S.E.A. Aquarium is one of the many attractions situated within Resorts World Sentosa that I’ve been meaning to visit for quite some time already. Holding the title of the world’s second largest oceanarium, it houses more than 100,000 marine animals of over a thousand species across 45 different habitats. There are different zones with various themes to explore, and the way the spaces are physically structured facilitates one-way traffic for easy navigation.
I finally got a chance to visit when Traveloka had a weekend sale with insanely discounted prices. A few of us got together to pool our purchase and managed to score a rate of $10 per adult ticket with open dates! However, due to the current covid restrictions, I knew it wasn’t going to be the full experience as all shows, public feeding sessions and character meet-and-greets have been suspended. Operating days have also been limited to Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays from 10am to 5pm (but be sure to check before you visit as this is subject to changes). On top of that, my husband and I had to make a prior reservation online as required by Resorts World Sentosa policy. I guess one good thing that came from the restrictions was the fact that attractions were operating at a reduced capacity of 25%, which meant less crowds!
- 1-day entry tickets to S.E.A. Aquarium
- Spent: SGD$20 (for 2 tickets)
It was a hot and sunny day when we visited so I was glad the entire experience was underground. Upon arriving at the gantry, there was completely no queue at all to enter.
After descending the escalator from the entrance, you will find the mesmerizing Shipwreck Habitat on the left. There was atmospheric ambient music playing in the background that accentuated the calming, hypnotic effect the exhibit already had on me. I could sit there all day just watching the fish swim about the wreck, absolutely serene.
Next up was a walk through an underwater tunnel with fish swimming overhead, reminiscent of what they used to have at the now defunct Underwater World. This tunnel leads to Coral Garden, a whopping floor-to-ceiling cylindrical habitat with more than 5,000 fishes from over 100 species. Ironically, this habitat doesn’t house any live corals, only artificial ones, to prevent the reef-eating fish in the tank from destroying them.
Right ahead are smaller habitats showcasing a multitude of sea creatures, with telescreens beside them providing short descriptions of those sea creatures. It was rather annoying that the descriptions got very little screen time while the sanitizing measures implemented got the bulk of it. I get that it’s important to inform guests of how you’re keeping them safe, but we came here to appreciate and learn about the animals, not what you’ve done to sanitize this place. Truth be told, I thought a poster at the entrance would’ve sufficed.
Anyway! We got to see and learn about many intriguing types of marine animals, from alligator gars to sea apple cucumbers (I wouldn’t have guessed how these looked like just from their names). Walking through the Sea Jellies Gallery, it felt like a psychedelic slow-mo disco with the constantly changing neon lights, illuminating the jellyfish to look incredibly magical. My favourite habitat was the one with the friendly dolphins! They were super playful and curious, chasing each other around and coming up to the glass to interact with the guests 😀
At the end of this long walkway lies the magnificient Open Ocean Habitat, the largest habitat in S.E.A Aquarium holding 18 million litres of seawater and home to over 40,000 marine animals, including manta rays and goliath groupers. This habitat is so huge that you can actually do open water dives here and get a scuba diving license to boot. About a year ago, there was also a pop-up “underwater” fine-dining concept, Aqua Gastronomy, set up here, where guests enjoyed a 4-course Asian-inspired menu while soaking in the awe-inspiring ocean scenery (ah, please bring this back!).
To the right of the habitat is the Ocean Dome, a polygonal-shaped space with glass panels on the sides and the ceiling that protrudes into the Open Ocean Habitat. Gazing through one of the glass windows, the sunlight refracting in the water made for a beautiful and surreal Blue Planet moment (I love Blue Planet) ❤
The Ocean Resturant, located on the left of the habitat, was unfortunately closed due to the dine-in restrictions during this period, so no photos ):
Passing through another walkway with smaller habitats of various sea creatures, our path eventually looped back to Coral Garden before we exited through Shark Seas, another underwater tunnel teeming with more than 70 sharks from 12 species.
Interestingly, there is also a habitat with frogs, very poisonous ones for that matter. But frogs kinda give me the creeps, so I didn’t linger too long here.
To end off our experience, we (or rather, just my ever-adventurous husband) got to get up close and personal with a starfish and a sea cucumber at the Discovery Pool. This part seemed a little underwhelming and contrived though, in addition to being rushed as there was a queue forming and only one pool open. It was conducted in a rather artificial setting, with only two “tributes” chosen and placed in a free-standing tank for a quick touch-and-go moment. I guess I’m comparing this to our experience at Sea World, where my husband had a cup of fish to feed and touch the rays in a huge wading pool. There was ample time to really admire the rays while also performing the functional act of feeding them. That aside, the staff attending to us at the pool was cheery and personable, making the brief 90 seconds spent with her a very pleasant one (:
My overall rating of the experience: 3 out of 5 stars. I liked how there were many interesting and unusual species of sea creatures here, what an eye-opening attraction! It was beautiful observing them swimming around in their habitats, really gives you a kind of peace and serenity (reminiscent of our snorkelling experience in Australia). Some of the habitats were mind-blowingly massive, especially the Open Ocean Habitat with those heavenly light rays gleaming through the clear waters, evoking a sense of awe and wonder. Plus points for less crowds and more personal space too (: However, the downside of our visit was that there were no shows or public feeding sessions to watch the animals in action, making it more like a non-interactive museum walk-through where you simply look at and maybe read about the exhibits before leaving (no offence to museum-goers though, it’s just not my thing). Perhaps they could play up their conservation approach with awareness and educational talks or tours to increase interactions with visiting guests. Hope they also bring back the Open Ocean Habitat pop-up dining, we’d definitely return for that! 😀