Seafood Capital of Scotland


Distance from Oban: 3 miles
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  • Open: 2019: 01 Apr - 19 Dec: Mon - Fri 10 am - 4 pm ------------------------ 2020: 06 - 24 Jan: Mon - Fri 12 - 2pm 27 Jan - 27 Mar: Mon - Fri 11am - 3pm 30 Mar - 18 Dec: Mon - Fri 10am - 4pm
  • Tariff: Free entry. Donations welcome.
  • Children: Yes

Home » Activities » Attractions

Ocean Explorer Centre

At the Ocean Explorer Centre, let us take you on a journey of discovery into the sea to explore why author Arthur C Clark once said: 'How inappropriate to call this planet Earth when it is quite clearly Ocean.'

Turn into an oceanographer when you visit the new Ocean Explorer Centre at Dunstaffnage near Oban to discover how the marine environment works:

  • Put on a lab coat to view algae under a research microscope. Did you know these green blobs produce half of the oxygen you breathe - and soon perhaps the fuel that drives your car?
  • Get to know the technology that helps oceanographers explore the ocean currents that make Scotland's climate so much milder than the conditions in Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • Kids and those young at heart can crawl through our Arctic tunnel to find out what creaking glaciers sound like and what kind of animals live on, in and under the rapidly melting sea ice.
  • Operate an underwater observatory to discover what lives in the Firth of Lorn.
  • A cool (polar themed) little cinema shows short films about the work marine scientists from Oban and elsewhere do.
  • 13 molecule models are hidden around the Ocean Explorer Centre. Count the different atoms and answer the questions to receive a fishy reward! The kid's molecule hunt is available in seven different launguages.
  • My Beach Science Survey – take a clipboard and bucket and follow the clues to find out about the local ecology of our beach. Discover more about seaweeds and marine life and answer a riddle or two! Take photos as you go along and identify your finds back at the centre. A fun family activity.
  • Find out from Darcey how litter is affecting the planet and what you can do to help.
  • Film guides to the centre are available in French and German.
  • Our small but exciting shop stocks sea and science related items including fashion from Crubag, books, science kits and crafts. A small café is available serving drinks and soup, sandwiches and cakes.

The centre also holds a range of events such as talks, walks, workshops, readings and film screenings - and works with schools and special interest groups. Keep an eye on the website to check what is on next.

The Ocean Explorer Centre sits on the shores of the Firth of Lorn, next to Dunstaffnage Castle 3 miles north of Oban. It is the visitor and outreach centre of the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) - Scotland's premier independent marine research organisation and one of 13 partners of the University of the Highlands and Islands. See if you can spot the scientists while you visit!

During your visit you can also find out more about our Marine Science degree courses available here at SAMS UHI. Or, explore our website for more information


Email listing to a friend:

  • Ocean Explorer Centre
  • Ocean Explorer Centre
  • Scottish Marine Institute
  • Dunbeg, by Oban
  • PA37 1QA
  • Contact: Helen McNeill
  • Phone: 01631 559123