The Green Connection in Kota Kinabalu Sabah

Sabah Green Connection Aquarium
The Green Connection in Kota Kinabalu Sabah is an aquarium and eco-theme park which is the latest tourist attraction here. This unique educational place and conservation center was opened in May 2010 and features a vast biodiversity of seven ecosystems.

Located at Mile 2.5 off Jalan Tuaran (near Wisma Wanita and St. Johns' Ambulance), this place is home to more than 1,200 species ranging from the smallest of insects to slimy snakes and unique marine life including sharks. This place is also known as the Green Connection Aquarium or KK Aquarium by some locals.

Green Connection Aquarium Kota Kinabalu

Update 2017 - The place is back to normal with a revamp and cleaned up.

Update 2014 - Due to some funding issues, the Green Connection in KK is poorly managed and quite run down and we recommend that you give this place a miss. Unless you really want to go, it is entirely up to you. We will let you know if there are new updates to this place. This original review was done in 2010.

Update: Aug 2011 - I recently re-visited this place and found that many of the attractions here have not been managed well due to a lack of funding. However, school children were still seen doing a field trip here. If you do visit and notice this, please do let me know by leaving a comment here.

Kota Kinabalu Green Connection
The Green Connection main entrance in KK, Sabah

The Green Connection absolutely opened my eye towards local attractions as nothing like this was seen here until now. I was invited here together with Grace Leong who is one of Sabah's top guides to experience what most locals and tourist have never done so.

The drive from KK town was a quick ten minutes and on arrival, we were greeted by the technical director and his team.

Professor Steve Oakley with the most poisonous octopus mock up

Technical director, Professor Steve Oakley who has been involved in this project for the last five years was a very cheerful and excited character who was always ready to share his experience and without hesitation, we began the official tour.

He also told me that the main purpose of the center was for education and conservation, stressing that children were the primary target in educating them from a young age.

Update: Professor Steve Oakley is no longer with the Green Connection.

Bat Cave Sabah
Inside the limestone bat cave

The tour begins by entering a man-made cave where you learn about the cave ecology and animals found there with information windows built into the mock up cave unit.

Dimly lit as to resemble how it would feel like in an actual cave and even with stalagmites hanging down from the ceiling minus the actual cave smell. 

As you walk through the guided paths covered in a lot of rainforest landscaping, you see many mini aquariums with freshwater fishes while your guide would explain in detail to you.

There was even one aquarium tank which showed life under the paddy (Padi) fields with actual paddy plants and fish underneath it.

Sabah Green Connection Rainforest Walk
Walkway at The Green Connection in Sabah

Almost everything about our natural ecosystem is conveyed via signboards or live species. Details on  reptiles and frogs showing how they benefit the ecosystem are put up along your guided walk while man-made ponds with tortoises and plant life are featured along the walk. 

Sabah Open Coral Tank
A open coral tank underneath a replica jetty

Professor Steve then stopped at a half open aquarium which was made to look like an actual replica of life under a common jetty.

I was pretty much impressed with the creativity involved to educate the guests here. Direct sunlight on to the open aquarium displayed how beautiful the coral life was below the jetty.

Green Connection Soft Corals
The soft corals on display at Green Connection
Looking closer, the corals looked absolutely beautiful while I was told that some of these corals are even placed here for a natural rehabilitation process which was very interesting to know that something was done to help protect the marine life.

Kota Kinabalu Green Connection Staff
Trained staff holding some of the reptiles for display
The path lead on to the reptile section where trained handlers brought out local snakes. At first sight, most people would take a step back on seeing these slithery reptiles as a natural human defense but rest assured, these snakes have actually matured at the center.

For confidence boosting, a safety tape was also placed on one of the pythons and you could get up, close and personal with them. All the snakes on public display were raised from eggs and have been handled daily. The snakes are used in rotation so that they do not get excessive handling from visitors.

