In this second installment, we will continue on our Open Ocean journey and come face to face with the world’s largest acrylic viewing panel.
Where: The mammoth water tank in front of the terraced steps.
Must-see: The World’s Largest Viewing Panel.
Bonus: Try catching our manta rays executing somersaults.
Marine animals: Manta ray, zebra shark, Queensland grouper and guitarfish.
And finally here we are, at the centrepiece of the aquarium – the magnificent Open Ocean habitat, seen through the world’s largest viewing panel. Step into the Ocean Gallery to experience the feeling of standing on a cavernous ocean floor.
Accredited by the Guinness World Records™, the panel at the Open Ocean habitat measures 36 metres wide by 8.3 metres tall. This is equivalent to two rows of three double-decker buses stacked atop one another! The panel is also 700 millimetres thick and weighs more than 250,000 kg – a fitting ornament to the world’s largest aquarium. Oh , do you know that you can also join our marine animals and have a completely immersive experience by diving inside our Open Ocean Habitat?
One animal that you will definitely get to see are our magnificent manta rays, one of the world’s largest ray species. Gliding through the water like a big, black blanket and with schools of fishes in tow, the manta ray exudes an air of authority with its sheer size.
While still in the Ocean Gallery, do remember to lower your gaze and you will surely see a guitarfish, a beautiful creature, with features resembling a shark, resting on the sea bed like a ray.
Marine guide Nurul Aidah Fazil says: “They might look like sharks but they are more closely related to rays.” Indeed, the guitarfish is part of the ray family and got its name from its triangular head, which looks similar to a guitar. Don’t be fooled by its calm and peaceful nature, it can crush clams and rocks with their mouths.
Speaking of sharks, look closely and you will see the only species of shark in this tank: the zebra shark, with its pattern of dark spots and five distinctive ridges running along its body.
Here’s one perennial question whenever someone spots the zebra shark: why is it called a zebra shark when it has spots and not stripes?
The zebra shark is named such as the juveniles are dark brown with white zebra-like stripes. As the shark grows, the dark areas begin to break up, changing the general pattern from light-on-dark stripes to dark-on-light spots. Just like how we and other marine animals will look different at various stages of life, so does the zebra shark.
With the terraced steps and the majestic overture, it is akin to watching a theatre performance. You could easily spend an hour here, lost in the myriad of magnificent marine animals swimming gracefully across the habitat. If you want to continue to enjoy front row seats and be able to enjoy being in the company of good food, be sure to visit Ocean Restaurant.
For other zones in S.E.A. Aquarium, check this out.