Maritime Experiential Museum & Aquarium

Museum Entrance

Addendum

March 2012: This Museum is no longer known as Maritime Experiential Museum and Aquarium (MEMA), and has been rebranded as The Maritime Experiential Museum. The Aquarium aspect of this attraction appears to be removed from all marketing materials, possibly to strengthen the adjacent Marine Life Park.


Set sail on a journey back in time and discover Asia’s maritime history at Resorts World Sentosa’s latest attraction – the Maritime Experiential Museum & Aquarium (MEMA).

The Museum is at the waterfront section of RWS. It is within a gigantic, inverted ship hull – which some of my friends commented that it looks like some worm (?). From afar it does not exactly look intriguing, but the Museum seems to have quite a bit of promise, especially when it was designed by Ralph Appelbaum Associates (the best people in Museum design!) AND… the actual Jewel of Muscat from Oman is there!

Thanks to RWS – I attended a preview this morning, and what else can I do? Do a trip report and share lots of photos!

Bao Chuan Show


Bao Zhuan

Our tour started off with a welcome address by Jason Horkin (Director of Attractions – West Zone), who gave us a warm introduction to MEMA. He then directed our attention to the first thing guests would see upon entering the Museum – this Gigantic Bao Chuan (Treasure Vessel) which has an imposing Pi Xiu head and a screen embedded beneath it. A short movie here will narrate the exciting explorations of Admiral Zheng He and the development of maritime trade, setting the tone for the next few sections of the Museum.

The Pi Xiu head is actually an animatronic (well, sort of) which would move out of the ship and shift around – It’s a little scary, actually.

Bao Zhuan Show

Tour Hosts
Geargina, our Tour Guide and Matthew, the Game Master!

Tour Guests!

As it was sort of a special preview day, the RWS/MEMA team made the session special by introducing some quizzes throughout the tour. It was just silly at some points and all teams ended up guessing – we all had a good laugh! And it was also nice to see some familiar faces from last year’s tour!

Souk (Market) Gallery

Souk Gallery

The Souk Gallery is a recreation of the port markets found along the Maritime Silk Route, namely: Quanzhou, Qui Nhon, Palembang, Malacca, Galle, Calicut, Muscat and Malindi. There are a lot of items on display, out in the open, so guests can see items up close or feel them. The entire gallery is just full of details, including a lot of dangling goods unique to each region. There are also many interactive exhibits (and these are really, the latest sort with Cameras, Multi-touch panels, QR-Codes and all that) which makes the Souk a lively corridor for anyone to feel immersed and enjoy learning about maritime trade in the past.


Souk Gallery

Vases

Silk

Souk (Qui Nhon)

Souk (Palembang)

Dancers

Souk (Malacca)

Traders' Goods

Precious Gems

Camphor

Interactive Curry
Interactive Exhibit about Curry!

Scented Artifacts
A box of spices (yes, with real scents!)

Baskets

Carved Gourds (Malindi)

Historic Ship Harbour

Five full-sized replica ships will have the MEMA as their port of call and dock at the outdoor harbour. The Museum already has two of them here. Guests will be able to view them from the Harbour (but not board them and sail away, please go to Harbourfront and book a cruise instead.)

Historic Ship Harbour

Jewel of Muscat (Omani Dhow)

A gift from the government of Oman, the Jewel went on a 5 month journey before arriving in Singapore in July 2010. It is beautifully constructed without any pegs or nails – using only methods from the 9th century. This sounds like the Hermès of ships already. Amazingly, the crew sailed to Singapore using traditional navigational equipment!


Jewel of Muscat

Jewel of Muscat

Jewel of Muscat

It is very difficult to take photos of the Jewel because of its location (sandwiched between the Bao Chuan and Typhoon Theatre without a good place to view the side completely). However, if you proceed to the Typhoon Theatre, the pre-show area gives a good close-up look to its starboard (right) side.

Typhoon Theatre

Over here, guests will be immersed in a circular theatre, with all-around projections and impressive use of sound, fog and lighting effects. This attraction simulates the “storm of the century” effects of a ship sailing into a typhoon. This is a proper presentation, with pre-show, a narrative and everything – not those typical (sometimes irrelevant) shows you find in museums. When I say “storm of the century”, I mean that this is similar to “Lights, Camera, Action!” in Universal Studios Singapore in what the attraction is – a simulation. Don’t worry, there will not be fire, sudden drops or things getting blown up in the Typhoon Theatre.


Typhoon Theatre

Typhoon Theatre
For those who have motion sickness or uncomfortable with sudden movement and elevation changes, please take note!

Typhoon Theatre (Preshow)

Typhoon Theatre (Preshow)
Pre-show Segment

Typhoon Theatre (Inside)
Inside the Theatre, waiting for the show to start (No photos/videos are allowed during the show)

Aquarium (Coming Soon)
After the show, there is this nice “underwater” chamber which leads to the Aquarium (opening in 2012).

If you want to know what actually happens.. The “theatre” is actually a tall cylinder-like chamber, and the seats are actually resting on a rotating disk which turns (slowly) and descends. In the beginning, the seats are located the top end of the cylinder (and descends all the way to the bottom). The projection adjusts its height to fit the “taller” screen space as the show progresses. There are no lap-bars or any form of restraints – there are just a few rows of benches. The “Typhoon” effect is a gentle mix of strobe lighting, wind and water (to simulate rain, but it doesn’t even feel like a light drizzle). Towards the end, the whole theatre has a nice amount of mist to fit with the effect of the ship sinking into the ocean floor.

