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ARTICLE INFORMATION:
Author:
Aquarticles Editor
Title: Underwater World, Sentosa - Singapore

Summary: A 2008 visit to an innovative aquarium in Singapore
Contact for editing purposes:
email: theo@aquarticles.com

Date first published:  April 2009
Publication:
Reprinted from Aquarticles:
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Underwater World, Sentosa - Singapore

By Aquarticles Editor

Original to Aquarticles

 

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The URL address (www.underwaterworld.com) provided on the entrance
sign hints at the innovation found inside Singapore's main aquarium dispaly

 

In early 2008 I visited the main "public" aquarium in Singapore with my family. I found Underwater World to be really innovative in a number of ways. The Living Fossils display, with its spotlight on the use of RFID micro-chips for identifying endangered species of fish really stood out. Likewise, the open air sea turtle ponds, the scuba divers in the massive tunnel tank, the abiltiy for guests to feed many of the fish and animals on display, and the presence of fish rarely seen anywhere these days (ex. sawfish), all left me feeling that our visit was worth the rather high entrance fee.

There is a "hands-on" emphasis to many exhibits here which was very popular with my children. Most aquariums I have visited are quite strict at limiting the interaction between humans and animals; not so at Underwater World. Here you can feed sea turtles, rays, and other exotic tropical fish. You can watch divers interacting with marine life in the tanks, or even make arrangements to dive in the tanks yourself. There are python snakes to be held, and nearby even pink river dolphins to be swum with. It all makes for a rather impressive day at the aquarium for a family with children. At times the displays run the risk of perhaps being a bit too "exploitive" of the marine life, but overall the balance between humane treatment of animals and educational entertainment ("edutainment") for humans is maintained. 

 

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A chance to hand feed green sea turtles

 

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Buy a cup of shrimp and drop it in the pond for the turtles

 

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Entering the main indoor display area of Underwater World

 

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A chance to hand feed some marine rays

 

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One of the more exotic touch pools (left); a diver swims amongst the rays while people hand feed them (right)

 

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Close up of the rays (left) and diver (right)

 

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Kids feeding the rays

 

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Entering the marine reef area

 

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A wonderful dispaly of eels and some pipefish

 

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One of the most beautiful moray eels I have ever seen

 

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An interesting system whereby visitors can purchase fish food for use in feeding
exotic tropical fish; I still can not figure out how the system works exactly!

 

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Entering my favourite section of the aquarium: Living Fossils

 

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A truly inovative RFID chip display (left); Omega as a sponsor for Underwater World (right)? Expect no less!

 

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Scan the RFID chips of fish as they swim by, then find out about the fish at a computer terminal

 

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A nautilus display featurs some healthy looking specimens

 

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Very large "monster tanks" (left) are set amongst fossil displays (right), all to good effect

 

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A variety of biotope displays for "fossil fish"

 

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My favourite tank - an Australian lungfish with Australian Bosemanii rainbows

 

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This lungfish was about 2.5 feet long and very active

 

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Australian lungfish - a close up

 

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Some Polypterus endlicheri birchirs (left) and Potamotryon motoro freshwater stingrays  (right)

 

Typical of the innovative displays I saw here in Singapore was the one below on "Sea Angels." I had never heard of these creatures before, but found their presentation quite fascinating. More information about them can be found here: Sea Angels

 

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Sea Angel display, with photo of one (right)

 

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Invertebrate displays, lobster (left) and spider crab (right)

 

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More "micro-displays"

 

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Sea Dragons

 

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Jellyfish display

 

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The moving sidewalk tunnel aquarium is very well put together

 

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Scuba divers interacting with the fish in the tunnel tank were entertaining for the kids to watch

 

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A big humphead wrasse. It seems bewildered by its surroundings somehow...

 

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A holographic Great White Shark

 

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Sand tiger sharks look fearesome, but are generally acknowledged to be harmless to humans unless provoked.
At this aquarium they are used as a big selling feature for the moving sidewalk tunnel aquarium.

 

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Rarely seen in aquariums these days - a sawfish

 

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A diver perched behind a giant potato codfish

 

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Giant rays gracefully glide by while viewers pass by on the moving sidewalk

 

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Three photos of sand sharks

 

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The dugong, a close relatie of the manatee. For more information click here: Dugong

 

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As we left the aquarium we had one more look at the green sea turtles in the outdoor ponds

 

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A "snake charmer" had a python for people to pick up; due to risk of salmonella,
it is important to wash your hands after handling such a snake

 

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There was a building boom underway on Sentosa Island during our brief visit there

 

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The man-made beaches and playgrounds around Sentosa offer families with
children a great escape from the bustle of Singapore city.

In conclusion, I would recommend a visit to Underwater World near Singapore. The exhibits were all innovative and well maintained during our visit. I particularly struck by the overall health of the fish on display. This is probably due to several factors, chief being Singapore's easy access to the tropical seas of the South Pacific. You can also see that a lot of money is spent to maintain professional displays. Although this translates into high entrance fees and a plethora of commercialized activities (i.e. feeding of fish or turtles for a price), I think the trade off is generally worth it here.

For more information, click here: Underwater World