There’s a different joy in getting up close and personal with live fish from every corner of the world. If like me, you’re obsessed with the underwater world after watching the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, perhaps it’s time to visit S.E.A Aquarium at Resorts World Sentosa.
You can now explore the world under the sea here in Singapore, and learn about the colourful, fascinating and downright strange creatures that live there. We dove head-first into this exciting marine world and spent a whole morning wandering around. And because we don’t want you to miss the highlights, here’s our guide to this undersea attraction:
This guide walks you through the S.E.A. Aquarium sequentially, through the main segments of the Aquarium. Don’t worry about getting lost, as the route is direct and there isn’t much chance of veering off-course. You can also save the S.E.A. Aquarium map prior to your visit.
There are interactive boards by the sides of all the exhibits, which provide fascinating factoids you might otherwise miss. Like how some sea creatures have been around for close to forever and still look the same as they did 500 million years ago.
Look at this stuff, isn’t it neat?
If you’re like Ariel and find shipwrecks fascinating, you’re in for a treat the minute you enter the S.E.A Aquarium, as it leads you to a habitat called Shipwrecked!
Well hello there.
Enter a tunnel that takes you through one of the largest habitats here – and keep a lookout for sea critters like the bowmouth guitarfish, zebra shark, and black-blotched fantail ray.
These wriggly fellows look like products of an evolutionary accident, but moray eels are certainly underrated sea creatures.
If you look at the insides of their mouths, you’ll realise that there are spots there too. Another strange thing is the way they move without fins. It’s almost as if they’re rippling across the water, gliding instead of swimming.
Coral reefs are incredibly colourful and there’s always something to see. The Coral Garden is a cylindrical-shaped habitat that you definitely won’t miss while exploring S.E.A. Aquarium. Despite its name, there are actually no live corals here – as they would be eaten by the reef-eating fish in this tank.
Male or female?
I was struck by the vibrancy and diversity of the fishes darting in and out of the coral reefs. Keep your eyes peeled for the star of this show here, the Napoleon wrasse. Here’s a fun fact for you: members of this species change their sex from female to male around the age of 9, as they change from red-orange hues to bright blue-green.
If you’re a big fan of Finding Nemo, it’s time for a treasure hunt.
The two most famous reef-dwellers are Finding Nemo’s main characters – Nemo and Marlin (clownfish) and Dory (blue tang). Dory swims all around the tank, but Nemo is harder to spot. Clownfish usually circle around the anemone and you can find them at the bottom right of the tank.
The pufferfish, another of Nemo’s friends.
This is my favourite part of our Aquarium experience. The Open Ocean Habitat is as close as you can get to diving into the big blue sea.
It’s a floor-to-ceiling aquarium with a multitude of species. Giant manta rays, nurse sharks, and schools of fish swim by as rays of sunlight illuminate the seafloor.
It’s like the Windows fish screensaver brought to life.
You can spend as much time as you wish just watching the sea creatures swim by. There are benches facing the tank, where you can sit and enjoy a moment of solitude as you stare at the graceful manta rays gliding through the water.
If you’re feeling peckish, head to Ocean Bites right next to the massive aquarium. Grab a Pesto and Mozarella Panini ($12) or a Brioche Cinnamon Roll ($5) for something sweeter.
Image credit: @iris.nihao via Instagram
The Open Ocean Habitat also leads to an underwater dining experience. Ocean Restaurant by Cat Cora serves up fresh fish dishes to fulfil all your seafood cravings. Seriously, the food looks impossibly good.
And if you still can’t get enough of it, you can even sleep there and dream Ocean Dreams. Pitch your tent and literally sleep with the fish at $138/child and $158/adult, which includes meals and admission to S.E.A. Aquarium from 6.30pm-10am the following day.
Kids will love staying up past their bedtime, with a view so much more interesting than their bedroom walls.
Under normal circumstances, we wouldn’t be able to explore the deep sea without lots of training and equipment. And we most certainly wouldn’t want to meet with poisonous creatures when we’re deep underwater. Instead of risking your life in the ocean, get up close and personal with these fascinating animals in the Ocean Journey exhibits.
I’ve always been fascinated with sea jellies and ever since the days of Finding Nemo, I’ve always wanted to bounce on them. Unfortunately, they’re poisonous, but at the S.E.A. Aquarium, we can get as close as we want without getting stung.
