Region: Scotland

Disabled Facilities: Yes

Category: Day Trip Destinations

Address: 11 High Shore, Macduff, Aberdeenshire AB44 1SL

Contact: 01261 833369



Macduff Marine Aquarium is situated on Aberdeenshire’s northern shores and, as well as being an award winning visitor attraction, it is a popular educational resource for students of all ages and abilities.

The aquarium takes visitors on a journey of discovery beneath the steely blue waters of the Moray Firth. The exhibits lead from the coastal estuaries, cliffs and rocky shores, out to the fringing kelp reefs and beyond to deeper reefs and the sandy seabed.

On the way, visitors come face to face with hundreds of local fishy characters, including fearsome wolf fish, small sharks, ancient lobsters and gentle jellyfish, all in realistic and innovative displays.

Visitors can also see divers feed the fish, get a feel for seashore life at the interactive touch pools and watch breading seabirds on the cliffs at Troup Head via a live camera link during the summer months.

Why is this venue great for School Trips and Educational Visits?

The diversity of marine life within the exhibits, along with the interactive touch pools engages children, creating enjoyment, memories and respect fort he underwater world.

What does a typical school trip or educational visit include?

There are a range of curriculum linked programmes on offer that can be tailored to suit the needs of a class and link with topics being studying in the classroom.

Groups are accompanied by friendly, knowledgeable and enthusiastic aquarium assistants.
Fishy stories with puppets entertain early level pupils, while first and second level pupils explore underwater food chains, life cycles, fishing and conservation. There is even the option of exploring a local beach.

Secondary level students study the ecology of a rocky shore, using biological sampling techniques before heading to the aquarium to discuss their results.  

A typical visit includes:

• Welcome at Reception – introduction to your aquarium assistant and an outline of the plan for the day.

• Explore the aquarium – accompanied by your aquarium assistant who will give you all sorts of information relating to the exhibits, habitats and animals relating to your topic.

• Talk at the touch pools – get a feel for seashore life and learn more about seashore animals’ adaptations for survival.

• Talk and/or video presentation in the main audio-visual theatre relating to the education programme chosen.

• Time in the gift shop to purchase souvenirs from as little as 50p

• Additional quizzes and activities available.

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What size groups do they cater for?

The aquarium can hold a maximum of 100 kids at a time – larger groups are split up and there may be up to 3 different groups at once.

What can they provide you with to support your school trip or educational visit?

The aquarium’s learning officer will assist teachers to plan a trip and to help you organise your visit, we offer a free teacher’s planning ticket (to be arranged in advance).  

A range of educational additional resources are available on the website and during the visit children can take part in quizzes and other materials can be developed on request to enhance your programme – just ask our learning officer!

Can you take photos, video or audio? Are there any copyright restrictions?

Visitors are welcome to take photos or video/audio in the aquarium, though flash photography is not allowed at some of the exhibits containing sensitive animals.

How do you arrange a risk assessment?

Teachers can arrange to undertake risk assessments during their free planning visit or the aquarium’s risk assessment summary is available on request.

What are the contact details for their education officer?

Marie Dare

Tel: 01261 833369


What does it cost?

For groups of 10 or more, discounted admission prices for 2018 are:

• Child: £3.05
• Adult: £5.50

One adult is free for every 10 children. (or one adult free for every 5 pre-school children)

Is specific clothing required?

No specific clothing is required for visiting the aquarium, but if taking part in a beach visit then it is always a good idea to wear sturdy shoes/wellies and bring waterproofs.

Do you have first aid on site?

The group leader is responsible for the well being of their group during the visit, though there are several qualified first aiders on the aquarium staff.

What facilities do they have for school trips and educational visits?

The aquarium has a gift shop with plenty of pocket money items available, as well as drinks, sweets and ice creams.

There are no facilities for eating at the aquarium and food is not allowed in the exhibit area.
There is a grassy area with picnic tables outside and local picnic areas can be recommended. Please contact the aquarium in advance if you need to make lunch arrangements in the event of a cold or rainy day.

Are there disabled facilities?

The aquarium is all on one level and accessible for wheelchairs. Any of the education programmes can be adapted for children with special educational needs.

What are your opening days and hours?

April – October

Open Monday to Friday from 10am – 5pm, Saturdays and Sundays from 11am – 5pm

November – March

Open Saturday to Wednesday from 11am – 4pm, closed on Thursdays and Fridays.

Do you have any testimonials from previous customers who have visited you on an educational visit?

The children thoroughly enjoyed their experiences and saw many new things and learnt new ideas. It was fun! Excellent information presented and children were engaged throughout
(Teacher – Ferryhill School, Aberdeen).

The children really enjoyed touching the starfish. They learned a lot about different sea creatures and could link what they had learned at school.
(Teacher – Alehousewells School, Aberdeen)

Couldn’t get the children away from the wonderful touch pool.
(Teacher – Braehead School, Aberdeen)

Excellent guide who used language at exactly the right level for P4 .
(Teacher – Auchterellon School, Aberdeenshire)

Age of Children / Pupils: Pre-school 5 – 7 years 8 – 10 years 11 – 13 years 14 – 16 years College University

Type of Visit: Environment Centres Green Awareness Maritime Science & Technology Sea life Themed Attractions Wildlife and Nature

Curriculum Topics Covered: Art and Design Citizenship Drama English Environmental Studies Science

Months Open: All Year Round January February March April May June July August September October November December