal exhibits, there are displays of exhibits of frogs (colourful poison arrow frogs), activities and retail therapy for kids.
Interactive experiences & feeding sessions
Here, kids and adults were invited to come up close to animals such as the epaulette shark as well as the knobbly sea star, a native sea star recognised by the chocolate chip-like knobs on top of its body. Dyson sponsored wash basins were provided to sanitise our hands before and after dipping our hands into the tanks.