The Live Turtle & Tortoise Museum Hot
Located at the Chinese Gardens, they have more than 800 turtles and tortoises of more than 50 over different species. The petting corner allows you to get up close with some of these creatures!
Eye-opening, educational..but do the benefits really justify the costs?
Though it’s been many years since I last visited the Live Turtle and Tortoise Museum as a child during a friend’s birthday party, the place somehow left a particularly lasting impression on me.
The Museum was still at its former central premises when I last visited, and took the form of an enclosed shophouse. For some reason, I could never forget the few graceful long-necked turtles kept in a tank, and of course, the legendary Galapagos tortoise, whose cage many kids tried to climb over to pose for a photo. While the visit proved to be educational in some ways, with us being able to get up-close-and-personal with some endangered species of turtles and tortoises, I couldn’t help but wonder whether confining these beautiful four-legged shelled species in constrained cages and subjecting them to such human activity was more helpful or damaging to them.
While I’ve heard that the Museum has since moved to an open park space near Chinese Garden and continues to advocate wildlife conservation, the turtles and tortoises are apparently still kept in small cages, which has disturbed many. Though certainly interesting and eye-opening, it's hard not to be skeptical about whether the benefits of this museum truly outweigh the environmental costs. I would be careful about recommending this place to others.
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So you want to visit the Tortoise Museum at Chinese Garden. Don’t shell out your money.
If there is one place to not bother with in Singapore it is this place. I may be biased. I don't like zoos. I don't like caged animals. Mind you, I suppose that at least the animals in such places will live longer than most left in the wild given the rate at which humans are destroying them.
I grant you, Singapore zoos are great. They let you almost feel and touch the animals. I exaggerate of course.
‘Here you! Come stroke this little kitty’.
‘But that is a tiger!’
‘Oh, sorry! Yes. Did you really need that hand?’
But the turtle and tortoise museum? This is a totally depressing place. Granted, there are parts of the building and its gardens which are quite impressive, beautiful even. Is it a temple? Is it a museum? The garden is passable with its turtles and tortoises in various reasonably well-maintained ponds, but inside the building with turtles nudging the walls of their glass prisons? No thanks. As the creatures bob about trying to get out, are they wondering why they can’t cross the Indian Ocean?
Mind you, the kids liked it. The turtles blinked back blearily at them as they tried to stuff turtle food down their throats (the turtle’s throats, not the kids)
And the museum claims to have almost 1,000 of these creatures.
Not a place I would recommend, but then neither are the gardens in which they are set. The authorities could do so much more with the Chinese and Japanese gardens. Maybe, as they do with Nusa Dua in Bali, they are keeping the tourists out of such minimally funded heartland recreation areas, so they don’t encourage people to come here.
If this is the sort of thing that is meant to attract tourists, it won't.