Monday, August 12, 2013

Megabugs Return & Water Works @ Singapore Science Centre

The girls had such rave reviews when they returned from a school organised trip to the 'Megabugs Return' at the Singapore Science Centre that they were more than eager to "bring us there" and be our tour guides. Apparently, the original exhibition was held about 20 years ago! Considering that Mummy and Daddy hadn't been to the Singapore Science Centre in a while, the girls were ecstatic when we told them that we'd be happy to go with them again. After all, the trip would be educational, and there was a water-themed playground there to try out.

A life-sized dino display at the entrance of the Science Centre.

We arrived after lunch on a Sunday afternoon and quickly proceeded to the ticketing counter. Admission fees for both the Science Centre and Megabugs exhibition was $20 per adult and $15 per child. However, there was an on-going promotion where a child goes free with every 2 paying adults. It sure helped with the cost and we welcomed it. In addition, each admission ticket to the Mega Bugs exhibition entitles you to one voucher for a free ice lemon tea at E18hteenchefs outlets.To save on snacks, Daddy had prepared sandwiches with either sardines, tuna or cheese. These proved popular and nothing was left by the end of the day.

Getting our tickets!
Promotion rates between 13 July and 18 August.

Drink vouchers with every admission

Before beginning our exploration, we stopped by the lockers to dump some baggage excess we brought along. To get to the Mega Bugs exhibition hall, we had a short exploratory stroll past some of the passage way exhibits. Many of these appeared to feature optical illusions. Right outside the exhibition hallway to Mega Bugs was an interesting temporary exhibit on heat energy, covering interesting topics such as uses of fire, light and explosions. Right around the corner was the Coffee Hive, which appeared to be well patronized as it was a crowded weekend lunchtime. The food looked good too, with various combinations of meats, rice and fries being very popular among the crowd.

The centre-piece in the entrance hall was a complicated kinematics display.

Storage lockers were available for rent and can be activated by inserting $1 or 50 cent coins, depending on the size.

This display did a good job catching the attention of young children. It combines a mock-up canon with a video screen, and  the success of the mission depends on how well the kids load up the canon.

The Coffee Hive cafe outside the exhibition hall.

K. explores some of the information panels.

A simple hydroponics display that seemed a bit out of place between the cafe and the exhibition hall.
Nonetheless, it serves as a good talking point for young children.

The exhibition hall is designed such that there is a designated route winding through a dark, dimly lit setting. The giant garden and vegetation set-ups made me feel like a character from the movie 'Honey I Shrunk the Kids!'. Every corner had giant mechanized bugs that moved their heads or feelers, and there were were some tunnels for visitors to explore. A couple of activity corners were situated in the hall. Some involved art and crafts, aquariums holding living specimens, but the most popular one was an opportunity to have the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach crawl on your hand. We spent quite a bit of time at this one as it took that long for the girls to go from fearful to 'Daddy can you hold my hand while I let the cockroach crawl on it for a short while?' Well, only the older girl that is. The younger one got protective of her older sister and tried to stop her, but after showing them that it was harmless despite its gaudy appearance, A. was game to try.

(Apologies for the poor quality of the photographs. It was difficult  impossible to take good shots in the poor lighting using my mobile phone)

Giant insects outside the exhibition entrance.

A dimly lit maze of passages and giant mock up bugs welcomes you! Mind your step!

Walk right into the spider's liar!

The 'Stick Feet' booth allows the kids to feel what its like to crawl like an insect!

Is this a bug?

Even this giant can of insect repellent is no match for the giant mosquito.

Giant fungi?

Scorpion on the left!

Rhino beetle!

There were stand alone booths offering art and craft activities...

Didn't mummy ever teach you not to draw in the dark?

Watch your back sir! 

Information panels that light up at the touch of the buttons!

Giant centipede!

Dung beetles with their giant ball of poop... this one didn't smell too bad though.

At a corner were a row of aquariums with living specimens.

Checking out a stick insect. Can you spot it?

Kids intrigued by colonies of living cockroaches!

Another craft corner for the kids.

The highlight of the day: getting to handle the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach. These animals aren't anywhere nearly as disgusting as the trash dwelling critters we find in rubbish chutes. They're actually rather tame.

They feel smooth!

We did take a break from the Mega Bugs exhibition for a while to catch the 'Fire Tornado' demonstration outside the exhibition hall. Good thing re-entries were allowed. The demonstration proved to ignite the senses, the girls were intrigued by the giant pillar of fire. We still didn't really understand the science behind it except that vaporized kerosene was passed through a channel of fast moving air, but it was an impressive sight. The demonstration turned up the temperatures so that A. had to remove her jacket and began to perspire.

The crowd is awed by the power and energy of the pillar of fire.

A 3D film entitled 'Bugs' was screened in conjunction with the exhibition, and the girls had a chance to watch it the last time they were here. Due to time constraints (and tired parents), we decided to give it a miss. After spending a couple of hours at the exhibition hall, a little longer than we had planned, we realised that we might not have time to explore as much of the Science Centre as we initially planned. The Omni-Theatre was under renovation, but there were many other displays such as the Marine Cove that would've been fun to check out. The girls however had been looking forward to the Water Works playground and based on our budget for time, we would have to end our day there. We took a little bit of time to figure out where the entrance to the play area was, which allowed us to glance over some of the other displays. After gobbling down a few more sandwiches and a quick change, the girls were off to get wet and have some watery fun! Being a long weekend, there was no shortage of playmates as there were many other children there. Parents and guardians littered the border of the playground, many settling for seats on the ledge or stairs as most of the benches were already occupied.

Rules and regulations

Panoramic view of the play area

Fountains everywhere!

Navigating the watery maze. 

Dropping plastic balls into the 'vortex' and watching them spin round and round.

The Sunday crowd.

It was nice to see K. up and about, enjoying herself, trying to get into the action with the other kids. Being the more timid of the two, she usually either plays on her own or sticks to mummy and daddy. Today we enjoyed a different side of her, and we could see that she would genuinely enjoying herself, being adventurous and more sociable.

We left shortly after the play as dinner time was approaching and the girls were getting tired. By the end of the cab ride home, all four of us were in dreamland. It was a tiring, but enjoyable day out together.

The Megabugs Return exhibition may be over, and chances are that by the time this review is written, you'd have missed your chance to catch it. However, you never know... the Megabugs might just... return!

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