Singapore

No home yet for turtle, tortoise museum

Although the lease expires in March, owner has yet to find a new site for 16-year-old family business

Time is running out for over 500 tortoises and turtles at the little-known Live Turtle & Tortoise Museum at Jurong Lake Gardens Central.

Its lease will expire in March to make way for the ambitious development of the Jurong Lake District, but museum owner Connie Tan, 47, has yet to find a new site for her 16-year-old family business.

She had considered options such as Kusu Island, Farmart Centre Singapore at Sungei Tengah, which conducts educational farm tours, and Orto, a multi-recreational park in Yishun, but none was suitable.

"Kusu Island is logistically and environmentally not suitable; Farmart is working from a very commercial point of view and Orto could not get (Singapore Land Authority's) clearance for us to be there," said Ms Tan, who is also a managing director for an events company.

"I am exasperated as I am being pushed from one person to another."

The museum was started by Ms Tan and her late father, Mr Danny Tan, in 2001 to give children the chance to learn about the different species of turtles and tortoises.

Ms Tan, the younger of two daughters, started keeping a turtle as a pet as her mother did not allow her to have a dog or cat. Turtles were cheap and could be hidden under the bed.

She soon fell in love with the shelled creature's unusual beauty. As she grew older, her collection of turtles expanded with the help of her father, who also shared her passion. Mr Tan died two years ago at 77.

The museum holds the Guinness World Record for the largest collection of tortoise and turtle items. It has 3,456 turtle items and over 500 live animals, spanning 40 different species.

The museum accepts walk-in visits and conducts group tours and workshops for children.

Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens and children under six.

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