SINCE its opening in January 2010, Resort World Sentosa (RWS) has hosted a staggering 45 million guests to date. And it is expecting at least a million more visitors to the resort next year, especially since it now plays host to the world’s largest oceanarium – The Marine Life Park.
Recently revealed in conjunction with the recent grand opening of RWS, the Marine Life Park is inspired by the myriad of wonders of the undersea world. It features two attractions – the SEA Aquarium and the Adventure Cove Waterpark – and hopes to put Singapore on the world map for marine education, conservation and research through its initiative and professional expertise.
The SEA Aquarium currently houses 10 zones with 49 exhibits. Marine species are either separated or placed together, depending on their compatibility to co-habit. It was built and designed to exhibit as well as educate, and is kept running with the help of a huge filtration system using 124 major pumps – a major engineering feat. Wallpaper and interactive monitor at each separate vat provide information on the various species, their nature and habitat.
A walkway brings guests along an underwater voyage, beginning from the seas of Southeast Asia through the Arabian Gulf, and finally to the Open Ocean gallery which has the largest collection of marine lifeforms in the entire aquarium.
It also has the largest viewing panel in the world, measuring 36m wide and 8.3m tall. According to SEA Aquarium senior curator Grant Willis, the 12m-deep aquarium holds about 45 million litres of water and is home to most of the 100,000 marine animals covering over 800 species found at the Marine Life Park.
“This tank is large enough for us to add more sea creatures and we do that all the time, but my job is to make sure that they are healthy and happy,” said Willis who hopes to increase the number of manta rays (currently the largest sea creatures in the tank) and eagle rays.
“[The tank] is like a garden. It gets better as you continue to work at it from the day you started it. I do hope that our manta rays stay here for another 20 years. We won’t be moving the fishes anywhere because this is the perfect home for them.”
Willis also oversees the feeding of the fishes which begins as early as 10am starting with the larger fish. According to him, there are about 25 different types of food – from pellet scallops, crushed feed, chopped-up fish to whole fish – that are fed to the aquarium inhabitants two to three times a day depending on their diet.
Divers and aquarists dive in to the vats to hand-feed the sharks (placed at another exhibit called the Shark Seas), the rays and the goliath grouper. Smaller feed such as prawns and planktons are thrown in for the smaller fishes and the rays.
The marine park is also currently conducting researches in the hopes of creating a sustainable environment to promote breeding of not only fishes but invertebrates as well.
According to its education & conservation director Biswajit Guha, there are a lot of technological requirements needed when it comes to breeding invertebrates in a managed population, as some of the species are more commonly harvested for human consumption.
“[These invertebrates] are not aqua-cultured so one of the things we are looking into is to create a sustainable population of those here.”
On the other side of the aquarium, along the Open Ocean habitat, are 11 units of two-storey suites for paying guests who enjoy an underwater visual feast of the marine creatures right from their suites.
While the lower level of these Ocean Suites offer a tranquil and immersive experience of ‘living under the sea’, the upper levels offer a relaxing living area with an outdoor jacuzzi tub.
And for those looking for an adventure in the great outdoors, the Adventure Cove Waterpark and Universal Studios Singapore will delight even the most hardcore adrenaline junkies.
The Adventure Cove Waterpark features a wide array of water activities such as the Riptide Rocket (Southeast Asia’s first hydro-magnetic roller-coaster on water), Rainbow Reef where you can snorkel over colourful reefs as well as its 20,000 friendly tropical fish, Ray Bay where guests get a chance to interact with rays, and more.
There will also be ray-feeding, shark and dolphin interaction programmes, as well as sea trek diving and new education and conservation programmes to be introduced at the marine park soon.
Over at Universal Studios Singapore, visitors get to indulge in 24 rides including the world’s tallest duelling coasters as well as other attractions spread across seven themed zones.
Be also on the lookout for the soon-to-be-launched new attraction at Universal Studios Singapore – the Sesame Street Spaghetti Space Chase. This indoor theme park ride is designed for the entire family.