Monday, 17 September 2012

A visit to The Scottish Sea life Sanctuary Oban

On Thursday of the week we spent in Oban we planned to take a trip out to The Scottish Sea life Sanctuary . It is described on it's own website as

Nestling in a mature spruce forest on the shores of beautiful Loch Creran the 
Scottish SEA LIFE Sanctuary enjoys one of the most picturesque settings in
Britain, and is home to some of the UK´s most enchanting marine creatures
In crystal clear waters you can explore over 30 fascinating natural marine habitats containing everything from Octopus to Sharks.
Every day thes is a range of talks and feedsing demonstrations from the team of marine experts which may allow you to hand feed some of the sharks and rays or perhaps to learn about and hold some starfish and crabs.
All this and much more is undercover and outside in the sanctuary's extensive forest grounds they have a children's play nature trails and a forest walk.   

There are various pricing options available for entry in to the sanctuary, booking on line save you 20% on your entry price, or why not consider a twelve month pass for even greater savings if  you live near one, or plan on going to another part of the country that has one?
It was raining on Thursday morning when we set off, but as a lot of the attractions are indoors then we were not too bothered.

debris art
The centre is approx 8 miles away from Oban, the roads out to it are good and it is well signposted so easy to find. There is a large car park for customers to use. There is a wooden building for an entrance, where you pay your entrance fee and receive information on what is going on that day. You can go in and out as often as you like during the day, you just need to show your ticket to re-enter.

lots of information signs
So we wandered through the wooded area, past the play area into the main building. The first room had pieces of art work made from rubbish washed up on the beach, very interesting pieces. From there you go through to the first sets of tanks. This room is pretty much in the dark with just the lights from the tanks, and there was one couple there with two young children who were obviously scared and the parents ended up taking them back out.  There are plenty of signs and information on what is in each tank.

at the seal feeding

We spent approx an hour and a half wandering round the tanks, laughing at some of the antics of the creatures, amazed at the colours, shapes and sizes. We went along to watch the seal feeding. This was a very popular activity, well attended and very informative. There is a Seal Hospital in the centre that takes in abandoned or orphaned pups, but it was empty when we were there.

After lunch we wandered back round to see a touching session that they have where you can handle the starfish and crabs. Today's session was hosted by Barbora and it was really nice because everybody let all the little children to the front where they could see and handle the creatures. The talk that accompanied the session was very informative and the young children really enjoyed holding various creatures. Once the session is over there is a hand gel to squirt your hands with to stop any possible germs being picked up but sadly it was empty.

bring your own food seated area
When this session finished we went over to see what was in the other building. We found a gift shop with very reasonably priced items in, your usual mugs, pencils etc. This building also contained public toilets, clean and functional, an area with tables and chairs where you can bring your own food. Just on the edge of this building were the otters. You can watch these from under cover or if the weather is dry you can watch from round the edge with special viewing windows. The otters were very cute and showing off their swimming techniques and their playing and grooming on dry land.

Next up we went to watch the shark feeding session, also hosted by Barbora, who explained about the feeding habits, their lives and why the sharks don't eat the other fish that are in with them.

The rain did not stop all day when we were there, and it was really misty with little visibility so we did not have an opportunity to go onto the beach and admire the views or take a walk through their woodland walks and see what the outside activities had to offer.

We were there for three hours and had we been able to use the outside facilities we could have stayed for a lot longer. Think this would be a great day for a family with lots of things to look
at and safe places to play.

A short video of the otters not caring that it is raining.

We were given free entry for the day in return for an honest review.

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