Last week we blogged about Lazarus Island, a gorgeous island getaway from mainland Singapore which is accessible by ferry from Marina South Pier. If you don’t have a ferry to catch, Marina South Pier is not exactly the most exciting place to hang out with your kids. It’s like, the most exciting thing about a trip to Marina South Pier is probably having the whole MRT train to yourselves.
Given a choice, I would rather be hanging out at Marina Bay Sands or Gardens by the Bay if I were in the bay area. But just in case you find yourself at Marina South Pier, say waiting for your ferry to the southern islands, rest assured that it is actually not THAT boring a place to be.
On the second floor of Marina South Pier, you would find Singapore Maritime Gallery. When I first brought the kids there 2 years ago, they had lots of fun at the gallery. Not to mention it was totally free and air-conditioned!
Since then, Singapore Maritime Gallery has undergone a refresh. I was rather puzzled why the gallery needed refreshing because it frankly looked pretty new when I was there 2 years back. But I was told that the maritime industry and technology are changing rapidly, hence the information and exhibits in the gallery needed to be updated too. Hence, the refresh. Okay, that made sense. So let’s begin our tour of the refreshed Singapore Maritime Gallery with a video tour!
The Dawn of Maritime Singapore
The refreshed Singapore Maritime Gallery brought us back to the beginnings of Maritime Singapore. Like way before Sir Stamford Raffles days. I blame it on our History lesson (and fine, I admit, my own lack of curiosity) that everything I know about Singapore only started from the moment Sir Stamford Raffles stepped foot on the island.
But interestingly, the refreshed gallery started with an introduction to the Singapore Stone and some History lessons on ancient Singapore. The 4 year old wasn’t that interested. Instead he headed straight for the board where he could open (and close) baskets and containers used to transport goods to Singapore from 1819 till today to see what kind of goods arrived in Singapore by sea.
We moved on and found ourselves face-to-face with two lighthouse sculptures that made MY go ‘WAH…’. And some headphones where he could listen to narrations relating to navigation and lighthouses. Listening was definitely more engaging than reading for the kids. Reminded me of our visit to the war memorial at old Ford Factory, where he picked up all the headphones and listened to them.
As we moved along the gallery, we saw videos on Singapore’s move to containerisation, which was a huge milestone in Singapore’s maritime industry.
MY was no stranger to container ships – we just came face-to-face with them about a week ago on our way to Lazarus Island!
And we found ourselves walking through an actual 20-foot container which was turned into a corridor. This was one of the features I remembered from the old gallery and I’m glad they kept it around!
Inside Maritime Singapore
After exiting from the container, we found an interactive display called the Interactive Ship Spotter! The two screens in front of the models of different vessels could be swiveled and tilted. The purpose was for visitors to explore the special features of the various vessels that visited the Singapore Strait.
MF also found an interactive map showing Singapore’s Maritime Belt.
There was A LOT of information about Singapore’s maritime industry today. But MY didn’t pay much attention to them.
All that MY was interested in was the Ship Handling Simulator. Just like in the old gallery, the simulator was absolutely the highlight! They have replaced the old simulator with a brand new, more modern one. Because, if you recall, I mentioned that the purpose of the refreshed gallery was to keep up with technology.
The new simulator was amazingly realistic and it encouraged visitors to participate as not just the ship captain, but to form a whole team of officers (Captain, Officer on Watch, Helmsman, Lookout) working together.
And there were 8 (!!) missions for you to complete. So you could be here all day! Or at least until it’s time for you to board your ferry.
And last but not least, we come to the most kids-friendly section of the gallery – the Explorer’s Corner! The kids section of the gallery was behind those glass doors – which made it pretty easy to miss. When I first entered the gallery, I walked right past the door without realising there was stuff behind, and I was wondering what happened to the kids section of the gallery.
Thank goodness they not only didn’t get rid of it. They have improved upon it. While I missed the giant Lego board from the old gallery, MY didn’t mind playing with the new arcade-style game where he had to control a ship and drive it between the buoys (without hitting them) while collecting rubbish from the sea.
Next to the game, there were ropes where kids could learn to tie knots commonly used by sailors. MY tried, but failed.
Then there was the ‘Load up your ship’ game, which I found very interesting. There were blocks of different weight which represented containers. And as we loeaded the containers onto the mini ship, it would actually tilt. Through this, we learned that loading containers onto the ship was not as easy as it looked, as we had to ensure the ship was balanced at all times!
And before we left, MY popped by the ‘Maritime Cosplay’ machine to take photos of himself dressed up as different maritime personnel and we could send the pictures to our emails.
And in case you are wondering about the rooftop playground they used to be there at level 3 of Marina South Pier, no worries. It’s still there. Scorching hot as always.
Information on Singapore Maritime Gallery:
Address: Marina South Pier Level 2, 31 Marina Coastal Drive Singapore 018988
Getting Here: Marina South Pier MRT (NS28)
Tel: 6325 5707
- Tuesday to Sunday, 9am – 5.30pm
- CLOSED ON MONDAYS (Except public holidays).
Official websites: Homepage
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