Let me say it upfront – we are big fans of S.E.A. Aquarium and would jump at any excuse to visit. So, it didn’t take much convincing to get us to join the Little Day Outing to S.E.A. Aquarium’s Ocean Fest! held on Saturday, 2 June 2018.
Ocean Fest! is a month-long festival organised by Resorts World Sentosa’s S.E.A. Aquarium to raise awareness for ocean conservation in conjunction with World Oceans Day, which is celebrated on 8 June every year. The focus of this year’s World Oceans Day 2018 is the impact of plastic pollution on the ocean and what we can do to prevent it.
The Little Day Outing to S.E.A. Aquarium was expertly conducted by our cheerful guides, Hakeem and Ayyu. It proved to be a tour of familiar favourites, alongside many new discoveries.
Rise to the Ocean Challenge
After entering the aquarium, the little ones jumped straight into the Ocean Challenge, a series of three game stations distributed throughout the aquarium where they learnt about plastic pollution through simple carnival-style games.
HEADS UP: Esplanade has a new children's festival from the 10 to 14 March. Book your tickets before they sell out.
At the first station, “Bin it to Score”, the kids had to sort “trash” (balls) given to them into the correct categories and toss them into the correct “bins” (hoops).
At the next station, “Toss and Reuse”, little ones had to identify items, which could be reused, and ring them.
At the third station, participants spun the “Wheel of Trash” for a question about common plastic objects responsible for plastic pollution.
Success at each station was rewarded with a stamp. Three stamps got each child a nifty reusable water bottle at the end of the visit!
Investigations at the Ocean Crime Lab
Next up, the kids were invited to do some detective work at a special interactive exhibition set up for Ocean Fest! 2018.
Pam the Clam, Mark the Shark and Abby the Albatross have all been found dead. What killed them?
Kids were tasked to read the case files and study the evidence in the lab to solve the crime. It turned out that the culprits were different varieties of human debris.
The Ocean Crime Lab activity brought home the serious conservation message in a fun and creative manner.
Familiar Favourites, New Lenses
The journey from one station to another took us past many S.E.A. Aquarium habitats. These ranged from the captivating shark seas and brightly-coloured reef habitats, to the entrancing sea jellies and a hands-on experience at the touch pool.
Each exhibit was enhanced by the information provided by our knowledgeable guides who led the Little Day Outing to S.E.A. Aquarium, especially in relation to the impact of plastic pollution on some of these creatures.
Did you know, for example, that plastic waste-induced diseases disproportionately affect those architecturally complex corals that provide important habitat for fish?
Or that turtles often mistake plastic bags for sea jellies – one of their preferred food sources – leading them to ingest our junk?
As we traversed beneath “Life in Plastic”, an art installation made of 2000 used plastic bottles suspended from the ceiling above us, I couldn’t help but wonder if that’s how it feels to be a marine creature swimming under all our human plastic debris.
Harmony’s Message of Responsibility
It was at another favourite spot within S.E.A. Aquarium that we caught a unique underwater performance that further drove home the conservation message.
Against the magnificent backdrop of the Open Ocean Habitat with rays and schooling fish circling around, conservationist Harmony got the audience bopping to a seriously catchy tune with a serious message.
Plastics can cause harm to the oceans
Recycle, yes, that is the notion!
We can all live in harmony
If we accept responsibility
Children held their breath as Finn the Diver saved the day by rescuing Harmony’s friend, Dupi the Seahorse, from a giant renegade plastic bag.
“It really does help drive home what I’ve been trying to teach them,” said Michelle Ee, who was on the Little Day Outing to S.E.A. Aquarium with her husband, mother-in-law, two daughters, aged 6 and 4, and 9-year old niece, Kejanko Ng.
“Don’t throw plastics into the sea!” was the emphatic pronouncement from Kejanko, when asked what she would take home from this outing.
Kejanko and the rest of us were given a chance to commit to that by taking the Ocean Challenge Pledge to avoid the use of microbead products, plastic straws and plastic bags.
After all we had seen and heard at Ocean Fest!, very little further convincing was needed.
Said Grace Singh, mother of 6-year-old Eva, who committed to avoid plastics straws, “I’m pleasantly surprised that she made this commitment. I’ll be watching and reminding her of it.”
First Steps at the Ocean Eco-Market
As we left the aquarium, the Ocean Eco-Market gave me the opportunity to take a first step to act on my pledge.
Organised in partnership with Terra SG, a social enterprise that advocates individuals to make positive environmental change,the Ocean Eco-Market features 10 stalls. These promote eco-friendly products such as up-cycled lamps, sustainable art, beauty products free from microplastics and alternatives to plastic lifestyle products. The Ocean Eco-Market provided some interesting browsing.
It also provided the impetus for me to finally get round to picking up metal straws for the family, which we made use of immediately!
As we headed off, tea in hand, the conservation conversation sparked off by the visit to Ocean Fest! with the kids continued well into the journey home, surely a sign of an afternoon well spent.
Dates: 25 May to 24 June 2018
Where: S.E.A. Aquarium, Resorts World Sentosa
This feature is brought to you by Resorts World Sentosa, S.E.A. Aquarium.