Why visit the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum for the second time? Well, I can think of at least three reasons: First: It is Grace birthday and a birthday with dinosaurs (and I don’t mean us — her parents) is always epic. Second: the tickets were at 50% off and thirdly, the tickets were at 50% off!
Ok, granted, you only get to spend half the time you would normally spend there, a mere paltry 3 hours, because, as part of the safe distancing measures, number of visitors were limited and we were only allocated 3 hours in total to explore. However it wasn’t a huge museum and as it was also our second visit, it was ample time.
Time’s ticking away! We walked in as soon as the clock struck 1pm, but not before we grabbed some freebies at the ticketing counter. 50% Off AND freebies? It sounds like it is someone’s birthday!
(Grace received an activity book and a small bottle of Hand Sanitizer. Sweet!)
As we walked in, we were greeted with a beautiful full-length glass panel display of some local flora and fauna, as if it is a wrapping paper hiding the gift inside. We were so eager to walk around it to rediscover again what LKCNHM had to offer.
When we went in, we quickly came face-to-face with a huge flower.
Grace was like “No waaaaay this is a real thing.” I told her very certainly that there’s a huge flower like this in real life. This is the Amorphophallus titanum, more commonly known as the Titan Arum but I always refer to it as the “Next-biggest-flower-that-we-can’t-remember-because-Rafflesia.”
Thankfully this is only a sculpture and does not smell like the real thing. Whew. That is not why we were required to wear masks.
Sad mood music please…
This is a cross-section of Singapore’s last Changi Tree. Thought to be extinct, every time I come here, I take a few moments to reflect on the fragility of the balance of nature and also to silently swear at the sonnofab%#%+ that felled this tree illegally months after it was discovered.
Happily, we move on to something else that died but had nothing to do with humans.
What is a natural history museum without these epic creatures? Not native to Singapore (probably), they are merely here for the super cool factor.
Other than taking dino-mite selfies, fun things to do also includes humming the Jurassic theme song really loudly and all the other visitors would be so annoyed that they will keep their social distancing.
My daughter took these photos because she told me that I apparently have prehistoric photo-taking skills.
“Mom, look you can attach this lens and get a fish-eye effect ok?”
They grow up too fast.
Honestly, I really do find these creatures amazing but time is short, and there are also other very interesting exhibits in store at LKCNHM too so our self tour continues with a little over 2 hours to spare.
There are 2000 specimens in LKCNHM and we were determined to absorb every one. That’s 5.8 seconds for each exhibit if anyone is keeping time. For instance, we spent a good 20 minutes on this lit display, ogling at everything, especially at the dissected turtle. Yep.
Sorry, no close-ups of dissection turtle innards. You will have to go to see it for yourself.
Throughout the day, especially when Grace thinks things are getting too quiet, she will let out a loud “Eeeee, mom!” and ask me to look at something really gross and also remind me that she has a fear of literally everything.
Giant Clam? “Scary.”
Frogs and worms. “Eww no!”
(Fun fact! The “worms” are actually caecilians, which is a type of amphibian and they actually eat worms. A literal case of “You are what you eat”.)
Starfish and sand dollars? “No thanks!”
Reptiles? “Mom, you know I hate snakes and lizards right?”
Fungi? “Eww… oh wait, these are mushrooms? Yeah they’re ok I guess. I can eat them.”
Which reminds me, did you hear about the joke about the fungi because I need someone like him around like right now because I’m starting to think that dead and preserved things aren’t at all a very good experience for a birthday person.
This archaeopteryx looks like he could be a fun-guy with a solid sense of humor. Solid, haha, get it?
This crab would do so well at social distancing.
From the common exhibits, we moved on to some highlights of the museum.
Singapore Sperm Whale
Once upon a time in 2015, a ship ran over a sperm whale, killed it and it washed up on our beach. It was probably the largest animal ever to land on our shores (Insert fat mama jokes) and our scientists promptly dissected it. The masterpiece is now proudly on display at the LKCNHM and is a rather recent natural history for all to see.
While it was a fascinating find, I was most shocked and disturbed to see that they found plastics in the gut of the whale. Plastic pollution is quite real and disgusting.
Interestingly, do you know there are canned whale meat? People do eat everything and sometimes to extinction.
The dodo bird is a really good example. There is a replica of it in the museum but I didn’t take a photo. Hmmmpff.
Other Furry Things
This ain’t the zoo! All the mammals here are very dead and have cotton stuffed into their eye sockets and have an eerie feel to them.
Finally after 2 and a half hours, we were done… with the first floor!
This leatherback is considered a treasure of Singapore as it was and still is the only leatherback turtle who decided to swim to our little island in 1883. No other records of leatherbacks have been seen since. He probably knew he could go down in history and make a splash, and he did!
I once saw a real wild Giant Hornbill like this on the island of Langkawi, I hope this isn’t it.
I find that stuffed birds actually look most like the real thing, thus this is proof that they are the creatures of evil.
Neptune’s Cup Sponge
Thought to be extinct, the Neptune’s Cup sponge was eventually rediscovered in 2011 in our waters. It goes to show Neptune hasn’t given up drinking after all.
The Most Excellent Beef
I find that this was the strangest exhibit in the whole museum. It was of a section of Dugong flesh and an account of Sir Stamford Raffles describing the dugong meat he just ate.
After that weird tidbit, we decided it was time to get some dinner and end our museum trip. We managed to finish it in 3 hours and Grace was rather happy at the end of it.