There's something wonderfully mysterious about the dark and deep depths of the ocean and seas. My previous blog posts have outlined my love of the water, and that fascination extends below the surface. For that reason, we recently spent a fun-filled day at Scotland's National Aquarium- Deep Sea World.
We continue our nautical themed adventures this week (if you haven't already, make sure to check out last week's article on Inchcolm Island and the Firth of Forth boat cruise). This visit was particularly exciting as we were able to get even closer to the sea life we previously could only admire from a distance.
Deep Sea World is located in North Queensferry- just about 15 miles from Edinburgh city centre. It's easily accessible via car or public transportation.
Deep Sea World is a fantastic place for families with children, but it's also a great attraction for all ages. It does an excellent job at balancing educational and learning opportunities with fun exhibits and displays. For example, at different times throughout the day, they provide talks where visitors can get an up-close look at a particular animal. One of the talks we attended was the 'Meet a Reptile' talk, and the chosen reptile for that day was a snake. We found out where it was indigenous, what it eats, as well as other fun tidbits. We even got to touch it...I'm a wee bit skittish of snakes, but I put aside my fears and gave it a quick feel. However, I'm glad that I did it because I think it is good to face our fears sometimes.
On the other hand, I felt very comfortable attending the daily seal feeding event. When we did our Firth of Forth boat cruise, we only saw the harbour seals from a distance. Therefore, it was very exciting to get to observe them closer, and what a show they put on! There were two younger males that were very energetic and happy to do some exercise knowing that they would be rewarded with delicious treats. However, the older and wiser female seal- Laura- was quite the character as she knew that she would get some fish snacks whether she participated or not. You can see her in the first picture below- enjoying a spot of sunbathing before the feeding event started. Once the action began, she took a relaxing stance on the side while the two male seals showed all of us what they could do. They were positively adorable and clearly love their mealtimes. They were the two darker coloured seals seen below.
The exhibits throughout Deep Sea World are particularly well-themed and it's clear that great care has been put into them. One of my favourites was the section that looked like you were on an old ship complete with an antique dive helmet that you could try out if you wanted.
Here are some more pictures of the lovely exhibits and their various inhabitants of the animal kingdom (it looks like Dory and Nemo are leading the way):
Another important theme found throughout Deep Sea World is that of conservation. Whether it's how we can clean up the plastic from the beaches here in Scotland or how we can meet the sustainable palm oil challenge-
education and action go hand-in-hand.
Related to that, and in an especially timely exhibit, you can 'explore the Amazon'. In fact, Deep Sea World currently has a 'Jungles & Rivers' event every day until Friday, the 6th of September. It allows visitors to head 'deep into the Amazon where they will be surrounded by snakes, frogs and turtles'. This is a perfect learning opportunity for all of us to find out why the Amazon is an important part of our planet's ecosystem.
Now, I've saved one of the best features for last, and it was the highlight of the visit all of us. What is particularly amazing about Deep Sea World is that it has 'Europe's longest underwater tunnel' with the 'biggest collection of Sand Tiger sharks in the UK'. You can explore the tunnel either using the regular walkway or via moving conveyor belt located right next to it. We had such a great time going through the tunnel that we did it twice. The sharks and rays were absolutely awe inspiring as they swam above and all around us.
Before you head out, make sure to stop by the gift shop which has a great selection of souvenirs. And, if you are looking for a coffee, snack, or a more substantial meal, you can pop into The Bridge Cafe with stunning views of the Forth Rail Bridge.
Well, I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse into Deep Sea World: Scotland's National Aquarium. Make sure to check them out online for more detailed information on how you can plan your visit.
And, while you are in the area, we would love to help you find your 'land legs' again with one of our entertaining and historical wee walking tours of Edinburgh. You can find more information about our tours and book them directly through our website.
Until next time- Explore & Discover!