We must be one of the last folks to visit the S.E.A Aquarium at Resorts World, Sentosa.
I can't decide whether or not I like the place. Poppy enjoyed it but I think at certain points it became a little "Huh? Fish again?" to her. I don't blame her. I was actually expecting more differentiating points between the SEA Aquarium and the Underwater World which incidently is also on Sentosa island.
Here's what I liked:
- The touch pool was much cleaner than the one at the Underwater World. Both the pool itself as well as the surrounding area. There was however only one tiny sink, and the access to that one tiny sink can easily be jammed up when there are more people. We went on a Friday afternoon and already it was not uncrowded
- The Open Ocean. Seriously, it is a big kick-a** fish tank. Loved the soothing music that played there, and the carpeted floors that just looked so inviting that we had to sit. We stayed there for a l-o-n-g time indeed, just taking in its awesomeness.
- Right at the beginning there was also a small area where the fish swam under our feet and we could see them through glass. That was interesting though I wish it could have been 1) bigger and 2) perhaps in not such an open space so that kids could enjoy it more without having to worry about being trampled upon. Nevertheless, to see such an interesting exhibit right at the start of our tour signalled the possibility of more fun stuff.
- Some of the exhibits had special magnifying areas for really short people to peep into which the kids enjoyed.
- The moray eel enclosure. There was a little opening that was so small, even the kids had to bend down to enter. But they enjoyed their special view of the moray eels from the inside. That was fun. I wished there had been more special things like that.
What I didn't like:
- There was no directional signage leading us from Waterfront train station to the Aquarium. We walked till we saw a standing banner. There were many publicity banners and signs but one solitary directional banner.
- There seemed to only be one entrance, and it was through the Maritime Museum which we-really sorry, but-had absolutely no interest in at this particular point in time. So we had to navigate through a huge crowd just to get to where we wanted.
- There was one baby changing room at the entrance, and I didn't see it but was told that the other was right at the Open Ocean area. Which probably could translate into a 60-minute walk/drag with two 4-year olds. I ended up breastfeeding my baby in the handicapped toilet as there was nowhere to sit without blocking a fish tank. For such a new establishment, it really doesn't score any points in the whole "We Welcome Families" thing.
- I found the ending a little too abrupt. We emerged from the sharks exhibit, and then it was the exit gantry straightaway. I don't know, perhaps a goodbye wall or something would have made the transition a little smoother?
Overall, we had high hopes for the place and really hoped to see not just interesting exhibits, but interesting ways of displaying them. It could have just been me but after the Open Ocean exhibit, everything else just seemed to pale in comparison. How to compete with that, right? But even the final exhibit, the sharks swimming above us, even that did not wow the kids. That was pretty disappointing.
I also made a little booklet for Poppy to bring along with her for the excursion, and then supplemented it further with ideas we got from here and here. I would have loved to print out the entire pack but you betcha-by-golly-wow my heart was hurting with each Ctrl+P I did. Print cartridges sure are expensive! If you're interested in getting PDF copies of the booklet to print for your own use, please leave your email address in the comment box and I can send it to you.
On hindsight, it is probably a little too easy for a 4 year-old, but the kids enjoyed it. Especially the hunt for the sea creatures. It was designed for them to use both during the trip as well as entertainment during the dinner after!
We made these fellas one afternoon. Um it's a jellyfish.
We also found lots of printables at 3 Dinosaurs' Ocean Pack. They were fantastic because Poppy loves cutting. Also, I've realised that pattern sequencing is something grown-ups take for granted. It's not always easy for kids.
I also found this via No Time for Flashcards (I just love the name!), and ours didn't come out as nice cos Mama here drew a star, not a starfish. Anyhow, we had fun doing it.
Who lives in the sea is pretty straightforward; it's something I would have done on my own through Powerpoint slides but this saved me half an hour of looking for images. Anything that's time-saving always gets my vote!
Here are some great ocean books to read: