Looking for some ideas on how to keep the kids occupied over the school summer holidays?
We reckon a day spent meeting some cute, adorable and rare animals is the way to go!
From boat trips to see some of Scotland’s marine wildlife, to animal centres offering up-close encounters with birds of prey, there are lots of fun animal-related activities in Scotland.
Here are six of the best family-friendly places to see animals in Scotland this summer…
Enjoy great days out at the seaside with the five-star Scottish Seabird Centre, in the beautiful coastal town of North Berwick.
There’s plenty to keep the little ones entertained in the Discovery Centre, with wildlife trails, 3D films, kids-zone and fun-filled live science shows. Children will love controlling the interactive live cameras to zoom in on amazing wildlife on the local islands.
There’s a bumper programme of events this summer, with puppet shows, fun educational activities and interactive live science shows. Shows run from 1 July to 31 August and tickets are included with admission to the Discovery Centre.
You can also take to the water with one of the acclaimed Seabird Centre boat trips. Highlights include wildlife wonder the Bass Rock, home to the world’s largest colony of Northern gannets, and the historic Isle of May Nature Reserve, where thousands of puffins, terns, guillemots and razorbills return to breed each summer.
Make sure you leave time to browse the stylish eco-friendly products in the giftshop, soak up the incredible coastal views from the Seabird Café and finish off the day with a walk on the pristine local beaches.
Kintail Birds of Prey is a private falconry centre only open to pre-booked guests for a totally exclusive falconry experience.
It offer two different types of experience:
- 1 Mini Falconry Experience, 1.5hr, £38pp
- 2 Half Day Falconry Experience, 3.5hrs, £75pp
Children and spectators are welcome free of charge with a paying adult. Please note this is an outdoor event.
Phone or book online today – just select the date, time and number of guests.
Visit Highland Safaris and Red Deer Centre for an amazing day out! A winner of the ‘Best Visitor Experience’ in Scotland, it combines a Red Deer Centre with award-winning exhilarating Land Rover Safaris, walking and biking activities, Perthshire’s only Gold and Gem Panning Centre, as well as exciting boat trips on Loch Tay.
Skim over the surface of the waters of Perthshire’s largest and one of Scotland’s deepest lochs on a state of the art RIB: it’s the biggest and fastest boat!
And of course, don’t miss the fabulous and delicious Highland Safaris Café set in a stunning location, or the Highland Safaris Shop.
Loch Lomond Bird of Prey Centre is located in the loch-side woodland. With purpose built enclosures, it’s an ideal setting for nearly 40 birds of prey and owls.
The centre is home to over 20 owls, representing all five British owls, as well as unique or unusual species from other parts of the world. The centre is also home to five British Raptors, including “Orla”, the magnificent Golden Eagle.
Visitors are given an insight into habitats and habits, including the centre’s conservation and education programmes. Visitors can also watch the flying displays in the flying ground adjacent to the centre.
The education room has a selection of exhibits and information sheets explaining the evolution and biology of centre residents. The site is fortunate to have a large selection of wild birds and mammals both living and feeding in plain view. You’ll have the chance to see Woodpeckers, Wagtails, Long-tailed tits, voles, moles, wood mice, and many more.
It’s an educational day out for all ages, and a chance to relax in wonderful surroundings.
Like cute animals? You’ll love The Scottish Borders Donkey Sanctuary, located in an 80 acre estate, The Holmes, St.Boswells (near Melrose).
The animals fortunate enough to have been re-homed here are accommodated in small groups in well-fenced and watered paddocks of permanent pasture, each with a field shelter.
There is a handsome Edwardian stone-built stable block consisting of loose boxes, stalls, tack room and washing facilities round a cobbled yard. The estate has an ambience of its own – the beautiful views over the River Tweed and the tree-lined driveways are breathtaking, whatever the season of the year.
Along with donkeys, there are ponies, llamas, goats, pigs, sheep, ducks and many breeds of poultry, as well as a mule called Muffin.
See all the scenery and wildlife – above and below the waves – on board Seaprobe Atlantis, Scotland’s only semi-submersible glass bottom boat.
Seaprobe Atlantis operates from the Marine Special Area of Conservation at Kyle of Lochalsh. It offers regular daily trips to explore the underwater kelp forests, where you should see fish, jellyfish, starfish, urchins, anemones and more.
Above the waves, all trips include a visit to see the seals on Seal Island, a protected bird colony, and offer an excellent chance of seeing otters.
Atlantis is suitable for all ages and abilities. Prices: adult £15, child £8.