If you are thinking of heading down to Kranji Countryside to let you kids see the lesser known side of Singapore, you may want to add the Swiftlet Garden Museum to your list of pit-stops.
Newly opened inside D'Kranji Farm Resort (by MediaCorp Artiste Yao Wen Long 姚玟隆), the Swiftlet Garden Museum is all about - what else - swiftlets and their most prized asset of all, the bird's nest which ranks as one of the most expensive animal products consumed by us humans. And to think it is all saliva.
To tour the museum, only guided tours are allowed. There are no fixed timings - as long as there are people to form a small group, the guide present will start the tour. Oh, and photography is NOT allowed within the museum. So yes, I risked my life to snap the 2 below photos... the things I do for my readers. LOL.
If you are hoping to see real swiftlets or real bird's nests inside the museum, then be prepared to be disappointed. There are plenty of information panels, as well as mock-ups of how the bird's nests are located in caves and in man-made nesting houses.
Along the tour, we learnt the history of bird's nest, the characteristics of the swiftlets, as well as how bird's nest is treated and cleaned with the help of technology.
More interesting for the monkies however, was how most nests are built during the breeding season by the male swiftlet over a period of 30-40 days. The female swiftlet then lays only 2 eggs at one go, and the hatching process takes 3-4 weeks.
The nests take the shape of a shallow cup stuck to the cave wall and are composed of interwoven strands of salivary laminae cement. The nests have high levels of calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium, which probably explains why they are believed to provide immense health benefits.
Personally, I felt the tour was just average but if there is only one reason for you to visit the Swiftlet Garden Museum, then this would be it.
At the end of the tour, there was a chance for us to see some real swiftlets flying in the sky. All the guide had to do was to switch on the swiftlet call and broadcast it via the loudspeaker system. Amazingly, some swiftlets started circling above us almost immediately!
Well, some turned to plentiful and this was what we saw soon enough.
I do not know where they came from, but the sight of so many swiftlets in the sky was enough to thrill the monkies to bits! No doubt this was the best part of our visit.
My final take on the Swiftlet Garden Museum? It is not a strong enough attraction to warrant an exclusive trip down to Kranji. But if you intend to bring the children down to visit the goat, frog, fish, vegetable and other farms, then this might just be a refreshing detour for them.
Swiftlet Garden Museum
10 Neo Tiew Lane 2
D'Kranji Farm Resort
Tel: 6316 0975
Opening Hours: 10am - 6pm
Admission Charges: Adult $3 | FREE for children aged 12 and below