A visit to St Andrews Aquarium in Fife allows you to come face-to-face with a wonderful assortment of marine animals, including crocodiles, seals, penguins, and lionfish. The aquarium has expert staff on hand that will answer any questions you have about the 120+ species on display, and you can even join a penguin and seal feeding session.
|Opening Hours:||7 days a week 10 am – 5pm, last admission 4 pm|
|Admission Price:||Adult £13
|Parking:||Paid car park at Bruce Embankment (postcode KY18 9AB)|
|Facilities:||Toilets, gift shop|
No visit to the historic coastal town of St. Andrews is complete without a visit to the St. Andrews Aquarium. Situated on the north-facing cliffs of this historic town in Fife, you’ll find the aquarium building looking over the bay of St. Andrews, with its entrance facing the world-famous golf course.
Take a walk inside and you’ll begin an undersea journey into the habitats of some of the world’s most fascinating creatures, with an impressive collection of animals from across the globe that can be seen in custom-made tanks and enclosures.
Like most animal attractions, St Andrews Aquarium has daily interactive demonstrations so you and your kids can get up close and personal with the animals on display. Throughout the day, you’ll find sessions with penguin feeding (at 2 p.m.), reptile and spider handling (at 11.20 a.m. and 2.20 p.m.), and meerkat feeding (at 12.20 p.m. and 3.20 p.m.).
During my visit, I arrived just as the reptile session was starting so I got to hold a couple of (surprisingly warm) lizards, which is something I’d never done before, and I can say hand in hand that I loved the experience.
1: St. Andrews Aquarium houses a diverse array of animals from seals, penguins, and lobsters to exotic creatures like poison dart frogs and lionfish. It’s an educational trip that allows you to learn about the animals’ habitats and the importance of conservation.
2: One of the highlights of visiting St. Andrews Aquarium is the opportunity for interactive experiences. The aquarium offers daily feeding presentations during which visitors can watch as sharks, seals, and penguins are fed. Moreover, you also get the chance to handle some of the animals like starfish and crabs in the touch pool, making it an exciting, hands-on learning experience.
3: The location of St. Andrews Aquarium is a highlight in itself. It’s situated on the St. Andrews seafront, providing stunning views of the North Sea. After exploring the aquarium you can take a walk along the beach or visit the nearby St. Andrews Castle and Cathedral.
1: Parking is easy thanks to a 150-space car park just a hundred yards from the aquarium. If the spaces are full try the Murray Place car park off The Scores road.
2: After you’ve visited the aquarium, take a walk along West Sands Beach which was the filming location for the film Chariots of Fire.
The diverse collection of animals in St Andrews Aquarium ranges from lobsters to leaf-cutter ants, spiders to poison dart frogs, piranhas to seals, and penguins to meerkats, with every conceivable species of fish thrown in for good measure.
Although many of these animals are cute and cuddly (who wouldn’t want to hug a penguin?), some are quite deadly, with pack-hunting piranhas and the poisonous lionfish being particular highlights. Other animals are rather more sedate, like the fascinating leaf-cutter ants that can be seen walking along suspended ropes as they carry their heavy loads (for an ant) of green leaves.
British marine species are well represented at the aquarium and visitors can see a collection of sharks and rays in purpose-built tanks alongside information displays that serve to educate the public about the plight of our ocean’s wildlife.
Outside the building you’ll find two of the most popular aquarium residents: the Humboldt penguins and the harbour seals. One of the great things about this attraction is that, for a small additional cost, you can take part in a feeding experience and get close to these loveable creatures with a bucket of fish and some eager, hungry mouths to feed.
The seals in particular are great fun as they’ve been trained to obey certain commands which you can try out for yourself. Hold a bucket of fish, make a shape with your hand, and hey-presto! A hungry seal suddenly appears. Brilliant stuff.
This popular Scottish tourist attraction also features a gift shop and café, and as it’s close to the town centre it’s easy to get to thanks to nearby car parking. You’ll find lots of things to do in St. Andrews town centre after you’ve visited the aquarium, and there’s a nice walk to be found on the golden sand beach opposite.
