I feel nostalgic just thinking about the tunnel at underwater world. Tickets and food on Sentosa in general were expensive to us but my mom still managed to bring us there once when we were growing up. There was one photo, of us standing at this exact same spot in the tunnel, siblings huddled together with my mom, me making the victory sign. Photo is lost but memories remain.
The Underwater World tunnel has the same hold on me, even now. Mysterious at times and still fascinating.
This time round, dad, who worked every day without rest while I was growing up got to go. He stopped often to look for a long time and took a lot of photos and videos with his phone. I was very glad that he was enjoying himself.
If anything, the real draw of the Underwater World attraction is the interaction you can have with sea creatures. We touched sting rays (barbs removed), starfishes and even baby sharks.
There is a Mystical Anti Gravity Interactive Concept Tank (MAGIC T), which looks like a regular fish tank with two outlets where you can put your hands in to feed the fishes. I was amazed that water does not spill out even when the fishes can swim right to where the opening is. Joy was more interested in feeding fishes (while talking to them) the conventional way.
Within the Living Fossils section, I learnt many things I never knew about ancient aquatic life.
This is also where you get to come face to face with giant fishes and other aquatic life. Joy asked me why they were all sulking and I had a really good laugh because of that. Lighting for the area is dim and, because of Joy, I came to realise that most fishes have downwards pointing mouth, especially obvious at the Living Fossils section because they are so huge.
Joy and I went inside a dome fish tank exhibit and finally got to know what’s its like to be looking out from a fish tank.
Dolphins and Seals
Daily Dolphin and Fur Seal Show
Showtimes: 11am, 2pm*, 4pm and 5.45pm everyday
(*Dolphin and Fur Seal behind-the-scene play session with trainers every Wednesday at 2pm)
We went on a Wednesday and caught the 2pm and 4pm shows. The special training show at 2pm on Wednesdays was not packed at all, it allowed us to watch the animals with relative peace, especially the seals, who were training close to the audience stands.
Joy got to know that we would be watching the dolphins a few days before. She watched videos about them, to understand things like how they navigate in water, why you can’t touch their melon (hump on their heads) and why are some dolphins pink. I had Joy’s nails cut the night before and taught her about respect and gentleness you need to have with animals. When we got to the dolphin lagoon, she was all excited.
The most magical part of the dolphin show was when an audience (so happened, Jennifer the Dino Mama got picked!) was picked to interact with one of the Dolphins. Everything about the interaction looked gentle on the Dolphin and it was almost magical when the Dolphin sang while Jennifer conducted, I loved that part.
Photo Taking Opportunity with Dolphins and Seals
Pink Dolphin: Available for 11am and 4pm shows
Fur Seal: Available for 2pm and 5.45pm shows
Joy was ecstatic when told of the possibility but I admit, I was struggling with myself on whether I should buy a photo pass or not. I did eventually, because its a chance we won’t always come across.
Being able to pet the Dolphin meant a lot to Joy I could see. When the Dolphin seemed not to be ready for contact, she waited quietly. When I saw how she petted the Dolphin, I was really proud. She was thrilled but very careful and gentle. It was an amazing encounter for Joy.
Not so for me, because of an incident. My mother was with Joy in the queue and she was required to carry 13kg Joy, specifically sideways, while waddling into the slippery pool. My mom slipped and fell into the pool, hurting her back. It would have been much safer for Joy to waddle in herself, while assisted by an adult, rather than being carried – this was an accident which could have been avoided. I didn’t understand why we were treated differently when other children before us, who were smaller and younger, were allowed to waddle in themselves with help. Also, guardians who were required to carry children into the pool may not receive support from the staff, despite the pool conditions. I had help, my mom didn’t.
Here’s a video of me with Joy during our 2nd attempt, taken by my dad:
In their official reply to my feedback, the Underwater World team indicated that they have noted that the pool is slippery and is currently looking into how they can improve on this area to make it safer for the public. Here are the SOP information provided by Underwater World after my feedback:
(1) While it is not stated in writing, the minimum height requirement is 1 metres. Our Guest Service Officers will practice discretion to measure the child’s height with a pole, should his/her height appear to be around or shorter than 1m. Should the child fail to meet the height requirements, he/she will have to be carried by an adult during the dolphin interaction.
(2) Guest Service Officers may advise parents to carry the child if he/she show signs of fear/discomfort participating in the animal interaction.
If you want to know, Joy is exactly 1 metres tall and had shown no fear during the whole session, not even when she fell into the water. The fact that she happily went with me on a 2nd attempt and smiled for the camera is proof enough. I kicked myself for not protesting against the request. If you do go for the photo opportunity please, do what you can to ensure safety.
Will I still visit Underwater World Sentosa? Yes, I will. Accidents happen to the best of us, so although I’m not satisfied with the explanation given for this incident, there are still many reasons why this attraction draws us to it. We’ll just be responsible for our own safety next time round.
Now’s the best time to visit, in any case! Entrance tickets plus a buffet meal at Island Cuisine are now going for a June Holidays 2015 promotional price of $19.90 (excluding perks mentioned in promotional material below)!
We had a meal at Island Cuisine as well. The food is average but the setting and atmosphere was very relaxing. Overall, the promotional package is still pretty worth it, considering that food on the Island tend to be expensive. Also, free flow ice cream keeps the children happy.
**** GIVEAWAY *****
I have 5 pairs of tickets to giveaway, courtesy of Underwater World Sentosa! Please note the terms and conditions carefully and log your entry via the Rafflecopter below.
Terms and conditions:
1. Contest Ends: 1159 hrs on 21 June 2015
2. Redemption period: 3 months upon receipt of tickets
3. Eligible participants: Readers resident in Singapore
4. Each winning ticket only permits a complimentary entry into UWS and a one-time buffet at Island Cuisine.
5. Each winning ticket does not include the additional perks as stated in above poster.
6. Promotion is only applicable to local residents of Singapore. (i.e. Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents, Holders of Employment Passes, work Permit or Dependent’s Pass).
7. Promotion is valid for both adult and child.
8. To qualify, visitors are required to produce relevant identification, subjected to one admission ticket per local ID.
9. This promotion is not applicable with any ongoing promotions.
10. This promotion is not applicable for group tours.
11. This promotion is only valid for watching the dolphin show. Charges are applicable should invited visitors wish to participate in the dive or have contact with the dolphins.
12. UWS reserves the right to refuse redemption, entry and/or participation if the above conditions are not fulfilled.
13. UWS Shall not be liable for cancellation of any programmes due to wet weather or unforeseen circumstances.
14. Island Cuisine will offer local delicacies in a buffet format daily from 11.30am – 3pm (Last seating: 2.30pm) and 5.30pm – 9pm (Last seating: 8.30pm).
15. Island Cuisine is not a halal certified restaurant. Dishes do not contain pork/lard.
16. UWS reserves the right to substitute the buffet meal with another item of equivalent value.
Disclosure: Our entry tickets and buffet lunch were provided by Underwater World Singapore for the purposes of this review and giveaway. No monetary compensation was received and all opinions are my own.
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