Last updated on March 15th, 2020
The Out About Scotland complete guide to The Scottish Deer Centre in Central Scotland
Category: Animals, Park
Suitable for ages: 5 to 10 years, 11 to 18 years, 18+ years, 65+ years
Ideal for: Couples, Families, Groups, Solo travellers
I rate it: 8 out of 10
About The Scottish Deer Centre
Set in 55 acres of lovely Fife countryside, The Scottish Deer Centre is an animal conservation park that looks after 14 species of deer from around the world as well as wolves, otters, wildcats, and birds of prey.
This attraction is one of the most family-friendly places I’ve visited and it seems to have been set up with kids in mind almost as much as the deer that are the park’s main feature.
Once inside you’ll find a varied collection of animals from across the globe with wolves, brown bears, Asian otters, northern lynx, various birds of prey and more all vying for your attention in habitats that faithfully recreate what they’d be used to if they were living in the wild.
Thankfully there are strong fences between these enclosures so they can’t get to each other, which is probably a good idea seeing as the wolves aren’t kept that far from the red deer. Can you imagine the carnage if they got out?
But the main draw to this attraction are the deer (…well, obviously…) and you’ll get plenty of opportunities to get up close to them during your visit.
The park can be easily walked around via the wheelchair-friendly paths and the deer will come bounding over if they think you’ve got food for them, and unlike a lot of animal attractions at The Scottish Deer Centre you can easily interact with them.
This is one of the few parks where you can get really up close and personal with the animals thanks to the bags of food pellets you can buy.
As soon as the deer see you with the snacks they’ll come running over, although being semi-wild animals they can be a little skittish if you try to touch them. It’s quite an experience though and kids will love feeding these gentle creatures.
There’s a definite educational element to this attraction as well (which is something I highly commend) and the Scottish Deer Centre is actively involved with breeding programs to conserve all species of deer.
They really do offer a great day out, and as a family attraction you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better way to spend an afternoon than visiting the Scottish Deer Centre – and to my mind mums and dads will enjoy it just as much as the kids.
Things to do at The Scottish Deer Centre
The enclosures are very well-maintained and they’re a real pleasure to walk through, with deer taking up the majority of the site and bears, lynx, raptors (the bird type, not the Jurassic Park type) and wild cats living in the other enclosures.
There are a few seating areas to stop at and take a break during your walk around the park and once you’ve completed a circuit you can send the kids away to burn off some energy on the go-kart track and the indoor play park.
The indoor barns play park is particularly well done and as it’s indoors the younger members of the family will be able to enjoy their visit whatever the weather is doing. It’s a nice touch having a covered area like this and it means you won’t have a wasted day if the skies turn grey.
They’ve even put picnic tables in there so you can eat a packed lunch hidden away from the often miserable Scottish weather. I only wish all other attractions in Scotland would think to put a cover over their picnic benches.
There’s also a falconry area with a beautiful collection of birds where the keepers put on daily shows so you’ll get to watch them swooping about up close. Next to that is an enclosure with some playful otters and yet again there are regular feeding shows to watch.
Families will likely want to take a picnic along with them as there are a couple of outside eating areas, but there’s also a nice little courtyard cafe if you fancy something cooked on-site.
The courtyard includes a decent shop that sells everything from whisky to clothes and a really good selection of home-grown locally-produced food.
The Scottish Deer Centre is a first-class tourist attraction and it gets a massive thumbs-up from me mainly because the keepers have got so much pride and enthusiasm for the animals they look after. If they can instil even a tiny bit of that onto the children who visit I think our wildlife might have a bright future yet.
What I liked about this attraction
- It’s great fun feeding the deer
- Kids will love this attraction
- The falconry display is brilliant
My top tips
- This is one of the few attractions I’d recommend visiting at the weekend rather than mid-week as the Scottish Deer Centre hosts regular school tours which means it’s often packed with hordes of exciteable children Monday to Friday
Address and map
The Scottish Deer Centre,
Bow of Fife,
Opening Hours: Open every day (except Christmas and New Years Day)
1st July – 31st August: 10am – 5:30pm
1st Sept – 30th June: 10am – 4:30pm
Getting there: Car park on-site
Getting around: Disabled access, Easy-access paths, Pushchair access
On-site conveniences: Gift shop, Hot drinks, Picnic area, Restaurant or cafe, Snacks, Toilets