The Little Mermaid has always been my all-time favourite Disney movie, and I blame it on my soft spot towards all things under the sea. Because of that, visiting the S.E.A. Aquarium at Resorts World Sentosa was an awesome experience – check out some of the best moments you mustn’t miss while you’re there.
Time Travel With Living Fossils
It’s hard to imagine dinosaurs roaming the Earth alongside humans, even after watching Jurassic Park. When you try to think of any ancient animal that might precede those extinct reptiles, does a lot come to mind?
And to think that right here at the S.E.A. Aquarium, we have two animals which are actually estimated to have existed millions of years before dinosaurs did: the nautilus and jellyfish.
The nautilus may resemble squids in appearance but they do not have the same well-developed eyes and their brains are not as complex, either.
Fun fact: Jellyfish don’t have a brain, although they do have nerves to sense environmental changes. Aren’t these mushroom-like ones adorable with their short, stumpy tentacles?
You’ll find them in all sorts of positions but I think they look best upside down.
Jellyfish can have cool colour-changing abilities, so they’ll make for very beautiful photographs if you manage to, literally, get them in a good light.
Flirt With The Most Misunderstood Sea Creature
Which is… (drum roll please) the shark!
Sharks may look like menacing, evil creatures but they’re actually very important as they keep fish populations and the marine ecosystem in balance.
Keep an eye out for the docile nurse sharks, a nocturnal bunch that’ll most probably be taking a snooze, all snuggled together when you visit them.
While touching the sharks isn’t a good idea, if you’re one for adventure, you can try the Shark Dive and and come up-close with these magnificent marine animals like the daredevil you are – now that’s truly a life experience to chalk up.
Don’t forget to pre-book and get your scuba diving certification ready before you rush there though.
Those not quite up to it yet can still get a taste of the jaw-dropping experience through the Shark Encounter. Via the safety of a special acrylic enclosure, you’ll get to go underwater and get just as close to the sharks as anyone else.
No certification is required for this, you’ll just need to be able to hold your breath and swim – even children aged 12 and above are able to participate.
Be Wowed At The Open Ocean Exhibit
Behold, the pièce de résistance of the S.E.A. Aquarium. You can easily spend ages in here gazing at magnificent rays, more sharks and schools of colourful fishes.
My personal favourites are the stingrays, with it’s distinctive “smiley face” mouths. They look particularly mesmerising when they swim up against the glass and show off their smooth bellies.
The stingrays’ generally large sizes are easily overshadowed by those of their manta ray cousins, which have mouths facing the front instead. Try to keep a look out for them when you visit the Open Ocean exhibit.
During fixed feeding times, you can see divers swim alongside the excited sea animals as they crowd around for food. I found the view from the main seating area comfortable enough, but if you’re interested in getting closer to them, there’s a viewing gallery nearby where you can gawk to your heart’s content.
Check Out Rare Finds You’ll Never See Elsewhere
There’re some species of fish that live so far down in the sea or in such faraway countries that you’d never usually get the chance to see them.
Giant pufferfish for example, are only found in the African Congo River and this particular one enjoys lazing at the bottom of the tank in a very relaxed manner. Its body patterns are particularly mesmerising to look at; it’s almost like a leopard’s skin.
These alligator gars are leucistic, which is why they appear white instead of their usual brown colour. You’ll have to work your eyes a little harder when you’re there to spot the natural brown coloured ones in the tank, as they’re better camouflaged amongst the rocks.
Big discoveries can come in small sizes, just like this little guy, a red sea urchin chilling near the glass. It’s really small, around the size of a golf ball so keep an eye out!
The moray eels are often found in narrow places and hidey-holes, like these two which have chosen a pot to curl up in. While they are protective of their burrows, they generally prefer to flee rather than attack in a confrontation.
Get a close look at their teeth if you can; their bites are know to be so strong that even when they are dead, its jaws will not let go of their unfortunate prey.
Practise Your Meme-making Ability With Curious-Looking Fish
It seems like fish sure know how to have fun; look at how groovy some of them are acting, you should whip out your phone camera and be ready to take a selfie the moment they are in a good position.
This fellow here may be called a Cowfish but it can certainly make that duck-like pout way better than any underwater creature you’ll ever meet, perhaps even surpassing some people at this artful photo habit.
In case you were wondering, this fish is still alive, by the way.
These eels have the perfect expression to describe the first struggle of the morning, when you just don’t want to get out of bed.
Visit The Silk Road
Or, rather, exhibits summarising the Silk Road, to be exact. Before entering the S.E.A. Aquarium, you’ll pass through the maritime museum connected to it and there you’ll find a long hallway packed with artefacts bearing cultures from the past.
The museum showcases different products which were traded along the Silk Road; gaze at straw hats, kites, spices and more as you move from place to place along the route yourself.
You might even be interested in the dashing pirates that targeted cargo ships as they sailed along the seas…
It would be too easy to breeze through this area but don’t dismiss it just yet, there are a lot of intricate designs and animal sculptures – did you know, even giraffes were exported as gifts? – which are worth a look.
There’s no way to re-enter the area after you have gone past it to the aquarium so it’s best to take some time to appreciate it first.
Plus, you’ll want to enter the Typhoon Theatre just before you see the sea creatures. I won’t spoil it for you but I really recommend that as it will definitely give you an interesting show.
Prices: S$34 (Singapore Residents), S$38 (General Admission)
S.E.A Aquarium: 8 Sentosa Gateway, Sentosa Island, Singapore 098269 | Opening Hours: 10am – 7pm (Daily), last entry 6.30pm | Tel: +65 6577 8888 | Tickets | Website | Facebook
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