Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Bub & Me: RWS S.E.A. Aquarium Guided Tour {Spooky Seas Holiday Theme}

Our family had a little treat last Saturday when we went for a 3-hour VIP guided tour around RWS S.E.A. Aquarium. With a friendly guide following us the whole way, we got to know more fascinating facts of the marine world and its many inhabitants, and had privileged access to back-of-house areas for the rare chance to participate in the feeding of animals & talk to their in-house aquarists and marine mammal specialists.

This was our 3rd visit to the S.E.A. Aquarium and if you've been there that many times as well, I'd recommend this tour to you since the aquarium doesn't change its exhibits much, and you'll get to discover and learn so much more with this guided experience. Plus, you'll also get a back-of-house tour of Dolphin Island too! 

The last time we went in February, they had a Chinese New Year theme and this time we experienced their Spooky Seas theme to get into the Halloween fun. It is on now until 16 Nov 2014.

For the parents who aren't very keen on Halloween because of the ghouls, ghosts and possible pagan roots, take note that there will be characters such as the Mermaid Witch & Monster Seahorse walking around for meet-and-greets, and Halloween decorations like pumpkins & skeletons in the aquarium exhibits. They really aren't that scary though.

For us, we don't read too much into Halloween and just see it as a time for Lil Pumpkin to have some fun & dress up, which is why we were happy to let her go in her Queen Elsa costume :P She even requested me to braid her hair on one side like Elsa!

As part of the Spooky Seas theme, kids start of making their own Trick-or-Treat paper bag before going Trick-or-Treating through S.E.A. Aquarium, while learning more amazing facts about seemingly scary animals and discover why they are often misunderstood! This is open to all visitors and not just guests on the guided tour. It really upped the interaction and fun level for kids.

With a map in hand, kids can set off on this fun and educational adventure through 12 activity stations. Luckily for us, we didn't really need the map since we had a personal guide with us haha.

Other than the usual exhibit attractions, there are 2 back-of-house experiences at S.E.A. Aquarium during the guided tour. One was an amazing opportunity to go to the top of the Open Ocean Habitat tank to feed the marine animals, where you reeeeeaaaally appreciate how enormous the Giant Manta Rays are!! The acrylic aquarium tank walls for the exhibits are about 70 cm thick to withstand the water pressure and actually makes the fish look smaller than usual.

The second was to go to where some in-house aquarists work to learn more about their jobs, how they clean the tanks, how they breed jellyfish, corals, seahorses etc! Really fascinating and we were very pleased that Lil Pumpkin listened closely to what the aquarist was saying, and was interested enough to ask questions of her own :)

Sorry I can't show you in pictures since no photography and videography is allowed during any part of the back-of-house tour to keep it exclusive.

 During the guided tour we didn't have to queue at the Discovery Touch Pool either! A real time-saver since it was very crowded that weekend. Lil Pumpkin wasn't scared to touch the knobbly sea star, pencil sea urchin, sea cucumber and more there.

The last back-of-house experience was over at Dolphin Island. Direct interactions with dolphins are not included in the Dolphin Island back-of-house tour, but we got to talk to a marine mammal specialists to learn how the 23 Indo-Pacifiic bottlenose dolphins are taken care at RWS, their behaviour, diet and unique features.

There's a lot of views over how the dolphins are treated and whether we should house them in the first place. My view, as a wife of a vet & friends with others, is that... no animal care-taker, whether they are vets, zookeepers, aquarists, marine mammal specials, dolphin trainers etc. will really want to harm any animals if they can help it. If so, they wouldn't be in that business because for the amount of work and time they put in, they can get paid higher elsewhere. Most of them do it because they really care for the animals, and not for profits.

The VIP guided tour is great not just for the added experience to a normal outing to the S.E.A. Aquarium, but also an opportunity to talk to the real people taking care of the marine animals and working behind the scenes. It was a good chance to clear any misconceptions or get any questions about marine life answered. Although I felt quite tired from all the walking, it definitely was a very fruitful experience for all of us :)

RWS S.E.A. Aquarium VIP Guided Tour
Price: S$88/adult and S$68/child {4-12 years old}, discounts available for annual pass holders
Duration: Approximately 3 hours
Tour times: Starts from 9am daily, approximately 2-3 tours/day
For reservation, call +65 65776077 or email rwstours@rwsentosa.com.

Tour Entitlements:
  • Priority access to S.E.A. Aquarium
  • 1-Day Pass to S.E.A. Aquarium
  • 1 VIP lanyard
  • 1 session to participate in marine animal feeding
  • 1 complimentary group photograph
  • A S$10 meal voucher for use at Fish and Crab Shack / Ocean Restaurant / The Bay Restaurant
  • Dolphin Island back-of-house tour

  • Wear comfortable footwear.
  • Try to get on the 9am tour, as you will be in the S.E.A. Aquarium before it officially opens to the public and have a chance to feed the Giant Manta Rays.
  • Tours are non-exclusive and will accommodate a minimum of 2 guests to a maximum of 10 guests
  • Reservations are required and must be made at least 48 hours in advance.
  • Tours are in English but check for availability of other languages.
  • Advisable to bring stroller for younger kids as 3 hours might be too long for them to walk. Wheelchairs and strollers not permitted in some areas of the back-of-house tour though.

Check out the rest of our Bub & Me activities or list of kid-friendly places in Singapore too.

* Disclosure: RWS S.E.A. Aquarium guided tour experience was due to an invitation from RWS Singapore. All opinions are my own.



Masshole Mommy said...

That looks like an amazing aquarium!! My two would love it.

Theresa Mahoney said...

I love how they got into the Halloween spirit and went all out on the decorations and costumes! And Lil Pumpkin makes for such a cute Elsa!

An Apel a Day said...

That does look like fun! We don't have an aquarium around here; except for in our zoo. It's pretty cool, but not as cool as the one you went to.

Stacy said...

Ooh I do love marine life. The Halloween characters are fun, yeah luckily not too scary.

Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me said...

That's pretty cool they've got Halloween decos in the water?! My kids go a bit crazy about Halloween - I dress up the outside of the house also. We had an experience with Blue Bottle jellyfish this week,thankfully none on our skin though! Em - also visiting as part of #teamIBOT

Unknown said...

We are hoping for a family visit to check out all the family things in the next year or two. I love saving your posts so I can show hubby how much fun it will be.

mail4rosey said...

It does look like a great visit. And sometimes the perspective does make you appreciate the size of the water life (and the ocean!). Love your daughter's pretty dress. :)

Unknown said...

It's a great Aquarium Ai, we loved that big fish tank!

Anonymous said...

May I know where did u buy the Elsa costume for your daughter? Thanks.

Ai Sakura said...

Masshole Mommy: It's huge! I'm sure they will :)

Theresa: haha thanks! Can't wait to see what you're doing for your Halloween party!

Alissa: Hope you'll be able to visit this one day with your boys too :)

Stacy: Yeah more kids-friendly than what's happening at USS now haha

Emily: Wow I didn't know you get so into it! Pics of your Halloween House pls! ;P

Annaleis: great! let me know if you need any other tips :)

mail4rosey: thank you!

Stephanie: the first time I saw it I was really, really amazed!

Anon: In Australia

EssentiallyJess said...

How good are aquariums? I love them, and this place looks great.
Lil Pumpkin is like Ava, wanting to wear an Elsa dress everywhere. And have 'Elsa hair' as well. :)