Titans of the Past – Another Great Exhibition by the Singapore Science Centre

Not an avid reader by nature, I have never borrowed or bought any books on dinosaurs. In fact, I knew very little about dinosaurs and the only dinosaur I knew was “T-Rex” until I watched the movie “Jurassic Park” in 1993. However, dinosaurs have always been very fascinating to me. Incidentally, my girls are very “into” dinosaurs these days and so when we learnt about the dinosaur -themed exhibition (“Titans of the Past”) organised by the Singapore Science Centre, I knew this was one exhibition that we couldn’t miss.

Dinosaur is lurking around the corner .. Kekeke

Depending on how you look at it, the admission fee of $20 for an adult ticket and $68 for a family package (2 adults, 2 children) may not seem cheap at the first glance. However, if you consider the effort needed to transport these pre-historic mammoth fossils, you may find the prices more acceptable. Whichever way you see it, I think this is a not-to-be-missed exhibition for the curious.

By the way, these rates do not include the admission to the Science Centre. If you have not been to the Science Centre for the past few years, I would say the extra couple of dollars for the admission is worth spending. We have been to the Science Centre a few times and the experience has always been very enjoyable. ◕ิ‿◕ิ

Triceratops is probably one of the easiest dinosaurs to identify – by the three horns on its face.

There are 3 segments in the exhibition and my advice is to allocate at least 3 hours if you intend to “maximise” the value. There is a documentary film at the centre stage in the second segment but we didn’t manage to finish it as we were rushing then. It was a real pity as my younger daughter was really interested. I will talk more about that later.

Display of the skull of Triceratops from different life stages

The first segment (“The Growth and Behaviour of Dinosaurs”) is an exhibition from The Museum of the Rockies (MOR) in Montana, USA. While many people may feel that the main attraction in this segment is the T-Rex, including the largest T-Rex skull (fossil) ever found, I prefer the Triceratops exhibits. I am not sure if the exhibits (see photo above) are real fossils or replicas, but they look real and I am very amazed with the development of the Triceratops. So the horns would bend forward (from upwards) as the Triceratops approached adulthood, as I was told.

The horns of the juvenile Triceratops (right) point upwards and would point forward (left) as they approached adulthood

My curious little princess

Other than static displays, which can be very boring, the organiser also added some novelties to make the whole experience more interesting. You can download an iPhone app which will have some special effects at specific spots in the hall. There’s one at the Triceratops section where the image of the dinosaur will come to life. It’s more for the kids, I would say. 🙂

Scan this photo with your iPhone App and see the dinosaur comes alive!

Moving slightly beyond the life stages of the Triceratops will bring you to a “secluded” area where a short movie about Triceratops will be screened. The movie is interesting as it shares a lot of good information on Triceratops. However, the sound system was really bad and we could barely hear the commentary.

A short movie on Triceratops

One of the many fossil exhibits

Hypacrosaurus Stebingeri Holotype Skull

This must be the animatronics from Kokoro in Japan

Moving beyond the Hypacrosaurus display is a huge, gigantic life-size Tyrannosaurus Rex (T-Rex), discovered by a rancher by the name of Kathy Wankel in Montana in 1988. This T-Rex is, thus, named after him. The real Wankel T-Rex is residing in the Museum of the Rockies (Montana) and I believe this T-Rex which stood before us was just a replica, albeit a very realistic one.

Full Skeleton, Wankel Tyrannosaurus Rex

Measuring 11 metres, this T-Rex is gigantic!

Real fossil of the largest T-Rex skull ever found

Enough of static displays? There are some that move as well. The T-Rex in the photo below is no ordinary display. It can interact with humans. A staff  demonstrated to us how he could interact with the T-Rex and the monster actually lowered its head to him. It was probably responding to some his hand movements or gestures. Nothing spectacular but enough to keep the kids amused. 🙂

An interactive, state-of-the art animatronics (T-Rex)

My kids were very fascinated with this moving T-Rex

The second segment features three life-sized dinosaur skeletal (Argentinosaurus, Giganotosaurus and T-rex). The Argentinosaurus is the focus in this segment. Besides being majestic, standing at 7m tall and 36m long, there is also a lengthy documentary on it. I am not sure how long is the documentary cos we didn’t finish it but I believe it’s at least 30 minutes long. Again, the problem is with the sound system. We could barely hear the commentary. Watch the documentary before you explore the dinosaur displays in this segment and you will probably appreciate them more.

Second segment of the Exhibition

The crowd watching the documentary film

The Argentinosaurus is so huge that I couldn’t capture it with my 16mm (full frame) lens

The full skeleton T-Rex

The third and final segment is an exhibition on the Ice Age where it showcases creatures that we are all so familiar with .. I mean for those who watched the movie “Ice Age”, you will recognize a lot of the exhibits . This segment is probably the most redundant and has the least value, in my opinion.

