As a reward for doing well in her ballet examinations, my daughter recently asked to go to Dolphin Island at Resorts World Sentosa for the Dolphin Discovery programme. Initially I was a little conflicted by her request as there has been a lot of controversy in Singapore regarding the dolphins and their capture from the wild. But while I’m no animal activist, I did not want to be a contributing factor to the plight of the dolphins. I explained how I feel about the situation to my daughter but ultimately left the final decision to her. After much discussion, I could tell she was still keen to go, and not wanting to impose my personal guilt on her, we went.
The Dolphin Discovery package includes an entrance ticket to Adventure Cove and a set meal from the The Bay Restaurant. We arrived a little earlier than our session time so that we could go into the water park to enjoy some of the rides. Unfortunately it was packed on the day we went and we ended up spending almost an hour queuing for one attraction, leaving us with little time for anything else (Sassy Mama Tip: if you want to enjoy the waterpark without the stress make sure you get their as early as you can – we’d say 10am — so that you can avoid the crowds!).
I had signed up for the 5pm Dolphin Discovery programme to avoid the hotter parts of the day and found the weather was perfect at that hour. Before entering the Dolphin Island area, we had to leave ALL our belongings in the lockers provided – valuables included. The first thing we did when we entered was to go through a compulsory briefing session, where the staff explained what we should and should not do, played a short video about the dolphins and had us change into their wetsuits. The participants were then split into groups of five or six people and a marine mammal trainer was assigned to each group. And that was when the fun really began…
We were taken to a section of the pool and introduced to our dolphin, Shin Yeh. For a start, we were lined up in a row and he swam really close to us, allowing us to touch him with the palms of our hands. The very first moments of that experience was quite precious. To have a dolphin swim next to us, allowing us to touch him was something unique. We were told to give him gentle strokes just using our palms. The trainer then proceeded to explain the anatomy of the dolphin to us. He showed us how they breathe, how they are distinguished by their dorsal fin and what kind of sounds are produced by the dolphins. On that day, Shin Yeh also decided to showed us how he “went to the loo” even though it was not supposed to be part of the programme! The children in our group were absolutely thrilled to be in such close proximity to the dolphin. They were eagerly asking questions and waiting patiently for their chance to get individual time with Shin Yeh.
The most exciting part of the programme for my little girl was, of course, playing with the dolphin. For her it was fascinating being so close to Shin Yeh – she even play ball with him! They danced together and splashed water at each other. The cherry on top of the cake for her was being able to hug and even kiss him! We were given ample time to interact with Shin Yeh, never once did we feel rushed to complete an action or activity. In fact, we were always cautious not to make any grand gestures as we didn’t want to confuse the dolphins, as their trainers interact with them using hand signals. And at the end of it all, my daughter had a great time.
Sassy Mama Mega Disclaimer: Please note that we are not being paid to write this article, but are sharing our experiences of the Dolphin Discovery programme.While we realise this is a senstive topic in Singapore, we understand that some mamas may still have concerns. The trainers at Resorts World Sentosa are more than happy to answer any questions or queries about the welfare of the dolphins they care for.
The Dolphin Discovery programme cost $198 for adults and $188 for children (4-12 years).
8 Sentosa Gateway, Sentosa Island, Singapore 098269
Tel: (+65) 6577 8888
Open: 10am to 6pm daily