Tue 25 Sep 2018
On Saturday, I was invited with my family to visit the Sea Creatures Tour Edinburgh at the Royal Highland Centre. The event features specimens of marine creatures, ethically-sourced and preserved using the plastination process made famous by artist Damien Hirst. The exhibition is brought to the UK in association with the Scottish Association for Maritime Science and is here in Edinburgh until 18th October.
My kids are 3 and 5, and I wasn’t sure how they would react to the specimens. But we have seen things like this in museums before and they have always been alright. There were lots of pictures of children and families on the website too. So we decided to take them along, and actually, they were completely fine. My kids have a keen interest in sea life. (I think we have Octonaunts and Finding Nemo / Dory to thank for that!) And they could certainly name more of the species on display than I could.
There was a free app which I downloaded on my phone, and this was a great way to keep them interested. You had to look out for codes on some of the exhibits, which you could scan and unlock Explorer Cards. Each card gave more information about the particular creature, including images, and film and sound clips. The kids really enjoyed finding them, and loved seeing the videos. There were 24 cards to find. We did quite well, but we could NOT find the last one anywhere. I suspect this is because it was for the Veiled Chameleon, and therefore hard to find! We cheated in the end and asked, but I won’t tell you where it is in case you want to look for it yourself.
The tour was very educational, with lots of information about each of the animals on display. We learned these fishy facts on our visit (and many more):
- Mink whales have baleen plates instead of teeth, which look like bristles.
- Whale sharks are the largest living fish in the world.
- The great white shark can smell one drop of blood in 100l of water.
- Orca whales are actually dolphins, not whales.
- Manta rays have the largest brains of any fish, relative to their body size.
- The sunfish can produce up to 300 million eggs at a time.
- Lobsters’ shells are actually exoskeletons (external skeletons), which they shed when they grow.
- Parrotfish are born female and change into males later in life.
In addition to the details about each creature, there was more information on huge boards around the exhibition. This covered many topics, including environmental issues such as overfishing, and what we can do to help.
At the end of the exhibition there was a children’s ball pool with interactive ocean-themed games. The kids loved this and it was a fun way to end the tour.
We enjoyed our visit to the Sea Creatures Tour Edinburgh. It’s probably not something we would have thought to go to, had we not been invited. But we found it interesting and my kids are still playing with the app days later! Tickets are £18 per adult when you buy online, and one child goes free with each paying adult. Great for anyone who’s interested in marine biology and anatomy.