Nov 11, 2011

Maritime Experiential Museum & Aquarium

Monday was a public holiday, so Daddy & Mummy were given the unenviable task of keeping us entertained once again. Luckily, there was one place that Daddy had long wanted to bring us ever since it opened.

The Maritime Experiential Museum & Aquarium, or MEMA for short, at Resorts World Sentosa was where we were headed.

At first, on reaching RWS, di-di & I were so excited because we thought we were going to Universal Studios - BUT our hopes were cruelly dashed as we started to walk in the opposite direction of Universal Studios instead.

Well, no matter... we are always game to try new things! And the MEMA is indeed quite new.

Being the first and only museum to showcase the Asian maritime history, MEMA offers an innovative look at the history of the Maritime Silk Route as visitors embark on an exciting journey to discover Southeast Asia’s maritime trade history during 9th to 19th century.

As we walked through the main entrance, a giant ship replica towered over us as if beckoning us nearer.

The massive ship was Admiral Zheng He's Treasure Ship (or Bao Chuan), as told by Daddy. Admiral Zheng He was a great Chinese navigator during the Ming Dynasty and had led seven voyages between 1405 to 1433, which was probably the largest and most sustained series of naval expeditions.

Hmmm, I don't think I can ever spend such a long time on a ship... I wonder if he has a Nintendo Wii onboard?

Anyway, there's a giant screen on the ship which runs a brief introduction clip about Zheng He every 30 minutes - with comfy sofas too!

And the good thing about this show is that, you don't need a ticket to catch it. Erm, so if you want to enjoy some air-conditioning, you can just go in and enjoy the short presentation. :P

The rest of the exhibits needed a ticket of course, and the first exhibit to greet us was the SOUK.

The SOUK consists of 8 ports of call along the Maritime Silk Route where we get to see, smell and hear sounds of the different people and cultures along the maritime trade routes.

And along the way, we got to collect stamps at the various ports of call in our very own Passport too!

There were also lots of interactive features along the exhibits to keep children like us entertained - like the use of giant touch-screen displays for us to learn and play at the same time.

Or just simply to keep us tickled by super-imposing our faces onto someone else's. Heh.

There were also plenty of craft stations along the way to sustain our attention.

We continued with our journey as we sailed down further south...

And as we approached our last stop in Malindi, Kenya, the journey had indeed taken its toll on mei-mei...

... and she fell asleep. Haha.

As for us, we never stopped exploring with our eye or hands.

And the occasional smells too.

Di-di even hammed it up as a solemn Explorer.

Don't ask me where he learnt how to pose like that (and with such a serious face too!) because he sure didn't learn it from Dora.

We even requested Daddy to snap a photo of us together with a statue of Admiral Zheng He.

Check out how I rolled my passport into a scroll to imitate the legendary Navigator. Mummy thinks I'm being cheekie, but Daddy thinks I just have an eye for detail. Hee hee.

We then concluded our SOUK journey by claiming our last passport stamp.

After which, we found ourselves back in China - Guangzhou Wharf to be exact, which was the birthplace of the Maritime Silk Route.

And it was here where the “Jewel of Muscat”, a full-sized replica of a 9th-century dhow which is a gift from the Omani Government, was docked.

It was also here where we waited for entry to the next attraction - the Typhoon Theatre.

The Typhoon Theatre is a 360-degree multimedia theatre that tells the story of a Chinese junk which runs into a nasty storm while delivering some cargo.

(Do note though that admission to the Typhoon Theatre requires an additional ticket purchase. Details at the end of the post.)

And as the sea roars, the skies darken with occasional flashes of lightning, all of us were made to experience the full wrath of the storm with vibration of our seats and sprinkling of water on top of our heads.

Sadly, the whole junk eventually sank and we found ourselves in the depths of the ocean, up close with the shipwreck - complete with marine life teaming about.

The theatre can get quite dark during the show, and coupled with loud sounds and flashing lights, it may not be every child's fancy though. But di-di & I quite enjoyed the show and especially loved the part where we were at the bottom of the ocean. Heh.

As we exited the theatre, we came face to face with the historical shipwrecks that had happened in Southeast Asia in the Maritime Archaeology Gallery.

There were also lots of maritime artefacts which were salvaged from the various shipwrecks, but I think they intrigued Mummy more than us.

With that, our visit to the MEMA drew to a close.

And not a moment too soon too, because we were all famished!

We decided to have our lunch at the bistro within the MEMA, as we didn't want mei-mei to turn all cranky from her growing hunger.

And it seemed we made the right decision. :)

The food was pretty decent, though portions are a tad on the small side. But we lapped it all up anyway.

Full tummies make happy babies!

It was an eye-opening experience to a maritime museum for us - maybe more so for me than di-di, because I was able to appreciate the exhibits better. But I know di-di definitely enjoyed all the craft stations!

Museum - Mon to Thurs: 10am-7pm; Fri to Sun & PH: 10am-9pm
Typhoon Theatre - Mon to Thurs: 10am-6pm; Fri to Sun & PH: 10am-8pm

Museum - Adult: $5; Child (4-12): $2; Senior Citizens (65 & above): $3
Typhoon Theatre - Adult: $6; Child (4-12): $4; Senior Citizens (65 & above): $3

*If you are a NTUC member, buy 2 Adults & 2 Children tickets (Entry to both Museum & Typhoon Theatre) for $28.50 (U.P. $34)! Offer valid to 30 Nov 2011.

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