Only a little over 24 hours since we came back from an amazing trip to the Maldives, I dragged the kids down to Underwater World Singapore at Sentosa. You’d think we’d have enough of fish already since we had been snorkeling for 5 days, and the boys protested because they wanted to stay home and play with their toys. But I’d already arranged the visit with Underwater World Singapore, and more importantly, I thought it was a great chance to reinforce the learning that we’ve done over the last few days. Since our diving days, I’m a little bit of a fish fanatic, a nerd (or a nut?) about fish identification, and I was annoyed with myself for not bringing our fish identification resources on our trip! But no matter, we had a wonderful trip, and my 2 year old toddlers can rattle off nomenclature like triggerfish and parrotfish like a pro.
But more about our trip later. I’m sure most of you know about Underwater World Singapore, which has been around for ages (1991, in fact) but this poor attraction has been outshone by the bigger bolder RWS SEA Aquarium in recent years. You know what Singaporeans are like, we always like the latest, newest thing!
We arrived shortly before 11am on a weekday, just in time for the dolphin show, and even made it to sit in the front row. The show is just under 20 minutes, which is great since you know how long the attention span of some kids are. Yes, not long. Mid-show I was actually asked once when we would be leaving!
And because we were in the front row, we were like a metre away from the sea lion! Who kept walking up and down, doing tricks, going swimming etc. Even the dolphins were much closer than any other show, and even if it was only 2 dolphins and 2 sea lions performing, it was way better than having more marine life but having to sit so far away. Compare: Ocean Park Hong Kong, and Underwater World.
After the dolphin show, we walked around the touch pool and ray area. Now, Mittens was really lucky and sighted a spotted eagle ray in the wild while snorkeling earlier in the week, so it was even more meaningful to see one up close here. He spent a lot of time feeling the sharks too.
Further into the aquarium, we loved reading all the little nuggets of information about the fish, there is sure plenty to learn! We proceeded down to see the various crabs and octopuses, reef fish, jelly fish, and were lucky to be just in time for feeding at the shark tank, which is where the famous tunnel is. Fish (sharks and even reef fish) really go into a frenzy during meal times, which was interesting to watch. Come to think of it, frenzy is probably the right word to describe the kids when we first walked into the aquarium because they were just SO DARN EXCITED TO SEE EVERYTHING! Of course, like all good mummies should *ahem*, I reminded them that THEY were the ones who actually did not want to come along, but I knew it was going to be awesome for them. I am so going to use it against them the next time they whine about going anywhere.
We spent A LOT of time in the tunnel. I think we might have gone 10 rounds in total. The kids loved the travelator, but also the tunnel is also great for observing the undersides of rays and shovelnose guitarfish, as well as all the fishes from big to gigantic. The funny story is, Mittens kept pointing out fishes and asked if they could be cooked. Like the giant grouper, and the pompano, which looks like a promfret. My boy sure has his priorities sorted out.
There is a decent range of marine life overall, and abundance of sharks and rays, even juvenile ones. They even have a huge turtle enclosure at the entrance of the aquarium, which is easy to miss.
When we decided we needed a lunch break (you know it’s lunch time when one of the kids starts whining), we headed to Island Cuisine, the restaurant within the aquarium premises which offers a buffet for both lunch and dinner. The normal price is $24.99++ per adult, which is pretty decent considering a bowl of lousy fish ball noodles at the Singapore Zoo will set you back what, $6.90? To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised that the food was very decent. I was really not sure what to expect, since I have developed an aversion to nameless mid-priced eateries, but we enjoyed the chicken rice, fried bee hoon, and a wide range of vegetable dishes (yay!). I found the mee siam a little bland, but it was perfect for Abacus who had 2 bowls and declared it the best thing ever. There’s also dim sum, cakes, and ice cream, which is a perennial crowd pleaser. I found out later that Island Cuisine is run by the Sentosa group, which, in local speak, “got standard one”.
After lunch, the kids decided they wanted more of the aquarium, so back we went, and in total we spent over 3 hours there! I wasn’t expecting it at all because it is a small aquarium. But kids are simple creatures, and it usually doesn’t take much to impress them. I think they enjoyed that there was so much to look at, and it wasn’t too crowded so we never had to jostle with anyone. At some point we even had the entire tunnel to ourselves!
And although the place might look a little sleepy, the staff were quite responsive and cohesive. I had pre- arranged this visit, but when I reached I realized that my email would not load the confirmation attachment, but they promptly sorted me out, and I was impressed by how organized and communicative they were with each other, even right down to the manager at Island Cuisine who was expecting us for lunch. Honestly, I think I was expecting disgruntled and lackluster service given how the building looks a little worse for wear. Sorry for judging the book by its cover! But I think having spent 3 hours there is testimony that it is well worth bringing the kids to, especially if there is an ongoing promotion! (Also that jacked up my parking to $14.80, but that’s another story altogether.)
From now until 28th June, Underwater World Singapore are having a promotion of $19.90 for entry and a meal at Island Cuisine (more information and terms and conditions here). That’s like a crazy deal considering the usual entry price is $29.90! If you ask me, everyone should GO!
And now, a giveaway!
All you have to do is to leave a comment on this post ON THIS PAGE, letting me know who would you want to bring to Underwater World Singapore, and what significance would the trip be to them?
Please log your entry on the Rafflecopter HERE. Rafflecopters make my life infinitely easier!
The contest runs until June 18th midnight, so if you win and want to bring MORE than 2 people, you can still make use of the $19.90 offer! Sweet, right?
Some points to note:
- Redemption period for winners will be 3 months within receiving the tickets
- Each winning ticket only permits a complimentary entry into UWS and a one-time buffet at Island Cuisine
- Each winning ticket does not include the additional perks as stated in above poster
*Terms & Conditions I’m obliged to let you know about for this fish-tastic contest:
- Promotion is only applicable to local residents of Singapore. (i.e. Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents, Holders of Employment Passes, work Permit or Dependent’s Pass)
- Promotion is valid for both adult and child.
3. To qualify, visitors are required to produce relevant identification, subjected to one admission ticket per local ID.
4. This promotion is not applicable with any ongoing promotions.
5. This promotion is not applicable for group tours.
6. This promotion is only valid for watching the dolphin show. Charges are applicable should invited visitors wish to participate in the dive or have contact with the dolphins.
7. Point-of-exchange for promotion: Underwater World Singapore ticketing counter.
8. Promotion is only valid for communicated date of visit
9. Guest must retain and present this invite for entry
10. Guest must retain and present this invite to redeem buffet meal at Island Cuisine.
11. Guest are only allowed to use this invite once.
12. UWS reserves the right to refuse redemption, entry and/or participation if the above conditions are not fulfilled.
13. UWS Shall not be liable for cancellation of any programmes due to wet weather or unforeseen circumstances.
14. Island Cuisine will offer local delicacies in a buffet format daily from 11.30am – 3pm (Last seating: 2.30pm) and 5.30pm – 9pm (Last seating: 8.30pm).
15. Island Cuisine is not a halal certified restaurant. Dishes do not contain pork/lard.
16. UWS reserves the right to substitute the buffet meal with another item of equivalent value.
GOOD LUCK!!!! And if you do go to Underwater World, enjoy!!
Thank you to Underwater World Singapore for inviting us to a wonderful, educational afternoon.