Sunday, November 10, 2013

Titans of the Past, Singapore Science Centre

T Rex munching the skull of a hapless victim
This weekend the Science Centre was having a "Science Street Fair": it's been a while since R and I have visited, so I decided to check it out.

R, in keeping with her rather bold nature, loves dinosaurs. So we headed to their dinosaur special exhibit upon arrival (when the museum opened at 9:30, because lately R has been getting up earlier and earlier. She used to regularly sleep until 8:30 or 9, but new wake-up time is 7 am. Today it was 6:30: ugghghghgh as I am NOT a morning person.)

I didn't really have any expectations about this exhibit, so when it turned out to be awesome, it was a wonderful surprise. The fossils on display were all real, including the world's largest T-Rex skull, on loan from an American museum (the tropical climate here is very hostile to fossil preservation). And the text was great, showcasing some of the latest theories in paleontology.

Triceratops of different ages
The oldest ones were massive! (obviously a replica)
Maybe the best part (and certainly R's favorite) were the state-of-the-art animatronic dinosaurs. They were really impressive: very realistic looking, huge, and actually quite frightening. R kept telling me "I want to go home!" and then changing her mind again as she was drawn into gawking at the huge robotic creatures. We were there around two hours in the end.
Baby triceratops is totally darling: I wanted to take one home!
The two of them narrated a short movie about skull morphology. Too cute!
R loved the movie: we saw it twice
This display allowed you to hear the sounds of duckbill dinosaurs of different ages
T Rex ate flesh as a baby, crushed bones as an adult: the baby has a feather tuft
R was scared yet fascinated by this guy: it was maybe 13 feet? tall and the teeth gnashing was pretty creepy
The exhibit concludes with a disappointing Ice Age section, also with animatronic animals. They were unattractive and lumpish looking: maybe the interns did those as the skilled designers were busy with T-Rex?
That bear on the right is definitely NOT cute
After dinosaurs, we headed to the section of the museum housing confiscated animals formerly kept as pets: a rather motley collection of turtles, gerbils, salamanders and the like. R's favorite by far? The completely disgusting hissing cockroaches.
The gift shop is of course right at the exit: R wanted to "buy something" and had to be forcibly removed when I told her no. Note the bare feet: R hates shoes now and goes barefoot at every opportunity.
With her roach friends
Part of the fair was outside in the back, including a gyroscope ride. R's reaction to seeing the people shrieking in terror as they rode it: "I want to go on that!" I told her she was too little, to which she replied "That's OK, Mommy, I am growing bigger!"
Beyond this was the museum Ecogarden (very hard to find generally speaking, it took me several visits before I realized it was there). The highlight is the treehouse lodged in a huge fig tree.
There is a ladder to get up as well, but you are not allowed to use it for safety reasons, to R's disappointment
A book inside the treehouse (pages of wood) shows all the creatures you might see in the garden
We also enjoyed seeing the vegetable garden, which grows a wide variety of produce including corn, eggplant, gourds and beans.

R found a corn cob on the ground: she's like "What is this??"
It was R's first time seeing most of these vegetables in nature as opposed to the grocery store (rather a sad commentary on our urban lifestyle).


  1. These are such neat things to visit! I'm really surprised that the signs in the museums are all in English. Is that normal?

    1. Yes, the official language of Singapore is English so all public signs are in English (though often they are bilingual in Chinese, Malay or Tamil--Indian language). Makes life much easier here!

    2. Modern Singapore was founded by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819 and we have been colonized by the British for a while.