The third and final segment of the exhibition

Another view

So “Diego” the saber-toothed tiger is real ?

A macrauchenia

My all time favourite, “Manny” the mammoth

One man’s meat is another man’s poison. Is the exhibition worth the “hefty” admission charge? I think it’s worth it. But will I pay the same amount to see another dinosaur fossil exhibition again? Probably not. ◕ิ‿◕ิ

Useful Information – Titans of the Past Exhibition:

Opening Hours:

  • 10:00-18:00 daily

Exhibition Period:

  • 25 October 2013 to 23 February 2014

Admission Charges:

  • Adult – $20 or $25 (inclusive of admission into Science Centre)
  • Child – $16 or $19 (inclusive of admission into Science Centre)
  • Family (2 Adults, 2 Children) – $68 or $75 (inclusive of admission into Science Centre)

i Light Marina Bay 2012

There isn’t much you can do in Singapore. Really? Well, kind of. Singapore is a small island that lacks natural resources and attractions. We even have to import talents from overseas… At least that’s what our government thinks. Anyway, before I go out of topic (again), this entry is meant to be about i Light Marina Bay and don’t let me digress.Singapore is slowly transforming itself from a city of campaigns to a city of events. i Light Marina Bay is one such event where the theme is about energy savings. The objective is simple – to advocate environmentally-responsible behaviour for a sustainable future.As light art installations are distributed along the 3.5km Marina Bay waterfront promenade, be prepared to walk if you intend to see all of them. Despite making 2 trips to the bay, we couldn’t complete all the 25 light art installations as the installations are shutdown at 11pm.

Art Light Installation #27 – The Gate

Close your eyes, stand in front of The Gate and “feel” the hundreds of laser beams at you, it sure has an entrance effect; An entrance to enlightenment. It’s a simple and yet effective idea. 😉

The Gate – Teleportation?

The Gate – Back from the teleportation?

Art Light Installation #16 – enLIGHTenment

The kids will love this. Ask it a question and wait for the response from the enLIGHTed one … My children had so much fun asking questions and we, too, were amused by the questions and responses. Some of the questions they asked were :-

1. Does anybody have a crush on me? Response: Yes

2. Will I top my class? Response: Maybe

3. Am I a boy? Response: Perhaps

4. Will I get any presents for Christmas? Response: No

5. Am I stupid? Response: No Doubt

enLIGHTenment aka Oracle?

Question: Will I get any presents for Christmas?

Question: Does anybody have a crush on me?

Art Light Installation #15 – Key Frames

Among all the installations, this is probably the most entertaining. The creator cleverly used LED light tubes to create a display of stick men dancing with the music. This is a MUST-SEE.

Key Frames – All Lighted Up

This is a story of an olympics race

The winning moment

Art Light Installation #25 – Deck Journey

Located at the Marina Bay Sands, this installation is both practical and interesting. After a long walk, I am sure most people will appreciate these deck chairs. Lean back (on the chairs) and observe what happens. 😉

Deck Journey

Resting … A much needed one indeed. ^_^

Art Light Installation #18 – Garden of Light

Last but definitely not least is the Garden of Light. You can’t miss this gigantic 3D screen as you walk along the helix bridge. Compared to the other installations, this is much more grand but not much innovation. It’s beautiful and another MUST-SEE.

i Light Marina Bay runs from 9 March 2012 til 1 April 2012. Make this a family outing and hurry down to the bay area. You won’t regret it. Below are more photos taken at the event. I hope you enjoy them. 😉

21 – The Light Dam

26 – 5QU1D

22 – Flow

20 – BioShell

Southern Ridges – Henderson Waves

View from Mount Faber

Our original plan didn’t include a trip to Henderson Waves of the Southern Ridges actually. The weather forecast for the day was supposed to be cloudy/raining. However on that day, the weather was kind to us and hence we shortened our trip to the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple so that we have some time to visit the Henderson Waves. You can read about our mini adventure at the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple (Chinatown) here.Henderson Waves is situated at Mount Faber and parking is a big problem there; Many cars actually had to illegally park their cars by the side of the road and we, too, parked at the bus bays. It was until later that we realized there is actually a decent car park further down the road – after The Jewel Box. Regardless of where do you park, be prepared to walk a lot of uphill. For those drivers with passengers, you may want to drop off your passengers at the destination (The Jewel Box or Henderson Waves) first before parking your car.

Our first stop at Mount Faber was The Jewel Box, which is basically a cluster of restaurants, as I have always wanted to dine in The Jewel Box. I have heard so much about its nice view and ambience that I must make the trip. While the adults were sipping their cup of coffee and enjoying the scenery, the kids could amuse themselves with the feeding of the koi. 😉

The Jewel Box at Mount Faber

Looking at how much the kids enjoyed themselves with just a packet of food for the fishes reminds me of the simple joys in life…

Hungry koi fish …

When my girl was done with the feeding, we moved on to our next stop – Henderson Waves. From The Jewel Box, turn left and you will see a traffic junction after a short walk. Turn right at that junction and follow the path to reach Henderson Waves on the right.

