Just when you thought you had enjoyed all the dazzling offerings in Sentosa, another one opens, tempting you to go back for more. Since the 2009 opening of Resorts World Sentosa, a part of which is Universal Studios, more attractions and activities have been added over the years.
S.E.A. Aquarium features the world’s largest acrylic panels.
Recently, the second anchor attraction after the successful Universal Studios has been introduced _ the Marine Life Park. The attraction is a combination of two "wet" and "dry" water experiences, namely the Adventure Cove Waterpark and S.E.A. Aquarium.
The city state is renowned for its hot and humid climate, so having a place to cool down and have splashing fun is more than welcome for Singaporeans. Designed to offer a full day of fun in the sun, sand (artificial) and sea (also artificial, but who cares?), Adventure Cove Waterpark offers six waterslides of different sizes and fun activities for everyone in the family.
One of the highlights is Southeast Asia's first hydro-magnetic coaster, Riptide Pocket, which will send you zipping down the thrill-packed waterslide with an adrenaline rush. Think an intense roller coaster on water, with plunging drops and scary twists, while seated on a mini rubber boat. If you're not a big fan of swimming, you can float about with friends or family on a giant floating ring in the Adventure River, which circles through all 14 scenes in the park. Children can also enjoy a snorkelling experience in the Rainbow Reef zone with over 2,000 colourful marine creatures.
A definite must-try, one of the Ultimate Marine Encounters, is the recently launched Dolphin Discovery (S$198 extra or about 4,950 baht per person). It is a shallow water dolphin interaction programme in which visitors can touch, hug, kiss, feed and be won over by the adorable charms and amazing intelligence of the dolphins. Even non-swimmers can enjoy this experience because it only requires standing waist-deep in the water.
At Dolphin Discovery, visitors can get up close to the cute animals.
Prior to the experience, an instructor will give a short orientation. She said that once you've touched a dolphin, you will never forget how it feels. That statement definitely holds true _ the dolphin's smooth skin felt like nothing I have touched before. The instructor explained that dolphins shed the outer layer of their skin 12 times per day, and therefore have very smooth skin.
While it is labelled as full day fun, most people will have drained their energy in the afternoon as the blazing sun can be quite taxing on the body. Dry up and head to a cool and relaxing experience right next door at the S.E.A. Aquarium, which is the world's largest aquarium, home to more than 800 species of magnificent marine life.
Just how big is this place? S.E.A. Aquarium holds enough water to fill more than 17 Olympic-size swimming pools. It also features the world's largest acrylic panel _ 36m wide, or the length of three double-decker buses. There are over 100,000 marine animals in this place, divided into 10 different zones.
The aquarium is cleverly linked to its next-door neighbour _ The Maritime Experiential Museum, which houses the Typhoon Theatre. The museum features the story of the Silk Road, leading visitors through a journey back to the past before they embark on a ship in the theatre. As the ship in the 4D movie goes through a heavy storm and inevitably sinks, visitors sink with the ship on to the ocean bed. When the exit door opens, they are transported into the underwater world.
Shipwreck Habitat is the first to greet visitors, showcasing a shipwreck last encountered at Typhoon Theatre as it sank to a watery grave. While most man-made refuse is bad for the environment, some can actually benefit marine life. Shipwrecks can evolve into thriving marine habitats, as their complex shapes and hard surfaces offer shelter for marine animals. A mature wreck can establish an entire food chain.
S.E.A. Aquarium also features the world's largest underwater acrylic dome, at 9m in diameter. Here, visitors can see how various marine lives coexist peacefully, from big sharks to tiny colourful fish. Puffer fish are also put in the same water as other marine animals, but the aquarium has to make sure they are not agitated or upset, such as when visitors poke the panel or use flash photography. When puffer fish get mad, they can potentially kill other surrounding lives by releasing a toxin.
A leisurely walk around the aquarium will take about two or three hours, and it is enough for you to work up an appetite. Don't miss the Ocean Restaurant, Singapore's first aquarium dining experience in collaboration with celebrity chef Cat Cora. One side of the restaurant is an acrylic panel, boasting a view of various marine creatures swimming by.
Tickets to Adventure Cove Waterpark are S$26 for children and S$36 for adults. The park is open daily from 10am-6pm.
Tickets to S.E.A. Aquarium are S$38 for adults and S$28 for children. The aquarium is open daily from 10am-7pm, and from 10am-9pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
For details, visit www.rwsentosa.com.
Adventure Cove offers fun in the sun, sand and sea.