Wild Science Fantasy Island Review – Will Fighting Fish or Ants Rule The Island?

by nessel on March 30, 2011

Wild Science Fantasy Island

We previewed the Wild! Science Fantasy Island kit in our article on the Top Science Kits from Toy Fair 2011.  There were no shortage of science kits at Toy Fair, but a science kit that combined Betta fighting fish with ants – this was something Dad Does just had to see to believe!

Discovering Life on Fantasy Island

Wild! Science was nice enough to send us a Fantasy Island science kit so we could do a full product review.  Fantasy Island is a habitat that allows you to study and learn about ants and Betta fighting fish (you need to supply the ants and Fighting Fish).  The manual is very well done and really pushes the idea of doing experiments to learn more about your new “pets”.

Are your ants herbivores, omnivores or carnivores?  Do an experiment by supplying different types of food and see what type of ants you have.   Do Bettas change colors in the Rainbow Choice pool? Do an experiment and find out.  The whole idea of Fantasy Island is to experiment, discover and learn.

Let’s take a look at a quick video that shows you Fantasy Island by Wild Science -

Betta Fish and Ants Never Had It So Good!

No offense to any Betta fish who may be reading this, but you guys, in captivity, have a pretty miserable life.  Bettas fight, so they usually live alone in some tiny boring bowl.   However, the lucky Betta who gets to live in the Wild Science Fantasy Island will feel like the Bill Gates of Betta fish.   Yes, this lucky Betta can spend his mornings in the Rainbow Choice Pool, a lazy afternoon over in the Volcano pool and a relaxing evening in the Sky Pool.

The ants, don’t get me started on the ants.  The ants who live in this thing have such a good life that I don’t think you can even call them ants anymore.  Let’s just call them charmed little things.  These guys get the Ant-O-Sphere, a food bar and a juice bar (top shelf stuff).  They also get the Volcano garden where they can hang out and watch the Bill Gates of Bettas do laps.

Fantasy Island is Great for Ants and Fish, but what about Kids and Parents

Setup of Fantasy Island definitely requires a parents help.  You need to cut some tubes and wedge things in – setup is a project for parent and child.  Still, the manual is easy to follow and we were able to build Fantasy Island without any major problems.

Once you have Fantasy Island built, it really becomes more of a pet project than a toy.   You will need to get a Betta (and food, cleaning supplies, etc), ants, plants, make food for the ants and do some cleanup each week.  This is really no fault of Fantasy Island, but parents should understand that there is a good deal of ongoing maintenance to keep the habitats happy, fed and clean!

On the positive side, kids love Fantasy Island.  We don’t have the ants in the island yet, but already the kids love watching the Betta fish and seeing which pool he likes to swim in the most.  Fantasy Island really takes owning a Betta fish to a whole new level and this is a huge hit with the kids.

Fantasy Island:  Sometimes Science Is Messy – But It Is Still Fun

The Betta is living happily right now on Fantasy Island.   There will be some cleaning necessary and it will only get more involved once we have ants living on the island as well.   With a fish bowl, you can just take the Betta out and then wash the whole fish bowl.  Cleaning Fantasy Island will be more involved because the ants will be full time residents.

Even with the potential work of caring for Fantasy Island, it seems like a small price to pay when you watch how much fun your kids have with Fantasy Island.   The manual is packed with very interesting information about ants and fish and my kids were eager to do some experiments and learn more.

We are holding off on giving a final recommendation on Fantasy Island until we can get some ants to move onto the island, but even without the ants the kids have really enjoyed it.   I caught the kids telling their friends how ants wash their faces with their front legs – you have to love when your kids learn science while having fun!

Note: Look for our updated Review once we move the Ants onto Fantasy Island.

More Information:

Wild! Science Fantasy Island by International Playthings is for children ages eight years and up and retails for $49.99

FULL DISCLOSURE: We received Wild! Science Fantasy Island to review. We received no money for doing this review and receive nothing if you do decide to buy Fantasy Island. If you do buy Fantasy Island and somehow your ants and Betta fish mate to form a super swimming ant creature that takes over your house, we are not responsible (but please take some video of the take over, sounds cool!). This is a real review, by a real Dad (and his kids)!