Taking a break …

A beautiful bird was spotted in a nearby bush

Finally, we made it to the Henderson Waves

After fifteen minutes, we finally reached Henderson Waves and to my surprise, there were actually quite a lot of people having picnics at the bridge itself. It was kinda weird to have picnic on a bridge, isn’t it? Anyway, it was getting rather late and we quickly took some photographs and had to hurry back home. Below are some shots taken at the bridge.

Another angle of Henderson Wave

Just when we were about to leave that place, we saw a group of Chinese tourists doing a mass jump at the bridge. Clarissa was very amused by them as I guess she probably didn’t know why did they have to jump. But it did give her some inspiration to do some dancing. See the photographs below … 😉

A Group of Tourists

Henderson Wave is fun. I will be back!

You can read my other blog entries on The Southern Ridges here.

Southern Ridges

Map of The Southern Ridges

One could probably cannot imagine the blessing of having greenery in his living environment. Many a time, we take these simple things for granted. But for a small and populous country such as Singapore, every available flat land is used for high rise buildings. You see concrete structures everywhere and it’s really a bonus to be able to get close to Mother Nature. The Southern Ridges, in my opinion, is a wonderful project by the Singapore government to blend nature with modern structures.

The Southern Ridges is actually a 9 km nature trail stretching from Mount Faber to Kent Ridge Park. Along the way, there are numerous panoramic view points of the city, especially at Mount Faber and Henderson Waves.

Here’s a list of attractions* at Southern Ridges, from Mount Faber to Kent Ridge Park, and the links to the respective blog entries.

  • Marang Trail
    • Embark on this walk of steps and shaded footpaths that pave the way to beautiful sights and sounds of the secondary forest. Do note that the Marang Trail covers an elevation of 70 metres (or the equivalent of a 24-storey building) if you start from Marang Road. This trail may not be suitable for young children, the elderly and the less fit. Enjoy the peace and tranquility of nature as you jog or walk on this trail. Listen out for loud chirping sounds of cicadas that break the silence of the forest. At the top of the Trail is the Jewel Box. Chill out with a beer or have an ice cream as you enjoy a panoramic view of the harbour and southern islands. The Marang Trail is deliberately unlit after dark to minimize disturbance to nocturnal life in the forest. Do bring along a torch and take extra precautions if you wish to walk on this trail after dark.
    • Difficulty level: moderate to challenging
      Distance: 0.8km
      Walking time: 15 min
  • Faber Walk 
    • Faber Walk, of which many parts are sheltered, meanders through Mount Faber Park and ends at the start of Henderson Waves. The slopes of this 56-hectare park are covered by dense secondary rain forest, and are home to an amazing array of flora and fauna. The trail, which takes you on a loop around the peak of Mount Faber Hill, offers spectacular views of the southern part of Singapore and the Southern Islands. You can catch sight of passing ocean liners and cruise ships in the far distance. At night, the park is one of the more popular romantic spots on the island. Join several couples and families in enjoying breathtaking sights of the city’s twinkling lights.
    • Difficulty level: easy
      Distance: 0.8km
      Walking Time: 15 mins
  • Henderson Waves
    • Admire the beautiful skyline as you stroll across this 274 metre-long pedestrian bridge that spans Henderson Road to connect Mount Faber Park to Telok Blangah Hill Park. At 36m above Henderson Road, Henderson Waves is the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore. The bridge is also worth visiting for its artistic, distinctive wave-like structure consisting of a series of undulating curved “ribs”. These “ribs” also double up as alcoves providing shelter to the public. Joggers, couples and families with children are a common sight on Henderson Waves during weekends. The bridge has also become a popular photography location in recent months for wedding couples posing against the scenic skyline. The bridge takes on a different look at night, with the wave-form illuminated with attractive LED light from 7pm to 2am daily.
    • Distance: 0.3 km
      Difficulty level: easy
      Walking Time: 5 mins
    • Read more about it here.
  • Hilltop Walk
    • Hilltop Walk runs through Telok Blangah Hill Park. This park was once a gathering place for trading communities that thrived in the area in the early nineteenth century. Make your way to the Terrace Garden at the top of the park and stop for a moment to enjoy a stunning 360-degree view of Singapore and the decks of bougainvillea at the Garden.
    • Distance: 1km
      Walking time: 15 min
      Difficulty level:
      Hilltop Walk in Telok Blangah Hill Park (easy)
      Terrace Garden (moderate, long flights of stairs)
  • Forest Walk
    • The Forest Walk meanders through some 50 metres through the secondary forest of Telok Blangah Hill and connects to Alexandra Arch. There are two trails on the Forest Walk (just cross over from Carpark 3 to get on either trail) – the Elevated Walkway and the Earth trail. The Elevated Walkway, accessed by the metal bridge, offers you the experience of walking through the secondary forest of Telok Blangah Hill at eye-level with the forest canopy. This is an excellent platform for spotting birds, dragonflies and butterflies. If you prefer a more rugged experience and hanker after a closer experience with wildlife in the area, embark on the Earth Trail. Steps have been built at some parts of the trail in view of the steep terrain. The dense secondary forest found here, the Adinandra Belukar, is home to Singapore’s rich biodiversity.
    • Distance: 1.3km
      Difficulty level: easy (Elevated walkway), moderate (Earth trail)
      Walking time: 20 min
  • Alexandra Arch
    • Conceptualised as a “Gateway to Nature”, Alexandra Arch links Hilltop Walk and Forest Walk. Walk on this 80m long bridge and admire its unique architecture – it looks like an opened leaf across Alexandra Road, with its curved deck intersecting an arch that is tilted at a 70-degree angle. Alexandra Arch is lit up by LED lights at night. The lights change colour at intervals from 7pm to 12am daily, displaying varying shades from the colour spectrum of dusk.
    • Distance: 0.08km
      Difficulty level: easy
      Walking time: 2 min
  • Floral Walk and HortPark
    • At the base of the bridge at Alexandra Arch lies Floral Walk, a hot spot for floral diversity with more than 100 species of flowering shrubs and trees. Beautiful scented flowers, trumpet-shaped flowers with crimson petals, stunning pink flowering clusters – these are some of the interesting blooms you can see here at Floral Walk. Stop here to take a few picturesque shots of flowering plants. This short trail forms the gateway to HortPark – The Gardening Hub, Southeast Asia’s first one-stop centre for gardening-related activities in a park setting. HortPark connects to Kent Ridge Park via the Canopy Walk.
    • Distance: 0.3km
      Difficulty level: easy
      Walking time: 5 min
  • Canopy Walk
    • The Canopy Walk at Kent Ridge Park offers you the experience of walking through a secondary forest at eye-level with the forest canopy. This is a 280-metre long boardwalk that links Kent Ridge Park to the museum “Reflections of Bukit Chandu”. Breathe in the fresh air and enjoy panoramic views on the Walk. Listen out for the sounds of birds and insects that break the silence of the park. Incidentally, Kent Ridge Park has the highest number and species of dragonflies recorded compared to other parks.
    • Distance: 0.3km
      Walking time: 5 min
      Difficulty level: easy

