Singapore Maritime Gallery Hot
The gallery shows Singapore's transformation and the inner workings of the busiest port in the world.
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Ahoy there, Singapore Maritime Gallery
Shiver me timbers! As Primary School children, we were taught that Singapore had one of the busiest ports in the world. It didn't mean anything to us then, we were too young to understand. Visiting the Singapore Maritime Gallery with kids really puts everything in perspective.
Be warned, this place is new. In fact, it's so new that taxi drivers may have difficulties locating it. It is so new that roads are still being constructed around it. It is so new that the bus stop is a temporary one and has to be kept on the move to accomodate constructions around the area.
That said, if transport is no problem for you, the Singapore Maritime Gallery can be entertaining for your little ones. It's not a very big gallery (the entire second floor of the Cruise Centre), but it's made clever use of its space, and there are lots of interactive points. Hopefully by the time you visit, they will all be in working condition.
Guides are available for free and while the descriptions and explanations around are clear enough for visitors to roam about at their own pace, there's no harm in signing up for a guided session because sometimes, your guide can point out special things that you would have otherwise missed if you were on your own. Ours showed us some pretty neat tricks with some of the displays.
If you're a LEGO fan, then surely you'd be amazed by the entrance of the gallery, where you'll be greeted with a picture of the port of Singapore, built entirely out of LEGO.
If you want to try your hand at steering a container ship, a cruise ship or a speed boat (there are over 10 types of sea transport vehicles you can choose from), you must check out the ship simulator, which translates into "the thing with many buttons to press" for young kids. It's quite fun and realistic enough for me to almost whip out my sea-sick pills.
There's a cool section where you can learn to control the different vehicles that move around our port, which is really fun for the kids. And if you've never been in a 20-foot container before, you'll be able to change that at the Singapore Maritine Gallery.
Did you know that Singapore is one of the world's top ten manufacturers of oil rigs? I didn't. You will. And watch how oil rigs are built and transported. Fascinating.
Lots of fun facts, lots of models, lots of things to occupy children with despite its small area. If it's a clear day, you can start or end your tour by taking a walk around the pier and you'll be greeted with the old steam boat that used to be at the Sentosa of old, and the Admiral Cheng Ho.
A tip: Have your meal before, or plan for one after because there are no food options around.
You'd be surprised at just how big Singapore's maritime industry is
The Singapore Maritime Gallery is a little known gallery located at a little known corner of Singapore. Not too many people ever need to go to Marina South Pier which is already pretty much out of the way of most people's travel routes. Unless of course you are a sailor, a picnicker wanting to go to the Southern Islands or tourists taking the Cheng Ho Junk cruise. To get there, take the MRT to Marina Bay Station and then take bus 402. Do check the bus schedules first, the frequency of the buses is notoriously infrequent. Miss one and be prepared to wait at least 20min for the next to arrive.
SMG is free. It is open every day except Mondays (unless that Monday is a Public Holiday) from 9 to 5.30pm. It is self guided. You can take your time going through all the exhibits in the gallery.
The whole theme of the gallery is of course maritime by nature. You'll begin by watching a short introductory video about what you can expect. Then you will learn about the history of the port of Singapore, port operations, the offshore engineering industries and the future of maritime in Singapore just to name a few. The highlight of the gallery is a ship bridge simulator. It's like a giant video game that will keep anyone nicely occupied and challenged.
If video games aren't your thing, perhaps you may like to look at scale models of ships and other sea-going vessels. There are many on display. From what I heard, some models cost tens and thousands of dollars to construct, especially the oil rig models.
There's also a viewing gallery. On a very good clear day, you can see Batam in the horizon. Use the high power binoculars provided, you will be able to see individual buildings there. Not to mention the many ships sailing through or laying at anchor.
The place may be out of the way but it can be a worthwhile experience especially if ships turn you on.