ANIMALS AND WILDLIFE
DEEP SEA WORLD
Deep Sea World is Scotland’s national aquarium and it’s just across the river, only 30 minutes by car from the hotel with free on-site parking when you arrive. The exbibits cover some fantastic underwater scenarios, taking you on a journey across continents – and more locally – to see the fabulously-finned inhabitants, whist the sights and sounds of the surrounding landscape are also recreated. There are also seals, sharks, piranha and an alligator snapping turtle, fortunately not inhabiting the same stretch of water.
It's a visual feast for the senses but if you want to get even closer, there are lots of feeding sessions to observe - including the popular daily Seal Feed, or for thrills experienced from the safety of the Underwater Tunnel, brave the Shark Feed (with divers doing the feeding). You can join an informative talk all about the Amazon, or a special Diver’s Talk, where you’ll learn all about the hand signals that are crucial for communication underwater.
Go one step further and book ahead for a shark dive, available for children from 8 years upwards and for adults. For those who simply want to step back and admire the shimmering array of forms and colours, Deep Sea World contains plenty to entrance even the youngest visitors.
If you need a pit-stop between sights and fancy feeding yourself, drop into The Bridge Café where you’ll also enjoy a view of the architecturally stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site Forth Rail Bridge.
BLAIR DRUMMOND SAFARI PARK
In less than half an hour’s drive from the hotel, you can be on safari! With 160 acres devoted to a fantastic range of animals at Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park, you can choose to explore on a vehicle safari or on foot.
The ‘Safari Drive-Thru’ takes you through four sections where you’ve a good chance of spotting rhinos, antelope, camels, troupes of inquisitive monkeys and of course, the magnificent lion pride. Explore on foot and you can see over 300 different species from a completely different perspective; experience a giraffe’s-eye-view from a viewing platform, roam side by side with lemurs or get close-up and friendly with the animals at Pets Farm.
There’s much more to see and do, including training demonstrations in the sea lion pool, bird of prey flying displays, a visit to Chimp Island and for the thrill-seeker, entry to the Jurassic Park-style prehistoric forest. Tread carefully – you might just happen upon an animated, life-sized dinosaur! There are 20 of them, including the gigantic diplodocus and of course, your friendly, neighbourhood T-Rex.
With a mini funfair and adventure playground for younger children, you’ll find the biggest challenge of the day is fitting everything in!
The Park is only accepting visitors who have booked in advance so head to their website to reserve your slot, book your tickets and do some valuable forward planning.