Live Turtle and Tortoise Museum

The world's biggest collection

What we say: 3.5 stars

Singapore’s Live Turtle and Tortoise Museum holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest collection of these long-living shelled creatures. Drop by this quirky attraction to see them sunbathing in the gardens and feed them lettuce.

Who's hungry for lettuce?

Who’s hungry for lettuce?

The Live Turtle and Tortoise Museum is located within the Chinese and Japanese Gardens in western Singapore. While admission to the gardens is free, the museum is privately run and charges an entrance fee of S$5 for adults and S$3 for children to help with upkeep.

The highlight is the pond and garden which is home to hundreds of free-ranging turtles and tortoises. If you’ve got food (leafy green veggies are sold at the entrance for S$2 a bundle) they will recognise this and dozens will rush towards you (as much as turtles and tortoises can ‘rush’) hoping to get a nibble. The largest animals are kept separately in shallow pens, but you can still reach in to offer them a leaf of lettuce or give them a pet.

Guinness confirms it: they've got lots of turtles and tortoises.

Guinness confirms it: they’ve got tons of turtles and tortoises.

Turtles and tortoises are considered lucky in Chinese culture and above the 82 year-old river turtle, the oldest known turtle of its kind, a sign invites visitors to make a wish. Other interesting animals in the collection include alligator snapping turtles from the USA, a gigantic African spurred tortoise, pig-nosed turtles, golden Siamese temple turtles and snake-necked turtles from Australia. Some of the turtles and tortoises are endangered species, but in high demand in the illegal pet trade. The most valuable animals, like the mata mata turtle from South America, are now monitored by security cameras after an incident of attempted turtle-theft.

Although it is called a museum, little information is provided about the turtles and tortoises on display. A visit to the Live Turtle and Tortoise Museum is entertaining for the chance to feed and pet the animals, but has the potential to be a lot more educational.

Not all of them are cute.

Not all of them are cute.

It’s worth mentioning that not all of the animals enjoy the freedom of the pond and garden and many are kept in cramped terrariums stacked on top of each other. The conditions may look dismal, but many of the animals are unwanted pets that the museum has graciously taken in and their current living conditions are better than the alternative. The museum will be relocating by the end of 2013 and hopes to have bigger, better facilities.

More details
1 Chinese Garden Road, Singapore
Opening Hours: Daily 09:00 - 18:00
How to get there: Nearest MRT: Chinese Garden

Last updated: 22nd October, 2014

Last reviewed by:
Tanya Procyshyn is a Singapore-based freelance writer and photographer. With a passion for unusual destinations, she has camped alongside Komodo dragons and shook hands with soldiers in North Korea. She blogs at www.idreamofdurian.com.

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