Plans for marine centre exhibits unveiled

artist impression of inside of new Marine Centre
Norette Ferns

The Scottish Seabird Centre has unveiled plans for interactive exhibits to feature in the new proposed national marine centre at North Berwick.

A marine theatre, marine laboratory and a stunning observatory are just some of the planned exhibits at the proposed centre, which aims to become a must-visit destination as well as being a high-quality facility for people who live locally.

Created in partnership with Event, one of Europe’s leading experience design agencies, the exhibits and attractions have been developed with advice from the Centre’s Marine Advisory Group led by Professor John Baxter, the principle marine adviser for Scottish Natural Heritage, and drawing on expertise from scientists, researchers and academics across Scotland.

Plans include:

  • Planet Ocean will creatively tell the story of how all life stems from the ocean. Clever use of light and 3D graphics will bring amazing facts to life, helping visitors appreciate that we depend on the ocean for survival and inspire them to help protect it.
  • The Marine Threshold will be an immersive experience using projections of film footage to allow visitors to feel like they are diving under the waves, giving them access to a world they’ve never seen before.
  • The Marine Exploratory will allow people to journey from shallow waters up to the heights of the seabird colonies of St Kilda and the Bass Rock, and then back down to the ocean’s depths. There will also be the opportunity to explore underwater gardens, forests and reefs, as well as finding out more about Scotland’s incredible megafauna including sharks, orcas (killer whales) and dolphins. The Seabird Centre’s popular interactive live cameras will be in this area.
  • The Marine Lab will be an interactive workshop area highlighting the remarkable story of some of the crucial marine research taking place in Scotland to help safeguard the oceans. Visitors will have the opportunity to engage and learn from regular ‘Meet the Scientist’ days and other learning events.
  • The Marine Observatory will focus on the wildlife that surrounds North Berwick. Visitors will experience stunning 360 degree views out to the Firth of Forth and North Berwick Law. There will also be information about the historical significance of the area including the Auld Kirk.

In the plans, the new centre will feature a dedicated children’s area where young visitors can discover a world above and below the waves. There will be hi tech virtual viewing devices such as snorkel masks, diving masks, periscopes or binoculars to see a wide range of different marine life. A 3D Marine Theatre is planned to showcase film footage that will bring the marine environment to life.

Accessibility is a central part of the plans: those with needs will be fully catered for with diverse displays and there will be the opportunity for visitors to delve into the level of knowledge they want to, as multiple layers of information are presented.

Grace Martin, project director for the national marine centre said:

"We’ve collaborated with some of the most respected people in the marine world to ensure we are creating an informative, inspiring and enjoyable visitor attraction. Our planned exhibits will connect people with the fascinating world of our oceans as well as showcase the importance of looking after them.

"The aim of the Centre is to engage with all ages, catering for different levels of understanding. We will signpost to other attractions, sources of information and opportunities for citizen science. More in-depth levels of engagement will be available for enthusiasts and repeat visitors, willing to dive deeper, with a changing programme of activities and exhibits."

Professor John Baxter, head of the Centre’s Marine Advisory Group, said:

"There are so many wonders to share, so many exciting stories to tell and so much to learn about Scotland’s seas. The national marine centre will afford all those that visit, glimpses of what is in the seas around Scotland and I’m certain everyone will be hugely inspired by what they see."

The new national marine centre is planned to open in 2020, timed for Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters.

Visit the Scottish Seabird Centre website to find out more about the proposed national marine centre.