The weather has been so bad that every child I know is like a wee caged animal with a desperate parent running out of ‘fun, indoor activities’ to entertain the young, feral master race. So let me introduce you to the humble aquarium.
On the north east coast of Scotland in a traditional fishing town is the lovely establishment known as the Macduff Marine Aquarium. It features marine life from the nearby Moray Firth, so none of the big boys of the sea, but more than enough to make Mr Toddler go slightly mental with glee. The underwater world created in Macduff is beautiful and blew my children’s expanding imaginations.
The aquarium holds regular scheduled events through each day such as feeding the fish, and occasionally divers take the plunge in the tanks which is a great spectacle. We were there for a ‘feed’ and the keeper talked through all the animals, regaling us with interesting factoids about what looked to me like … a bunch of fish, but I soon saw the error of my ways. One fish started life with its eyes on top of its head and they had to move round to the side of its head, or maybe the eyes started on the side of the head and had to move to the top, I can’t remember which but there was some crazy fish stuff going down which was genuinely interesting for all ages.
The touch pools were another good idea. Personally I loved handling a star fish as I don’t often come across them but I was relieved that Mr Toddler was a bit feart of touching anything. If it had delighted him no doubt he’d either squish the creature, throw it, put it in his pocket, put it in his mouth, put it in my pocket, put it in my mouth. It’s not very rock n roll to be chucked out of an aquarium.
And aquariums work for babies as they are transfixed by the colours, the movement and the sounds of water. If your tots get attached to any of the creatures the aquarium has an adoption scheme with a starting price of only £5, message to my pals, expect a starfish heading your way soon.
And my last point about the aquarium – IT’S DRY – you’re surrounded by water yet it’s dry, which on a wet, wet, wet day is a godsend.
LOWDOWN – we drove from Aberdeen to Macduff which takes just over an hour. We grabbed lunch at a local cafe I’d recommend as the staff were lovely to our boys, the food was good and service swift – from casual soup and a sandwich, to scampi or tray bakes and coffee the Seafront Cafe was spot on. Top stuff.
As we visited Macduff on a sunny, blustery day we then walked over the bridge to Banff, dodging the waves coming over the wall all the way – Mr Toddler thought this was hilarious. Wouldn’t have been so funny if he’d been hit by the north sea.