On a whim, we decided to visit the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum on 7 August, on one of the SG 50 Golden Jubilee weekend. I had gone online and found that tickets at 5.30pm were available, so I booked it and printed out the tickets (a troublesome task).
To avoid overcrowding, the museum only allows a certain number of people in. The first part of the museum was about plants. I used to pick up flowers in my primary school and keep them as pressed flowers in my books.
I was intrigued by the carnivorous pitcher plants! The plants are sweet smelling to attract insects. When the insects crawl near, they will slip into the pitchers and are unable to climb out. The enzymes will start dissolving the insects as nutrients for the plants.
There was a model of rafflesia, one of the the largest flowers in the world and also extremely smelly. It is supposed to smell like rotting corpse.
There is another flower that is large, has a similar name (corpse flower) and it is called titan arum.
There were also fungi specimens.
There was a light show at the sauropod fossils, which was nothing much. We went upstairs to take a better look.
Gar kept asking where the T-Rex was. No T-Rex fossil dude!
At the second floor, there were many stuffed animals. The young sun bear was seated alone.
There were so many stuffed birds! I cannot remember their names.
There were a few tiny cubicles for people to listen to. Only managed to get a blurred shot of the two boys here.
There were many collections by famous people from the past. My colleague who has a lot of bugs at his cubicle would definitely like this bug collection, or perhaps his son would enjoy it more as those collection belonged to him.
There was a pangolin. It looked too glossy. I am not sure whether it was stuffed or a model.
After we were done with upstairs, we went back to check out other exhibits at the ground level.
I liked the big cats category. There were clouded leopards, leopards, civets and others.
There were other Malayan animals, such as tapirs, and orang utans. I wonder how they died. Did they die from being captured? Or did they die naturally? The Singapore zoo also had similar animals.
I happened to discuss a passage on leather and other animal by-products. The processes were cruel. Some of the animals were skinned alive, and left to bleed to death. Others were clubbed to death. Kid goats were boiled alive to produce gloves.
One thing that I had seen was a tiger skin, with its tongue still intact.
The day before, my NCC students went on a course, and an instructor showed them survival techniques in the jungle. He showed them how to kill a live frog by flinging it around. They told me the frog’s organs were still moving. They also shared how chickens were killed. Some of them enjoyed the process! OMG!
There was a menacing crocodile which looked over tanned. There was also a false gharial. I enjoy getting my students to guess how to different crocodiles, alligators, gharials and other similar type of crocodilian reptiles. (Hint: Check out the shape of their jaws.)
El poses with an elephant tusk.
I had also taught about narwhals before, which was the subject of a comprehension passage. They have a long tusk that young male narwhals like to use to joust. They were thought to be something like unicorns. I was amazed to see this for myself and admired the twirls in the tusk.
There was even a triceratops leg!
I quickly took some pictures of butterflies and some winged creatures, and then prepared to leave. It was also near closing time (7pm). Towards the end, Gar kept shouting for ‘milk’. I think he was bored stiff. El had enjoyed this trip because he loves animals. The moment we stepped outside, he stopped asking for milk.
We went to the shop and bought jigsaw puzzle, a science fossil kit, and a sticker book. I will probably write about the excavation of dinosaurs another time. While waiting for their father to pay for the items, we went outside and took some more pictures.
Their father finally emerges with the spoils.
Closing thoughts: If I were to homeschool El, I think this place, Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum would be a great place to go to. You can have a few ‘show and tell’ sessions from the vast amount of information here. I must admit if not for the dinosaur fossils which cost the museum millions of dollars, I would not be attracted to this place. In fact, I would not be interested in natural science if not for El. In trying to satisfy his curiosity, I have to read up a lot, and then I actually found all these interesting. My poor command of language when I was younger, also meant I would not understand all these exhibits then.
An idea suddenly springs to my mind. If students are exposed to these exhibitions at a young age, they would be able to comprehend many comprehension passages better. Many of the passages are about nature.
Gar is too young to appreciate this place, especially since his favourite T-Rex is not there. I guess slightly older children with strong interest in science (animals and plants) would enjoy this place more.The other place with a few similar exhibits would be the National Museum of Singapore, although I am not sure what they have after the renovation.
Since it is the SG 50 Golden Jubilee weekend, we wanted to go to other places that were free of charge, but we dislike crowds, so this museum at NUS is a great place for us to discover something about Singapore.