A head to head comparison between these 2 amazing facilities is a first, so this article aims to find out if Singapore's de-facto public science facility have lost its educational charm to the more modern, luxurious and conveniently located ArtScience Museum.
With the Titans of the Past exhibition running from 25 October 2013 till 23 February 2013 and Dinosaurs: Dawn To Extinction running from 25 January 2013 till 27 July 2013, it would be difficult to compare them based on ticket sales as both exhibitions only share one month of operations together.
Thus this comparison will be based on my experience having visited both exhibitions.
Introduction - Dinosaurs: Dawn to Extinction
Dinosaurs: Dawn to Extinction brings you back to the Precambrian, Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous prehistoric periods to relive the dinosaurs' natural environment as you uncover how the different species lived on Earth.
The exhibition, which occupies 3,700 square meters of floor space, combines 4 exhibitions from the renowned American Museum of Natural History, San Juan National Science Museum, SCI! Expo at Monash University and artist Peter Trusler.
Introduction - Titans of the Past
Titans of the Past brings you to the prehistoric era of the dinosaurs and ice age mammals. Kids and families will get an opportunity to view real fossils, replicas and Kokoro's state-of-the-art animatronics.
The exhibition, occupying 3,000 square meters of floor space, features 2 international travelling dinosaur exhibitions, "The Growth and Behavior of Dinosaurs", which has been co-produced by the Museum of the Rockies (MOR), USA Montana and Kokoro Co., Ltd. Japan, and "Ice Age, The Exhibition" From Aurea Exhibitions, Argentina.
While walking through both exhibitions, I noticed differences in 4 key areas: Layout, types of exhibits, interactivity and fossils.
Layout - Dinosaurs: Dawn to Extinction
Walking through the sections of Dawn to Extinction is like travelling through time.
You start your journey in a time before the Dinosaurs, where the first multi-celled organisms crawled through the ancient Earth.
As you progressed through the various time periods, the ambience and creatures you see will evolve accordingly.
The décor of each section has also been completely designed to immerse you in that time period.
Layout - Titans of the Past
The Titans of the Past layout is very generic, with no particular theme to it.
You will be greeted by the exhibits in the various sections but the promise of a seamless storyline is unnoticeable, at least during my trip.
Do not expected to be drawn in by the environment as well, as the majority of the exhibition's walls are just black facets.
Types of exhibits - Dinosaurs: Dawn to Extinction
True to the ArtScience name, Dawn To Extinction has a healthy mix of fossils, dinosaurs models and skeletons, documentary videos and 50 original art works relating to dinosaurs.
Types of exhibits - Titans of the Past
Titans of the Past may not have artworks, but they do have state-of-the-art animatronics that brings these prehistoric beasts back to life.
Interactivity - Dinosaurs: Dawn to Extinction
Dawn to Extinction has a fair bit of interactivity with you being able to use your sense of touch and hearing to immerse yourself in these prehistoric times.
This is literally the case at one of the interactive points where you will have to opportunity to touch an original fossilized bedrock.
Other interactive stations includes those where you can get to hear the sounds that dinosaurs are theorised to make and walking through a tunnel to feel the environment that small dinosaurs usually travel through.
There will also be a palaeontology workshop for those interested in learn how experts discover and preserve fossils.
A unique selling point of this exhibition is the app that compliments it.
The Dinosaurs Dawn to Extinction app (available on iOS and Android) adds a second screen experience where you can unlocked extra content but using the application and visiting each of the various sections within the exhibition.
There is also a mini game and information gallery that is already unlocked when you first download the app.
While it had great potential to elevate the experience, the execution was weak in my opinion.
The app seemed half baked, with the unlockable content adding little value to my experience.
Instructions within the app was also not clear and I found myself having to figure out how to use the app much longer than I should.
The app should also have added a directory and layout of the museum, which could have helped a lot in discovering every single aspect of the exhibition.
Interactivity - Titans of the Past
Much like Dawn to Extinction, Titans of the Past has a fair share of interactive stations.
While it lacks an app and workshops, the exhibition has a "sandbox" where kids can be like palaeontologists and feel the thrill of discovery by digging up a gigasarus skeleton. There are also side stalls mainly for kids - activities include face painting and mask making.
There is also a very interesting station where for S$8, you can witness a triceratops lay an egg, which has a mini dinosaur figurine inside.
Fossils - Dinosaurs: Dawn to Extinction
Probably the main reason to visit such exhibitions, Dawn to Extinction houses a wide variety of fossils ranging from skulls and skeletal fragments to ancient bedrocks.
With over 400 fossils and models, each time period is represented well with its respective dinosaurs, and there will definitely be one that catches your attention.
Fossils - Titans of the Past
At Titans of the Past, there is a total of 63 fossil exhibits, 13 of which are real.
This includes the center piece of the exhibition - the largest T-rex skull ever found.
Known as MOR 008, it was discovered in 1976 and was only unveiled in 2011 as the reconstruction of the skull took 35 years to complete.
This skull measures 5 feet long, weighs over 1000kg and costs Science Centre Singapore S$1.5million to loan it for 4 months.
If one skull is not enough, also check out the cast of the Wankel T-Rex, the second largest complete T-rex skeleton ever reconstructed.
And last but not least, be sure to check out the cast of the largest Sauropod ever found, measuring at 36 meters in length and 7 meters in height.
Dinosaur enthusiasts and knowledge lovers can sure rejoice that the addition of the ArtScience Museum has provided them with an alternative that generates healthy competition.
I started off this article with a question on whether the Science Centre Singapore had lost its educational charm to the new ArtScience Museum.
For this comparison, it seems it has not. While both exhibitions are similar in theme, both facilities had taken different approaches to draw in the crowd.
In my opinion, I would say that Dinosaur: Dawn to Extinction is catered more towards adults who already have a good understand of the subject and appreciate the artistic side of this prehistoric world.
On the other hand, Titans of the Past is catered more towards kids who have that growing curiosity of these beast. The animatronics and hands-on sandbox activity is sure to make them feel like that walked into Jurrasic Park.
That being said, I personally prefer Titans of the Past as I truly felt like a kid when I entered the exhibition and relived the excitement I had when being amazed at these titans.
Ticket prices are as stated below:
Dinosaurs: Dawn to Extinction
- Adult: $24 (Tourist), $20 (Singaporean/PR)
- Child (2-12): $14 (Tourist), $13 (Singaporean/PR)
- Senior Citizen (65+ years): $21 (Tourist), $18 (Singaporean/PR)
Titans of the Past
- Adult: $20
- Child (3-12 years): $16
- Students IM Rates: $11
- Family Package (2 adults + 2 children): $68
Are you planning to go to these 2 exhibitions? Or have you went in already? Share your experience in the comment section below or DM me on twitter (@okjdiscoveries) and I'll retweet them.
You can also follow me on instagram to check out some of the pictures I took during my trip to both exhibitions, and tag me in your photos if you want me to see them as well!