* Source : http://www.nparks.gov.sg/

Singapore Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

Bell in the temple

Each time when I have the chance to spend some private moments with my girl, I will always try to bring her to a little excursion. We had been to the MacRitchie Reservoir and Changi village previously and we always enjoy each other’s company.

Last Sunday, I was tasked to take care of my little darling again so that her mommy could run some errands for a couple of hours. Of course, I jumped at the opportunity to spend some quality time with her again. So I asked her, “Where shall we go?” and she said she would like to go to a place where she could do some photography. I was pleasantly surprised by her reply as I liked the idea too. Since the weather forecast was cloudy/raining, I thought somewhere indoor might be a better idea. After some research, I found just the ideal place  – The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple at Chinatown. 😉

The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum opens daily from 7am to 7pm, including public holidays. Since this is a sacred place where the tooth relic of the Buddha is stored, all visitors should adhere to the dress code – basically anything that is “indecent” or “disrespectful” such as mini skirt, shorts, bare-back, etc are not allowed. Photography, on the other hand, is generally allowed in the temple, except for level 4 where the relic is kept.

My original intention was to bring her around the Chinatown area and end the day at the temple. However, she didn’t seem too interested in the shops and hence I thought maybe we could go to another place after the temple. As the weather then turned out fine, I asked her if she was keen for a little hike. She gave a very energetic and positive response and thus we made some changes to our plan. We spent about one hour in the temple before leaving for Mount Faber, where we did some hiking. If not for the change in plan, we would probably have spent a few more hours at the temple’s Exhibition Hall and Museum at level two and three respectively.

Daily Chanting

This is where the sacred Buddha Tooth Relic is kept. No photography beyond this point is allowed.

When you do visit the temple, don’t forget to go up to level 5 (sky garden) to check out the Vairocana Buddha Prayer Wheel. The wheel is the largest cloisonné Buddha Prayer Wheel in the world. Cylindrical in shape, it is a religious artefact commonly used by Chinese Buddhists. The rim is embossed with esoteric Vairocana Mantra and a piece of the scripture is placed inside. Every turn of the wheel represents a single recital of the scripture and mantra.

After an hour or so, we left the temple and headed for our next destination – Mount Faber / Henderson Wave Bridge.