Things to Do
Discover the Marine Life: At St. Andrews Aquarium, you’ll be amazed by the variety of marine life from all over the world. From colourful tropical fish to fascinating seahorses, there’s a whole underwater world to discover. This is not only a fun adventure but also an educational journey where children can learn about different aquatic species and their habitats.
Meet the Penguins: The aquarium houses a group of ultra-cute Humboldt penguins which are always a delight to watch. These endearing creatures have their own dedicated area where you can see them play, swim, and interact with each other. There’s also the opportunity to participate in feeding times, giving you a chance to get up close and personal with these lovable birds.
Experience the Handling Zone: This unique hands-on experience allows you to touch and feel a variety of marine creatures including starfish and crabs. It’s a fun, interactive way to learn more about these animals with knowledgeable staff on hand who will answer any questions you might have.
Reptile Encounters: If you’re brave enough, venture into the reptile area where you can meet the likes of a green tree python, Argentine horned toad, and Caiman (similar to a crocodile). Learn about these fascinating creatures and their natural habitats as well as their importance to the ecosystem.
Attend Informative Talks and Feeding Times: The aquarium offers daily talks and feeding times where you can learn more about the animals and see them interact with their keepers during feeding. It’s informative, engaging, and a great way to better understand the marine life housed within the aquarium.
Things to Do Nearby
St. Andrews Cathedral. The Pends, St Andrews KY16 9QL. 13-minute walk.
This was Scotland’s largest church in the 1500s and the site has been used for worship for at least 1,300 years. Much of the cathedral is in ruin but there is a 33-metre central tower (St. Rule’s Tower) that allows visitors a climb to the top for spectacular views across the town.
St. Andrews Links. W Sands Rd, St Andrews KY16 9XL. 2-minute walk.
The world’s oldest golf course. St. Andrews course was founded in the early 15th century. It is possible to walk alongside the course via West Sands Road. The clubhouse has a snack bar and a café.
St. Andrews Castle. The Scores, St Andrews KY16 9AR. 8-minute walk.
Ruined castle atop cliffs that overlook the North Sea. During the course of the 450 years that it was in use it acted as a bishop’s palace, a prison and a fortress. There is a museum inside the recently constructed visitor centre.
West Sands Beach. W Sands Rd, St Andrews KY16 9XL. 8-minute walk.
An exceptionally large beach that is backed by St. Andrews Links. The beach juts out into the area where the River Eden flows into the North Sea at Out Head. Car parking and public toilets are located close to the beach.
St. Andrews Botanic Garden. Canongate, St Andrews KY16 8RT. 20-minute walk.
A large botanic garden and greenhouses that cover 18 acres in the heart of St. Andrews. There are more than 8,000 plant species to view, many of which are exotics that are rarely seen in Scotland. There are woodland walks, a play area and a gift shop on-site.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get to St Andrews Aquarium?
St Andrews Aquarium is home to a variety of sea and land animals. Here are some of the critters you can expect to see:
Seals: The aquarium has both common and grey seals.
Penguins: They have a colony of black-footed penguins.
Sharks: There are several species of sharks, including the nurse shark.
Reptiles: They have a reptile room where you can find snakes, lizards, and more.
Invertebrates: This includes animals like octopuses and starfish.
Fish: There are many types of fish, from clownfish to lionfish.
Meerkats and Marmosets: These cute creatures are part of the land-dwelling animals at the aquarium.
Is there parking at St Andrews Aquarium?
The nearest car park for St Andrews Aquarium is the Bruce Embankment car park which is located 100 yards away (address: Bruce Embankment, St Andrews KY16 9AB).
How long does it take to go around St Andrews Aquarium?
It takes approximately 1-2 hours to visit St. Andrews Aquarium.
What animals are at St Andrews Aquarium?
St Andrews Aquarium is home to penguins, marmosets, octopuses, spiders, frogs, crocodiles, fish including piranhas and lionfish, sharks, rays, snakes, lizards, meerkats and seals.