I took the boys to Underwater World on Sentosa last weekend, and it’s probably been more than five years since our last visit, with Lex just a toddler. We all had a great day, and while not much has changed within the Aquarium since that visit, the addition of the Dolphin/Seal show certainly makes it more of an extended day-out option with the kids.
To make it more of an adventure (because you can drive and park at Underwater World if you want it easy) I’d suggest either parking/getting to Vivo City and catching the monorail to the Siloso Beach Stop, or park at the Beach Car Park (which we did) and take the purple Siloso Beach Tram from the stop outside the Monorail station. I haven’t seen any other form of transport like this in Singapore before, so it was something the boys loved experiencing. Everyone on the tram was also in holiday mode, with visitors from all over the world, so it was a nice and friendly experience. The boys will certainly be featured in a few foreigners’ holiday snaps.
You get off the tram at the last stop, head up the hill towards the right (look for the 7-Eleven) and make your way to the ticketing window of Underwater World. Once you’re in, it’s hard to get past the stingray ‘touch tanks,’ where you are welcome to touch them gently, and there’s plenty of other fish on display as well, with some feeding options. You can put your hands in these special tanks, and for $2 get a couple of pellets to feed the fish. Make sure you soak the food before letting it go; otherwise it’ll float straight to the top! If you’re kids don’t need to run around at a million miles an hour (like mine do) you can spend some decent time in this entrance area.
After this it’s downstairs, where there’s lots more sea creatures on display (including some delightful seahorses which I LOVE) and then it’s onto the travellator with the fish swimming all around you. This aquarium isn’t as big as some of the great ones in the world – like the Sydney Aquarium – and it would be great to see the owners really investing in it and making it a world-class aquarium in line with the rest of the development around Singapore, but the boys were happy doing a few laps on the travellator and we spent a fair bit of time down here. Make sure you pick boost the kids up to get the full effect of the Great White Shark exhibit. It is blank when observed at kiddie eye-level.
Once they’ve had enough – or in my case once they start getting into trouble – head upstairs and follow the signs to the Dolphin Lagoon. The actual shows are on throughout the day, starting at 11am, 2pm, 4pm and 5.45pm, so it’s best to plan your visit around the show times. If you arrive two hours before a show, this should be more than enough time to see the Aquarium and get a good seat for the show. A couple of points. I appreciate that the pink dolphins have been at the center of some controversy of late, but I’m not going to add any opinion to the discussion here. All I will say is the boys absolutely adored seeing both the seals and dolphins up close, and the show was great – including the guys running it. They had a lot of love for the animals.
Secondly, you can enter the lagoon at any time. We grabbed a table outside to have some lunch, noticing people going in up to an hour before the show. I figured we’d go in early as well, which meant we were able to secure seats right in front of the seal area at the opposite side of the entrance, and the boys were very happy to sit and wait. It was a bit of a miracle really. So you can arrive earlier, which guarantees great seats, and there are people selling ice cream and chips throughout the amphitheatre. However if you bring a picnic, there are shaded tables outside to enjoy your lunch – although I think these tables are for the shop/cafe selling whatever food was on sale. I didn’t buy anything from here so don’t know what they had. There’s also a toilet right near the entrance to the Dolphin Lagoon.
The show was great, although the seals were the stars in my mind, and as we were sitting very close to the action, the boys were absolutely in awe of these gorgeous creatures. The dolphins were also magnificent and all in all, it was a terrific experience for the boys.
After that, we left – and you’ll be pleased to know you don’t have to go through the gift shop to exit – and headed back towards the purple tram. You can continue your adventure down to Siloso beach, as there are lots of other options for the kids in this area, including Fort Siloso, which we’ll do at some point in the future. Alternatively, the boys were tired so we decided to hang out at the cafes near the entrance to Underwater World, because the boys were enraptured with the peacocks hanging around. However, beware the guy with the snake – he’ll have it draped over your shoulders and charging you for a photo before you know it. But he’s only trying to make a living.
Take a picnic if you want to guarantee a healthy meal, hats and sun block (especially if you get the afternoon sun in the Dolphin Lagoon) and lots of water – it’s thirsty work. It’s not a particularly cheap day out – our three hours there cost $25.90/adult and $17.60/child 3-12 years old. If you compare this to Jurong Bird Park, where a full day adventure for two adults and two kids costs under $80, it’s not a cheap activity. However, the boys had a blast and I’m sure we’ll be going back in the not too distant future. It’s also open from 10am – 7pm, with last entry at 6.30pm.