For those who have been The Haunted Mansion (at Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland and Walt Disney World) and Phantom Manor (Disneyland Paris), the Typhoon Theatre has the same “descending/stretching” effect and purpose like the Stretching Room. It works as an elevator to bring guests from the top level to the bottom (and nicely changes the ambiance for the aquarium).

This show is an upcharge attraction (prices available at the end of this post) but it is worth experiencing, at least once! After the show ends, guests will proceed to the Aquarium. From what I have observed, the Aquarium in MEMA is also an upcharge attraction and should be bundled with the Typhoon Theatre admission. This is Aquarium is NOT part of the Marine Life Park. This aspect of the attraction appears to be removed. See addendum at the top of this entry.

Maritime Archaeology Gallery

After the Typhoon experience (and in the future, the Aquarium), the next section will be the Archaeology Gallery. I didn’t take any photos here because of the glass, but for those who have been to the “Shipwrecked” exhibition at ArtScience Museum (Marina Bay Sands), it is quite similar. This gallery is located next to the Museum Shops and F&B areas. Strangely, there is a Garrett’s Popcorn store here.

Curator and her artifacts

We had a special table set up at the end of our tour – A curator presented a few artifacts salvaged from Thailand and discussed about them. She also explained the laborious process of restoring artifacts (need to find the exact compound to patch up the cracks and missing pieces, etc.)

Thoughts about MEMA

While I do not expect anyone to stay at this Museum for hours, MEMA does offer an educational and eye-opening experience in maritime history. It should take about 0.5~1.5 hours to walk through and interact with the exhibits. I appreciate the level of detail and amount of up-to-date technology here. My only complaint is that the Bao Chuan show does not seem to match the rest of the museum in terms of technical quality (The 3D animation looks dated). Apart from what has already been showcased today, the Museum will be able to offer more when the Aquarium opens in 2012, if it is still there.

I was quite surprised at the admission charges – around the same as other Museums in Singapore (except ArtScience) which should be encouraging for families and large groups. It is also convenient for those who need to take the heat off a sunny day at Universal Studios (or from the Sentosa beaches) – the Museum, despite its expansiveness, is very well air-conditioned and is a comfortable place to relax in.

And before I forget – Many thanks to the RWS Communications Team and MEMA Team for organising this event and hosting us today. :)

Muscat Windows


Maritime Experiential Museum & Aquarium

Resorts World at Sentosa
(next to Crane Dance Viewing Gallery)

The Maritime Experiential Museum & Aquarium will be open to public from 15th October 2011.

General Admission (Exclude admission to Typhoon Theatre)
Adult – $5
Child (4 yrs old to 12 yrs old) – $2
Senior Citizen (65 yrs old & above) – $3

Typhoon Theatre Show
Adult – $6
Child (4 yrs old to 12 yrs old) – $4
Senior Citizen (65 yrs old & above) – $3

OPENING HOURS
Museum

Mondays to Thursdays:
10am – 7pm

Fridays to Sundays & Public Holidays:
10am – 9pm

Typhoon Theatre
Mondays to Thursdays:
10am – 6pm

Fridays to Sundays & Public Holidays:
10am – 8pm

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7 Responses to Maritime Experiential Museum & Aquarium

  1. ilyana October 9, 2011 at 10:50 am #

    omg wtf so cheap ah? Honestly I was expecting the admission prices to be $20 and up from the amount of thought they put into the museum + ride o_O MUST GO IN DEC OK THANKS.

    • Dejiki October 9, 2011 at 11:05 am #

      Yeah, the admission charges are definitely encouraging, though they need to bear in mind that everyone needs to pay $2 to enter Sentosa (frankly they should just remove that charge). Seems like you are going to have an exciting time when you return to Singapore!

  2. Bill Tan December 5, 2011 at 6:04 pm #

    If I decide to lead a group of 40 Snr. Citizens (age range 60 – 65+) can a conducted tour be conducted. What will the duration of tour be with or without a conducted tour?

    The visit will most probably be next year, after school re-opens in January/February and during off-peak season.

    Also can a flat rate of $3.00 per pax be given. What about the $2.00 Entrance Fee to Sentosa?

    Thank you.

    • Dejiki December 5, 2011 at 6:53 pm #

      Hi Bill,

      It is best to forward your questions about guided tours to enquiries@rwsentosa.com. The admission fee is $3 for senior citizens. However, since you are bringing a large group, there is opportunity for a group rate. Once again, please contact RWS directly about the Museum.

      As for the $2.00 entrance fee to Sentosa, I believe you are referring to the cost of entering RWS via public buses such as RWS8. This fee is imposed by Sentosa Leisure Group (and not RWS) – alternatives include taking the Sentosa Express ($3) or walk in via the Sentosa Broadwalk ($1) which is not feasible for your guests. I would recommend, if it is possible, that you charter a coach instead for the convenience of your guests – a flat rate is charged (by vehicle) entering the resort.

  3. Shirley April 19, 2013 at 1:54 pm #

    Hi,

    I have some free Maritime Experiential Museum tickets the last time I bought the USS tickets.

    Do these tickets cover the following, if no, what is the additional entrance fees t pay ?

    Aquarium
    Bao Chuan Show
    Souk (Market) Gallery
    Historic Ship Harbour

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