The variety of sea jellies on display is amazing: moon sea jellies, Japanese sea nettles and some adorable upside-down sea jellies.
Ever wondered how a sea star feels like? Or if a sea cucumber feels as hairy as it looks? Kids and adults alike will enjoy feeling up these sea creatures. Don’t worry, they don’t bite.
It’s impossible to miss the Discovery Touch Pool – just follow the squeals. It’s a bit scary putting your hand in the water to touch a very dubious sea cucumber, but you should definitely do it for the experience. Spoiler: a sea cucumber feels exactly like it looks.
Have fun touching the animals, but just follow the staff’s instructions – you don’t want to accidentally harm these delicate creatures. The staff is also very friendly and helpful. If you have any questions at all – like if a sea star is really a fish – don’t hesitate to ask them.
Don’t worry, it’s impossible to get lost in the aquarium, but if you don’t take a closer look, you might miss out on these fascinating little nooks and crannies.
By the left side of the moray eel exhibit, there’s a small child-sized hole that leads to another view of the eels. My colleague and I squeezed in and felt like we found a secret hiding place. Judging by the number of children going in and out, it’s definitely a favourite for the kids.
From the Open Ocean, follow the fish to the corner on the right called Ocean Dome, which promises a 180-degree view of the aquarium AND you can look up to see fish swimming above you. You may miss it if you didn’t explore this section of the Aquarium well.
Now, we’ve saved the best for the last. The exit of the S.E.A Aquarium is a tunnel that goes through a massive shark habitat, which really makes you feel like you’re underwater, with sharks swimming all around you.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many sharks in one place before. Dubbed Apex Predators of the Sea, there are over 100 sharks here – from silvertip sharks to sandbar sharks to the endangered and strange-looking scalloped hammerhead shark.
For the ultimate marine encounter, you have to get up close and personal in the Shark Dive experience ($327). Those who are scuba-certified can sign up for this opportunity where you get to swim face-to-face with over 100 sharks across 12 species.
There’s also the Shark Encounter, where you have an acrylic box between yourself and the sharks, but nothing can beat the thrill of seeing a real live shark swim right in front of you.
Back in the days when Singapore was a prosperous trading port, it was not uncommon to see all kinds of exotic fabrics and spices being traded on our tiny island.
Most people would tend to skim through the museum to get to the aquarium, but you shouldn’t skip it! It provides a more interactive experience than the average museum, with touch screens where you can play all sorts of games, from designing your own fabric to dressing yourself up.
At the end of the aquarium route, there are some wax figures of historical figures. Here’s a pat on your shoulder – congrats on completing your maritime and marine journey!
Image credit: Electrosonic
I would be terrified if I were in a real shipwreck, but I don’t mind a simulation, especially one as immersive as the Typhoon Theatre. It’s a 360 degree experience – all seems well when you board a ship, but trouble starts brewing when the ship is thrust into the midst of a storm. When the inevitable happens and the ship sinks, you dive down into a captivating world under the sea.
If only all shipwrecks were that magical!
*This promotion has ended and is not available
Have a swimming good time at the S.E.A. Aquarium! Just follow the route and take your time to appreciate each fish.
If you’re a big fan of coral reefs and the fish that call them home, don’t miss S.E.A. Aquarium’s TeREEFic World, a celebration of reefs all around the world. Up till 31 May 2015, watch as sea jellies grow from babies to adults and learn more about coral reefs from diver and aquarist talks. More details about TeREEFic World can be found here.
For an even better time at the S.E.A. Aquarium, become an RWS Invites Attractions member. When you sign up for programmes like the Shark Dive or dine at Ocean Restaurant by Cat Cora, you will get to earn 20% Invites$ rebate.
Get more than $100 worth of vouchers for combo meals, admission passes, merchandises and more*! Sign up for the RWS Invites Attractions Adult Membership now.
*Promotion is valid till 30 April 2015. Terms and conditions apply. Visit www.rwsentosa.com/membership for more information.
Now, before you go – we’ve got some tips to making the most use of your time at the S.E.A Aquarium. First, as most shows are in the afternoon, be there early if you’re planning on catching a diver’s talk or feeding session. There are also interactive screens located around the habitats, if you want to geek out on fun facts for the different types of fish.
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This post was brought to you by Resorts World Sentosa.
First published on 27th April 2015. Last updated by Dewi Nurjuwita on 15th June 2023.
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