Guide to exploring Singapore’s surprising marine life

Jul 21, 2017

Known for being a Garden City, Singapore lives up to its name both on land, and underwater. Colourful coral colonies can be found blooming in the waters off the southern coast, providing refuge for animals such as butterfly fish, nudibranchs (sea slugs), and even sea turtles. Here are the places where you can learn more about Singapore’s thriving marine life.

The Natural History Museum

The Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, located within National University of Singapore (NUS) in Clementi, will enthral both divers and non-divers alike.

singapore whale

Other than learning more about Jubi Lee (above) – the whale which washed up in Jurong (west of Singapore) in July 2016 – visitors to the museum also get the rare chance to gaze upon a specimen of the Neptune’s cup sponge, an animal thought to be globally extinct since the early 1900s.

In 2011, the wine glass-shaped sponge, which can grow large enough for a child to sit on, was re-discovered off St John’s Island, south of mainland Singapore. Scientists spotted another specimen here in 2014, and its location is being kept under wraps – not surprising, considering the sponge was driven to extinction due to overfishing.

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The museum’s specimen is housed in its Marine Cycles Zone, where guests can view other interesting marine specimens, such as sea stars.

For a geographical perspective, pay attention to a map depicting the location of the Coral Triangle, which is an area widely considered the world’s richest underwater wilderness and sits just south of Singapore.

Tickets to the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum can be bought at the door at S$16 for adult Singapore residents and S$9 for children.