Sabah Python

I had to ask Professor Steve on why they taped the mount of the snake and his reply was clearly positive. He claimed 'Most humans would step back on seeing snakes so this was done to ease the fear and actually, the python was quite harmless, just that they needed to reinforce the visitors confidence here'.

I looked closely at one of the pythons and they were simply amazing reptiles. A blue and green tint was seen when the handler moved the snake in the sunlight. Something I never got a chance to see before. More at the reptile section, there were enclosures with an alligator, common monitor lizard and other various Sabah snakes.

As we ventured down the path, I could not help notice a specially designed tank with an intriguing structure inside. It was actually a replica of the bottom of an oil rig and showcasing the life under there.

While most of us have seen an oil rig, many do not know what is under it. So, this was a first for me and it was very educational.

Sea Snake Aquarium

Another first of it's kind in the world as Professor Steve claimed was the live Sea Snake aquarium tank. (Update: This attraction is no longer available) I had never seen them in captivity so this was a confirmed crowd puller.

A number of sea snakes were wriggling around in this tank which was the center of attraction with the visiting children on that day. I believe that the sea snakes are not easy to keep in captivity. 

Hijau Akurium
Children inside a Bubble Aquarium at Green Connection Sabah

Turning around, I could not make out what the funny looking bubble structure was when Professor Steve highlighted that it was one of the few unique shaped aquariums where one could go under and inside the centre of the bubble and see outwards. Another crowd winner in my humble opinion.

We then came to a section which looked like a  cliff side on display. Apparently, this cliff is the exact replica of the Tip of Borneo in Kudat, in north Sabah.

Carefully recreated to house the local Otters here, you can witness life below the cliffs with actual flora and fauna specially designed for the Green Connection. 

Marine Life at Green Connection Sabah

Green Connection Marine Life
 Stingray and Turtle at Green Connection Sabah

As you reach the Marine Section, you will be greeted by another open sea water tank which features a huge stingray fish and also a large sea turtle swimming about casually here.

Smaller sharks are also seen in the tank where a guide would explain in detail about these beautiful marine creatures.

Walking through the Marine Section of the Green Connection was a wonderful experience as I got to see many different types of live corals being displayed or being rehabilitated here. The ones that are crucial are kept inside away from visitors.

KK Green Connection
Green Connection Aquarium - Largest in Sabah Borneo

Just before the end of the main tour, we came up to what looks like the largest aquarium in Sabah Borneo. A 4 meter (12-foot) high 450,000 liter (120,000 gallon) special tank for viewing coral reef marine life, where typical reef life is grown using natural sunlight and visitors had amazing views from the inside.

There were four Black Tip Sharks, a fairly large shovel nose shark, a couple of trigger fish and various other fishes dominated the Green Connection Aquarium here.

Highlights were the juvenile Black Tip Shards as they were seen very active in the aquarium. Feeding sessions are done in the evenings by Green Connection staff while there are special diving feeding sessions offered for scuba divers here. Do inquire with them if you would like to participate in this amazing experience. 

Photo of Shark Eggs
Shark Eggs at Green Connection
Shark Eggs were also seen in another touch tank. I had never seen what Shark Eggs looked like as this was my first experience seeing them live in captivity. The touch and feel tanks are supervised by well trained staff who explain in detail about them.

Among the other critters seen here were the rare Coconut Hermit Crab, King Crab, Smaller Sharks and Starfishes.At the end, a hand washing area is provided with towels.

Aquarium at Green Connection Sabah
Green Connection Aquarium view from the first floor

At the main aquarium area where the highlight of the tour is, an open area which can easily fit 40-50 people can also be viewed from the first floor. This place is great for education lessons and can be doubled as a mini amphitheater. Presentations or talks can be done here as well.

Cafe at Green Connection
Green Connection Cafe Area

As you exit the main building via the Souvenir Shop, you will come out to an open air cafe which is soon to be in operation. Lush green landscaping with various plants and flowers decorate the area.

