Weekend visitors to Changi Jurassic Mile must reserve slots

A baby dinosaur exhibit at the newly opened Changi Jurassic Mile yesterday. The hatchling is missing five teeth.
A baby dinosaur exhibit at the newly opened Changi Jurassic Mile yesterday. The hatchling is missing five teeth.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
Visitors at the Changi Jurassic Mile between Terminal 4 and the entrance to East Coast Park yesterday morning. The outdoor display of more than 20 dinosaur models has been drawing crowds since it opened last week. Visitors must now reserve a slot on
Visitors at the Changi Jurassic Mile between Terminal 4 and the entrance to East Coast Park yesterday morning. The outdoor display of more than 20 dinosaur models has been drawing crowds since it opened last week. Visitors must now reserve a slot on Changi PlayPass to visit on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays till Jan 3.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Concerns about overcrowding and safe distancing at the newly opened Changi Jurassic Mile have prompted the Changi Airport Group (CAG) to implement a weekend booking system from now till Jan 3.

The outdoor display of more than 20 dinosaur models between Terminal 4 and the entrance to East Coast Park, along the 3.5km path connecting Changi Airport and the park, has been drawing crowds since it opened last week. Visitors must now reserve a slot on Changi PlayPass to visit on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays till Jan 3.

There was a sizeable crowd at the Hub & Spoke Cafe near Terminal 2, where the path begins, when The Sunday Times team visited around 8am yesterday.

Cyclists thronged the shared path with many stopping at the cafe for refreshments and toilet breaks.

Some were concerned that the path, which seemed to be about 2m wide, was too narrow to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians.

Flight attendant Shermaine Ng, 43, who was cycling with her husband, suggested it be segregated with a designated lane for cyclists.

"The traffic was very heavy with a lot of young children and families with strollers even at 8am, and the path is a bit narrow," said Mrs Ng.

Last week - days after the attraction was opened - a video of a woman gleefully rocking back and forth on a baby dinosaur exhibit had also started making the rounds. The hatchling emerging from its egg is also missing five teeth. A sign saying: "I don't bite! Don't pull my teeth!" had been put up behind the display when ST visited yesterday.

Responding to queries, a CAG spokesman said the exhibits are installed for all members of the public to share and enjoy, and should be treated with care.

He added that an exhibit has "sustained some damage, and will be temporarily removed for repair work". "We will be adding cautionary signs along Changi Jurassic Mile to remind visitors not to climb on the exhibits. There are also surveillance cameras in place to monitor movements along the path," he said.

The dinosaur exhibits were specially commissioned by CAG. The spokesman said that Changi Jurassic Mile is part of the Changi Airport Connector, which was budgeted as a whole project. "The project's costs fall under the overall developmental costs of Changi Airport and its various developments and initiatives," he said, declining to provide figures on the costs due to commercial sensitivities.

Some visitors at the new attraction were upset by the vandalism, and called for penalties such as a fine to deter people from damaging the displays.

Mr Dennis Lui, 50, who was at Changi Jurassic Mile for a morning jog, said: "Vandalism is bad. The dinosaur exhibits are good for kids; they make them excited to take a walk and get some exercise.

"But it's tough to prevent vandalism or enforce any penalties. You can't really put CCTVs (closed-circuit television cameras) everywhere," added Mr Lui.

Ms Joevena Loy, 42, noted that it would also take a lot of work to go through the surveillance camera footage to identify culprits. "Educating people, especially children, is more important, as well as family values and upbringing."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 18, 2020, with the headline 'Weekend visitors must reserve slots'. Print Edition | Subscribe