Dolphin, bird and reptile spotting on St John’s Island
Looking for fun weekend plans with the kids? How about a quick trip to the nearby island of St John’s? Pack your suncream, waterbottles, and a picnic along with a sense of adventure (and binoculars) and off you go! You could just go for the empty beach chill out (be warned there’s not much shade), or download the DIY trail e-guide from NParks and get your little adventurers on a nature hunt to seek out dolphins, reptiles and migratory birds!
Getting to St John’s Island
The boat trip out to St John’s Island is a great experience in itself for kids and you might spot some pink dolphins on your way (located in the waters between Singapore and Batam, St John’s Island is one of the sites where they are more frequently spotted in Singapore). Ferries leave from Marina South Pier twice on weekdays and up to five times on weekends and public holidays. To reach Big Sister’s Island, visitors can charter a boat from Marina South Pier or West Coast Pier.
Read more about a day trip to Lazarus Island Singapore here.
E-Guide to St John’s Island
This curated trail on St John’s Island was developed late in 2017 to encourage appreciation for the rich biodiversity and history of St John’s Island and Sisters’ Islands Marine Park. The 2.8km St John’s Island Trail is said to tale between 1 and 1.5 hours to complete and comprises 15 stations with signboards to mark out each station and explain a bit about the diversity of flora and fauna as well as the island’s colourful history. There are etching activities along the trail for children to etch and collect different designs of biodiversity as they explore the island. It’s a fun, arty way of exploring nature, and these etchings make a great keepsake after your trip!
Look out for:
Pink dolphins, birds, reptiles and amphibians as they are found in the habitats near the stations along the e-guided trail. At Station 5 (Birds) located near a bridge, raptors are commonly spotted circling above. From September to March you may find Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher and Grey Nightjar — migratory birds that only during winter months.
Reptiles and amphibians like monitor lizards and frogs are often found in the shaded, undergrowth area where Station 6 (Reptiles and Amphibians) is located.
Other Nature Exhibits
The Sisters’ Islands Marine Park Public Gallery on St John’s Island has some new exhibits that kids may find interesting. There’s an immersive 3D virtual reality dive experience along the coral reefs at the Sisters’ Islands Marine Park. They can also observe life between the tides through a mangrove mesocosm, one of the first of its kind in the region, where mangroves are planted under controlled conditions to mirror the natural environment as closely as possible.
As well as a small aquarium there’s also a viewing pool that’s sure to please little explorers; here visitors can study sea anemones, sea cucumbers, feather stars and other intertidal organisms up close. There is also an interactive station for children to match the pictures of marine biodiversity to their names.
After a whole day out in the great outdoors your kids will be buzzing with all the wonderful info they’ve learnt about nature. A quick boat ride back to the mainland and then a long night’s sleep is almost guaranteed (with any luck!) for your little adventurers!
Read More: Pulau Ubin Day Trip with the Family