Have A Question/Comment Let Us Know!

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  • Mary Ann

    Rainbow Choice, Sky and Volcano Pools? Sounds like a Hawaiian resort!

  • Vtran87

    just bought this it is great only thing is that my ants are escapping all over the room. I put everything together correctly im assuming they are getting out from the area where the plants are suppose to grow under the dome. Other than that its exactly as it looks great.

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  • http://profiles.google.com/goldenbrowns Casey Brown

    Do I understand correctly that the fish can swim in and out of the sky dome and into the other pools? Also, how tough has it been to clean this?  Thanks!

    • http://www.daddoes.com Dan Dad Does

      Hi Casey,

      Yep you understand it perfectly!  Fish can swim from Sky Dome to the other pools – our Beta spends most of his time in the Sky Dome.  Cleaning is not that bad – it does take a little work to clean things out, but not that much worse than a fish tank.  Hope this helps!

  • Triangle Kitty

    I actually find this product very disturbing.  Something that looks cool to people isn’t always the best environment for the animal.  Betta are tropical fish.  They require a heater and for best health should have a filter.  They also jump, and those shallow pools are inviting a disaster.

    If you really wanted to teach children about fish or caring for a pet, I would advise researching the actual requirements of the animal. You can then show your children how to properly care for their pet. Fish keeping is amazing and full of science…you can talk about proper bacteria and how they eat up the fish waste. You can show them how to test the water for ammonia/nitrites/nitrates/and Ph. Most of all, you can show them that keeping an animal is a responsibility.

    • chris

      they do not need a heater just be in water that is room temperature if they are in a bowl by themselves

      • Triangle Kitty

        Can they survive without a heater? Yes…for a time. But it will stress the fish and cause a lowered immune response, which will eventually kill it before its normal lifespan. A betta’s ideal temp range is 76-82 F, which is above normal household temp. They also need a consistent temp for good health, not one that rises and falls with room temperature. They are *tropical* fish. The water temp of those tiny pools is going to swing radically because they don’t have enough volume to hold their heat for any significant period.

        And again…bowls are *not* appropriate for a betta. They need filtration. Please do some research into the actual requirements of this species. It is an absolute (and destructive) myth that bettas in the wild commonly live in tiny pools.

  • Phoenixlugia

    Betta fish do live in 3ft deep and over 50 gallons of water in their natural habitat. Bettas in stores in small containers without 3-5 or more gallon tanks are basically just trying to survive, hence why they heavily medicate their little cups to keep them alive. They do feel depression and get sick very easily in anything under 3 gallons of water.

    The myth they live in small tiny cup-sized puddles can be proven false, the large bodies of water they do live in can dry up and once they do, the betta will jump from puddle to puddle in search of cleaner and larger bodies of water. Most of the time they’d die if it dries up to this degree.

  • Katie

    As someone has said before me, this item will definitely not make the fish “feel like the Bill Gates of Betta fish.” Though they do have the ability to live in small areas, it is obviously not suggested, as the ammonia builds up way to quickly, killing the fish. Though people say that Bettas live in “tiny puddles,” it is only during the dry season, which is only a month or two. Other than that, they would live in giant rice paddies, hundreds, maybe thousands, of gallons.

    Making a fish live in this is cruel. Please think of the animal, not just the learning possibility. I encourage you, like Triangle Kitty, to show them how to properly take care of a fish, with a tank, filter, heater, and changing the water.

  • madeleine

    I second a lot of the other commenters- this does not provide adequate space and the fact that it’s impossible to instal a heater makes this toy animal cruelty.

  • Ren

    If this is a “science kit”, I’d love to sit down with the so called brilliant scientists who invented this because it is lacking in even basic understanding of suitable habitats for both species. If you want to teach kids about science and underwater/underground habitats, this is not the way to do it. You’ll end up with more dead animals than anything.

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