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Sentosa Island Underwater World

Updated on October 16, 2009

Underwater World

The Singapore Underwater World is located on Sentosa Island. Like everywhere in Singapore it is easy to reach.

It describes itself on its website as 'Asia's largest tropical oceanarium'. Now I take that description with a pinch of 'seawater'. My visit was in 2006 and unless some really radical restructuring has taken place then it is a manipulation of information. I think what they have done here is to include the dolphin set up with the aquarium to make it appear larger.

Certainly the excellent Aquarium at the Siam Paragon in Bangkok is to my rememberance bigger than Sentosa Underwater World and maybe Manila Ocean Park too. That's aquariums. I don't think you can really count sea pens a bus ride away. Yet again if we were to calculate on gallonage then those marine mammal pens in Subic Ocean Adventure in the Philippines would be bigger still. It is all playing with figures. No Sentosa Underwater World is fairly small. That said it is worth a visit.

This is one of a series of zoo reports that was actually included within my travel journal ‘The Itinerant ZooKeeper’. Initially I started to extract the zoo data but found the reading was diminished by it. So look on it as a zoo/travel article. The only major edits I have done is a little censoring and to remove the Casanova exploits.

Harlequin Shrimp on a Starfish

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Photo by:

My biggest surprise was the island. Much smaller than I imagined and much closer to Singapore too. Equally 'Underwater World' was quite small. It was though, very good. I am never too impressed by this aquarium group. I suppose I would be prepared to give greater praise on it if my visit had not been spoilt by noisy ill mannered people. Most, but not all, were European. I would have loved to have gone round on my own, in the quiet instead of being pushed, jostled, bumped and shouted into. Most unpleasant.

Leafy Sea Dragon

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This compact collection was well worth visiting. I thought the exhibits to be well maintained and presented. The signage was clear and interesting but, I thought, a bit lacking. I would have liked to have been able to identify some of the fish, sharks in particular but there was no way of doing so. There was a sign showing how to tell the sex of the sharks. This was both fun and interesting and it had several people occupied.

I liked the crab exhibits and the space devoted to them, though people were banging on the unusual little display units and I couldn't help thinking that a less stressful set up would be kinder. The Giant Spider Crabs were most impressive. Leafy and Weedy Sea dragons! Wow. Someone told me they had bred these but I saw no evidence (not even a sign) of this. I would have been shouting it from the rooftops so perhaps they were not successful after all.

I thought the Giant Groupers were impressive and I don't believe I have ever seen as many sharks in one tank before. I definitely have not seen so many large sea turtles (Green and Hawksbill) in one place (though I have since, to name the Rayong Aquarium for one). Loved the Jellyfish too, they make a brilliant exhibit when done well. The Dugong was interesting to see too. Sad that is on its own. I would place it elsewhere, it is not a solitary species.


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If you have enjoyed reading this article you should move onto the next, entitled ‘Singapore Night Safari‘ as soon as it is published. Or you could move back to Jurong Reptile and Crocodile Paradise if you missed it. Please also check out my blog Zoo News Digest.

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    • Peter Dickinson profile image

      Peter Dickinson 8 years ago from South East Asia

      It is really a bit over the top touristy sort of place. Okay for a day then run far away.

    • bingskee profile image

      bingskee 8 years ago from Quezon City, Philippines

      sentosa. been hearing a lot of nice things about the place. how i wish i could someday make a visit.

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      I really liked the pics you posted Peter (wow, what alliteration). It looks to me that the people that designed this park couldn't have cared less if the the visitors were uneducated about the experience, cut only that they got to see some strange and exotic underwater creatures! Thanks again, Peter.