It was the second week of the school holidays and as the rain lashed and the kids climbed the walls it was clear action was required. My sister and I decided to head south – sadly not quite far enough to escape the drizzle, but enough to take cover and entertain the children at the same time.
Piling into the car with our four girls (aged nine, seven, and two three-year-olds), the destination was North Berwick’s Scottish Seabird Centre where throughout the summer there are events planned that will make the task of providing a daily dose of fun a whole lot easier.
Situated at the harbour in North Berwick, the centre enjoys a lovely setting with great beach walks and rock pools on the doorstep that are crying out to be explored.
We arrived in time for the littlest ones to take part in Mini Makers, the daily craft session that runs from noon till 1pm. Dragging them out from the soft play they had disappeared into on arrival was a feat in itself, although the promise of making their own shark hats lured them out.
The older two were entranced by the large screens depicting the thousands of seabirds that inhabit the area and they loved being able to control the interactive live cameras for close ups of island life.
As the youngest hotfooted it back to the soft play, shark hats in place, the older girls embarked on the Sea Quest, a trail around the centre answering questions relating to creatures living on and in the water.
As well as the cameras trained on the surrounding shores, there are a number of exhibits and talks by friendly, knowledgable staff. The Migration Flyway tunnel (with wind effects and suitably sloped floor to make the most of them) highlights the story of birds’ migration and leads to the Environment Zone, while short nature films are screened in the Wildlife Theatre. There is also a telescope deck that looks over the Firth of Forth.
The theatre also plays host to Professor Egghead’s Seashore Showtime where willing volunteers took part in a Blankety Blank-style quiz called Quackety Quack. Different shows run each day.
Dragging the little ones away from the soft play for the final time, we headed upstairs to the café for much-needed refreshment. A word of warning – the café is situated next to the rather enticing gift shop, so the peace you require to enjoy your coffee could end up costing a little extra pocket money.
Scottish Seabird Centre, The Harbour, North Berwick, East Lothian EH39 4SS (01620 890202, www.seabird.org). Open daily, 10am-6pm. All events are included with entry to the Discovery Centre: Adults £7.95, concessions £5.95, under fours free. A family ticket (two adults and two children) costs £23.50.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west