If you have a few hours to kill in Singapore and want to see some sharks and mantas, then take a visit to the Singapore aquarium on Sentosa. Regardless of your conservation views, we really think it was worth it after we took a visit with our kids (aged 4 and 6) and had a great day out.
Yes we live in Bunaken and have access to the reefs of the park any time we want, BUT we do not have a shark tunnel, every kind of ray in the worlds largest aquarium or a chance to eat lunch whilst viewing mantas!
Not enough is made of this on the official website, but we found this fantastic!! The Open Ocean Habitat has the Guinness World Record for being the biggest water tank in the world, with 18.2 million litres (4 million UK gal; 4.8 million US gal) salt water, and houses 100,000 animals of over 800 species, among which manta rays, goliath grouper, and sharks. The viewing panel is huge, about 30m wide and 12m deep, and it kept us and the kids mesmorised for at least an hour.
Whilst we were there we saw some divers in the tank, some were obviously staff as they were feeding the rays and fish, but some definitely looked like newbies so maybe there is an opportunity to dive in the tank? Some initial research failed to give us any information about this, but we will call them next time and find out how we can do this!!
One of the tanks sides is a viewing panel inside a restaurant, so you can eat whilst taking in all the marine life. We did not eat there but prices looked pretty reasonable (for Singapore!) and we were advised to book ahead if we wanted to have dinner as they get pretty busy.
Another treat for us all was walking beneath the sharks in a glass tunnel. We have done this a few times in other aquariums and it never stops to be amazing, where else can you get up close to hammerheads, bull sharks, ragged-tooth sharks, etc?
Alot of people are against aquariums (not right to take out of natural habitat, not a nice life, etc) but we heard alot of “aws” and “wows” and “so thats what a shark is don’t they look cute” from other visitors. We hope that aquariums help to dispel the myth of the underwater world by showing people what is down there, and maybe even make some become divers!