I had never heard of the Singapore Maritime Gallery until a friend suggested going this Sunday and it’s a real hidden gem.
So where is it and how do you get there?
It is on the second floor of the Marina South Pier, so it is remote, but was remarkably easy to get to. Get the MRT to Marina Bay, exit A and get on the 402 bus.
When we got there the Pier was packed, what we didn’t realise was that it was Kusu pilgrimage time. I don’t know much/anything about the Kusu pilgrimage but a quick google search lets me know that it’s from the 5th of Oct to the 2nd of Nov this year if you want to avoid the crowds.
What about the place it’s self?
It’s not signposted well so once you are there just head up to the second floor. Even though downstairs was packed, we were the only people in the museum which was great. So it’s personnel greeting as you walk in, video put on specifically for us but thankfully they left us to enjoy the place and didn’t follow us around or anything.
The beginning is a quick video on a big wraparound screen gives you an overview about Singapore as a maritime nation. Covering the port with all the containers coming through and all the ancillary jobs it creates in the city.
The Sea in Our Lives
The first section has this wonderful interactive screen where you can pick up things and put them on the screen. As you twist the item it tells you why it’s important to Singapore and about shipping it there. So you can pick up a toy or food or medicine and get to know about it, how it gets here, etc….
The walls and ceiling make a map of the world and the main shipping lanes. So you can sail from Singapore across the ceiling to Europe! No picture I’m afraid as I couldn’t do it justice.
A Cruise Through History
Is a timeline of maritime stuff in Singapore, also putting in the odd airport milestone. Obviously not the most interesting for the kids but fun for the adults to see what happened when they on the year they were born or got married or what ever.
Singapore as a Major Hub Port
You walk through a 20ft container to the next section and inside shows you the different types, something that I hadn’t given much thought to before. But apparently there are ones designed for clothes or top opening or side opening or refrigeration.
The real gem of the next bit is that you get to move ships up and down the port. At each stop there are different games to play at your control station (computer touch screen). Our kids weren’t quite old enough to really understand the games but still loved moving the ships.
Engineering Our Industry
I’m sure that there could have been something interesting in this bit but not really for the kids. They had a quick look at the model boats and oil rigs but then rushed onto the next section.
VTIS or Aircraft Control for Ships
The kids loved these next couple of sections, there a big screens with stuff going on and buttons that make things happen! The first room was a replica of the control room for all the ships out at sea. You can change the views and put the radio on. I guess it had cool details like how many ships they can track and things but didn’t have time to notice things like that.
Ship Bridge Simulator
This was even better, you get to sail different types of ships and you are supposed to follow the arrows to a set destination. Unfortunately I didn’t get to find out what happens if you deliberately crash into a cargo ship. I had to rush off after one of the little ones and my wife told me later that she saved the day!
Again there are buttons for whistle and bells and things, so great fun for all ages.
Sailing into Tomorrow
Another section where you can move ships up and down the harbour, both here and earlier they had Ikea steps so that the kids can reach the controls. There lots of model ships through out and the ones here funnily enough being modern versions, such as the ground effect flying ship that is apparently registered here. It also includes info on why to register your ship in Singapore but as I’m not a shipping magnate I didn’t pay too much attention but the flag has a smiley face.
International Maritime Community
Lots of info on piracy and stuff plus a big pair of binoculars to look out at the ships. That’s it move on.
All Hands on Deck
This is the most boring bit and covering all the office jobs such as legal stuff but it did lead to a corridor of great t-shirts from a couple of competitions they have obviously run.
Fun at Sea
This is great at the end, just as the kids have had enough there is a playroom! Obviously with only 3 kids there was loads of room, the youngest spent most of her time kicking around virtual sea creatures projected onto the floor.
There was a lego wall where you could stick pieces to, a touch screen computer game where you could take sea creatures or ship shapes and colour them and an other where it superimposed uniforms over a camera image of you. Also good old-fashioned table and chairs with crayons but I did have to go back to the desk at the entrance to get paper.
There is a playground on the roof but it doesn’t have any shade and it is quite basic with just a climbing frame/slide combo and 4 bouncy sea creatures. Kids enjoyed it but then they enjoy all playgrounds the first time.
Any pro tips?
A) The toilets are badly signed right by the exit.
B) Whilst there is supposed to be a floating restaurant there it was closed and so plan to leave with enough time to get somewhere else for lunch or dinner.
So hit of miss?
Definite hit, everything is well done and helps that it’s still fairly new. Also with no crowds the kids get to spend as much or little time as they like on each thing. Just next time we’ll get away earlier for food.
Marina South Pier
31 Marina Coastal Drive
Tel – +65 6325 5707
Web – http://maritimegallery.sg