I recently wrote about alphabet ‘dating’, where I shared some examples of things to do as a family with one (or two) ideas per letter of the alphabet.
Well, the other weekend I had the kids and I decided that we would try and tick off our first letter from the list. We were headed through to Edinburgh to visit some friends, and instead of going straight to our destination, we made a pit stop at Whitburn to visit the Scottish Owl Centre… and in the process we checked Letter O off from our list.
The Scottish Owl Centre is situated within Polkemmet Country Park, and the kids loved the play park that was nearby the centre. The zip line was a huge hit! The weather hadn’t been the best, and so we were well prepared with waterproof trousers/suits. The kids were able to fly down the slides safe in the knowledge that they weren’t going to get wet. What a blast they had! After investigating the park, we headed into the Scottish Owl Centre. It’s the largest collection of owls in the world and we enjoyed looking in all the cages searching for each of the owls. They are such interesting creatures. We loved watching them twist their heads round!
My mum collected owls, so I’ve always been keen on owls as a result and have a number of owl ornaments in my home.
There are parts of the centre that are a bit tired, like the hands-on educational activities in the photo above. However the kids were oblivious and enjoyed answering the quizzes and trying the puzzles.
Their favourite part of the centre was the owl tunnel slide. I think they would have happily spent hours going up and down that chute ^
It was the flying display however that was my favourite part. The kids got a little bored of sitting, but I loved watching the owls fly across the room. One of them clipped my head as it went over the top of us!! What wasn’t so pleasant was the owl being paraded past us at the end with a dead chick hanging out of its mouth… thankfully we weren’t too squeamish.
After the flying display we paid to have our photo taken with the owl – both kids had a shot of holding Lulu, who was rather cute! Then of course we had to hit the gift shop and they both were lucky enough to have a soft toy owl bought for them.
Before leaving, we went to the cafe for a bite to eat and unfortunately the service wasn’t good. We had to wait a long time for our lunch (tuna panini for the kids and a baked potato for me) by which point the kids were desperate to eat. That was a bit stressful, but the staff did acknowledge and apologise for the delay and we were given 10% off our bill.
I’m not sure if the Scottish Owl Centre would be worth the trip for the centre alone, but given that we were passing by I was happy to de-tour to check it out. The entrance fee is £7.50 for adult and £5.50 for a child so I think you do need to spend 3-4 hours there to make it worthwhile. We also paid an additional £6 per child for their photo with the owl, then a further £12 each for their soft toy (there were cheaper options, but we went for the larger sized toy!) and then lunch on top of that! It wasn’t a cheap visit! I think the play park outside of the centre saved the trip because the ‘adventure playground’ advertised on the Scottish Owl Centre website is really just the owl slide photographed above.
This has turned into a bit of a negative post, which wasn’t intended. However, I want to give you my honest thoughts. I’m glad we went to the Scottish Owl Centre, but I’m not sure that we’ll be going back anytime soon. If I were to ask the kids if they’d like to go back, they’d probably say yes… mainly to revisit the play park outside the centre.
Have you been to the Scottish Owl Centre? What did you think?