The Out About Scotland complete guide to St. Andrews Aquarium
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: 7 out of 10
About St. Andrews Aquarium
No visit to the historic coastal town of St. Andrews can be complete without a visit to St. Andrews Aquarium. Situated on the north-facing cliffs of this ancient town in Fife, you’ll find the aquarium building looking out over the bay of St. Andrews with its unassuming entrance facing the world-famous golf course.
But take a walk inside and you’ll begin an undersea journey into the habitats of some of the world’s most fascinating creatures, where an impressive collection of animals from across the globe can be seen in their 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 some of the creatures on display and throughout the day you’ll find sessions with penguin feeding (at 2pm), reptile and spider handling (at 11.20am and 2.20pm) and meerkat feeding sessions (at 12.20pm and 3.20pm).
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 on heart that I loved the experience. If you want the chance to see animals like this up close as well then I don’t think you’ll go far wrong with a visit to this attraction.
Things to do at St. Andrews Aquarium
The diverse selection of exhibits in St. Andrews Aquarium range from lobsters to leaf-cutter ants, spiders to poison dart frogs, piranhas to seals, and penguins to meerkats – with every conceivable species of fish also thrown in for good measure.
Although many of these animals are cute and cuddly – who wouldn’t want to give a penguin a hug? – 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 which can be seen walking along suspended ropes as they carry their heavy loads (for an ant) of chewed-up green leaves.
UK marine species are well-represented at the aquarium too and visitors will enjoy seeing a selection of British sharks and rays in their new purpose-built tank, alongside lots of information displays that serve to educate the public about the plight of many of our own home-grown ocean predators.
In fact, conservation and education are two of the core principles that the aquarium serves to promote and I can’t think of a better way of bringing our native marine species to public attention than with the St. Andrews Aquarium collection of Smooth-hound sharks, Bull Huss sharks and Spotted Rays as they swim around in their tanks.
Outside the Victorian building you’ll find the homes of the most popular aquarium residents – the Humboldt penguins and the Harbour seals.
One of the great things about this attraction is that for an additional fee you can take part in a feeding experience and get really close to these loveable creatures with a bucket of fish and some eager, hungry mouths to feed. The seals in particular are great fun and the keepers have been training them 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 cafe, and as it’s close to the town centre it’s easy to get to with car parking available nearby. There’s also plenty of things to do in St. Andrews town centre after you’ve visited the aquarium and there are plenty of lovely walks along the golden sands of the beach opposite.
As a top-tip, I recommend taking a look at St. Andrews Cathedral in the town centre after a visit to the aquarium because it offers amazing views from the top of one of its towers and it’s a beautiful example of medieval craftsmanship. You can read all about this popular attraction with my Complete Guide to St. Andrews Cathedral.
What I liked about this attraction
- It’s a well-laid out attraction with plenty to see and do
- The animal habitats are excellent and the animals seem well cared for
- It’s easy to combine with a visit to St. Andrews town centre
My top tips
- You can buy tickets to feed the seals which is well worth doing if you’ve got kids
Photos and video
Address and map
Prices and opening times
St. Andrews Aquarium has several ticket options, including an all-day pass, an annual pass, and feeding experiences. See their website for details.
- St Andrews Aquarium is open 7 Days per week: 10am- 6pm (Last admission 5pm)
- Cafe & Coffee Shop Opening hours: 7 days- 10am – 4pm
- Closed: Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day
- Closed: New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day
Getting there: Bus stop nearby, Car park nearby
Getting around: Easy-access paths, Disabled access, Pushchair access
On-site conveniences: Gift shop, Hot drinks, Restaurant or cafe, Snacks, Toilets
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