The Green Connection in KK Sabah is one place that everyone should visit as it is easy to get to and a very interesting place for adults and children. One can easily spend a good two to three hours there exploring the rich biodiversity and witness the conservation program carried out. You also get to participate in some of  the hands-on attractions offered. 

A fun place for kids in Sabah, this aquarium cum education centre will provide endless entertainment for children of all ages. Entrance fees vary from common visitors to school children or groups and you can inquire with them.

The Green Connection Aquarium is a Conservation and Environmental Education project from Aquatica Aquarium and Discovery Centre Sdn. Bhd. I personally recommend this place to anyone visiting Sabah Borneo. Thank you again to Grace and Sabah Tourism for making this visit here possible.

Green Connection Goals
  • To become a major tourist attraction for Sabah Borneo. 
  • To keep aquatic life in the best possible conditions. 
  • To show aquatic life in realistic, attractive displays which satisfy both aesthetic and environmental requirements. To develop discovery centre exhibits which stimulate and make learning fun. 
  • To include a wide range of discovery centre interactive exhibits which cover all aspects of ocean science: oceanography, biology, chemistry, physics, maths, technology & engineering
  • To make visits enjoyable and memorable by entertaining and encouraging curiosity. 
  • To provide support materials for educators which compliment and develop the concepts taught in schools and further education.
  • To promote an interest environmental conservation and awareness in all visitors. 
  • To develop a cadre of young Malaysians who care about the environment and are concerned with the threats facing aquatic life.
  • To support Government and Non Government Organisations in their efforts to conserve, species, habitats and ecosystems.
  • To support the dive and Ecotourism industry by encouraging visitors to become involved and visit the natural world destinations available in Sabah Borneo.
Getting to Green Connection KK Sabah: 
  • Taxi there - One can easily take a taxi there as most of the taxis in Kota Kinabalu know of this place. It costs about RM10-15 (US$3.00-4.70) one way.
  • Bus - Get a bus that heads towards Tuaran, Innanam, Mengatal, Telipok and stop at KM2 of Jalan Tuaran or Wisma Wanita (Women's Centre)
  • Driving - If you  are self driving, just follow the main Tuaran Road. 
What to bring: Mosquito Repellents are a must there. While most of the area is partially covered, one need not worry about rain. There are snacks and drinks available at the cafe.

Opening Hours of The Green Connection: 10am to 6pm daily

Entrance fees/Tickets for Green Connection Sabah:
  • Adults RM25 (USD$7.80) Children (2-16 years) RM15 (USD$4.70)
  • Family Ticket 2 Adult and up to 2 children : RM 60.00 (US$18.70) additional children RM 5 each to a maximum of 4 children per parent.
  • Group visits for school children - Children RM5 (5 to 50 children) and Teachers RM 10 (1 teacher for every 12 children). Contact for further details.
The tortoise pond along the guided walks here
The Green Connection in Kota Kinabalu Sabah
93 Lorong Burung Ruai 1, 
Kota Kinabalu 88450
Sabah, Malaysia
Telephone: +60 088 245 046
Booking Numbers: 013 8978005 / 016 8382905

Map to Green Connection in Kota Kinabalu Sabah

View Green Connection Aquarium Kota Kinabalu Sabah in a larger map

One of the educational places in KK, the place mainly consist of marine and pond Eco-system conservation which is decently educative for all walks of life, you can choose to visit the Green Connection Aquarium in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

Malaysia Asia

Blogging since 2007, but writing online since 1997. I belong to the 1st generation of worldwide bloggers, which is of course old-school. Since 2008, I created Malaysia Asia and this travel, flood, gadget and lifestyle blog has won numerous physical awards from tourism boards around Malaysia. (Not those online awards). After 12 years of blogging, I have semi-retired and now blog about things I like, do product reviews and enjoy life. My work has been featured in Lonely Planet, CNN Travel, Yahoo Travel, Wall Street Journal, and many other international publications. Find out more about me and thank you.


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