Loch Lomond has always been a favourite place of ours since moving to Scotland. There really is something about the rugged landscape that engulfs a Loch that is just so typically Scottish. The vastness of the water and the peaceful air that seems to hang around the shores teamed with the expanse of hills and rolling mist.
A trip alone to Loch Lomond is worth a look if you've never been, yet having explored the area often, we decided to take a look at some of the other activities on offer there. One of these is The Sea Life Aquarium.
The Sea Life Aquarium is a short walk from Balloch train station and the trip is about an hour from Glasgow Central (30 mins driving) and costs just under £6.
The Sea Life centre itself offers lots of great deals for families and large groups, as well as advanced ticket pricing. I paid £8 for myself and my one-year-old who entered free when booking online (a price I found really reasonable for what was on offer).
The Sea Life centre is set over three floors, with a viewing floor at the very top, offering beautiful views out over the Loch. The centre also provides a gift shop, baby changing facilities, a cafe and even a safe place to leave a pram or buggy – something I'm always really grateful for!
The first floor is really the heart of the aquarium. As soon as you enter, you are immediately greeted with numerous tanks showcasing an array of brightly coloured fish, starfish and seahorses. There is even an otter house where at certain times throughout the day you can watch them being fed for a more hands-on experience.
This place is also here where children can learn about the native creatures to the beautiful Loch's of Scotland, which I found really interesting and relevant for its location.
Just on from this is the Rockpool experience whereby visitors can roll up their sleeves, delve into the water and even stroke a starfish. Here is also where we got to see the bay of sting-rays and the tropical ocean tunnel – our favourite part of the aquarium! My little boy loved seeing the fish swimming above his head as he ran back and forth through the tunnel and we were even able to see the sharks being fed. Loch Lomond shores sea life is home to the largest collection of sharks in Scotland so it's a real must-see!
The second floor is home to a cinema where you can enter and leave as you wish, which was a great feature for my little boy who enjoyed the snippets of filming about creatures being re-homed into the ocean.
The cafe on the third floor was lovely, offering hot and cold food and drinks. There was a sign saying that the picnic area was outside, yet as it was raining, we were free to eat our packed lunch in the cafe.
All in all, we spent a good three or four hours in the sea life centre and the great thing is, that once you've paid, your hand is stamped so you can leave and return as much as you like throughout the day. This really is a great value family day out that offers interactive play and learning for children of all ages – we will certainly be back again!
For more information about Loch Lomond Sea Life, see here.
The Balloon Festival features all sorts of entertainment in the park, during the Family Fun Day: music, dancers, birds of prey to see up close, a fun fair, stalls, classic vehicles and much, much more.