I am all about a family day trip. We used to do lots of things like that when I was little, packing the car full of snacks, changes of clothes and setting off on a mini adventure. Recently we were invited to come and check out the Loch Lomond Sea-life Centre and I think it’s fair to say it really felt like one of those old school family day trips.
Situated at the Loch Lomond Shores Outlet in Balloch, it’s just a short drive from Glasgow. Far enough to feel like you are escaping to the country but not so far that the kids start getting horribly restless.
There is loads of things to do down there – from shopping, walks by the Loch, the Bird of Prey Centre and a crazy golf course – which means you can really make a full day of visiting our main attraction the Sea Life Centre.
Sea Life Centre
The centre really impressed us, it had loads of cool digital displays for the kids to learn more about what they were seeing and also about the conservation work the centre is involved in. The main thing you see/get drawn to upon entering is the Otter area. For once in our lives we had timed our arrival perfectly and got to see their feeding talk within a few minutes of walking in.
These guys and gals are honestly so cute! I loved watching them in the water where they are incredibly sleek and elegant and also out where they bundled onto their keepers knee for a wee cuddle after their lunch.
Rock Pool Fun
We had some fun exploring the rock pools and smaller tanks, Harrison really enjoyed all the beautiful colours (as well as trying to climb up the staff only stairs!). The team are really friendly, knowledgable and happy to stand and chat about the fish on display. The lovely girl at the rock pool even managed to coax me into letting some wee crustacean guys have a nibble on my hands.
After all that exploring, ie. chasing Harrison around, a seat and some lunch was much needed. The centre has a really nice bright cafe on the upper floor which has stunning views over the water. Enjoying a bowl of already pretty damn good lentil soup is absolutely more pleasurable when you can see the beauty that is Loch Lomond while you have it. They have the usual kids lunch box selection – sandwich, fruit, crisps and juice – featuring a surprise toy. When I say surprise I mean it literally, there was a toy crab in ours that was very life like and I did not expect it one bit!!
Sharks Oh My!
We ended our visit with a listen to the shark talk/feeding and gazed in wonder at the terrifying and ancient creatures. There is something for me, about sharks, that is so primal and beautiful, I could watch them all day.
It was a lovely place to visit, ideal for little ones of pre school age or older kids with a keen interest in sharks or fish. We went on a bank holiday and it was busy but not too manic at just after opening time. I would definitely recommend going earlier in the day and also trying to see some of the talks and feeding sessions.
Just as a final funny note – in that last photo Harrison was enjoying being in the glass tunnel watching a Ray and none of us noticed the massive shark approaching overhead until I was editing my photos of the day at home. See…ancient, primal creepers!