Aquarium to get 'Fin-tastic' Upgrade
Plans for an exciting upgrade to Macduff Marine Aquarium have been revealed - and we'd love to hear your thoughts!
Earlier this year Aberdeenshire Council announced its successful bid for the UK Government’s Levelling Up funds for development of cultural and heritage opportunities in Macduff and Peterhead. The “Cultural Tides: North Sea Connections in Aberdeenshire” project will focus on the renovation and extension of Macduff Marine Aquarium and the development of a cultural quarter in Peterhead centred around the vacant Arbuthnot House. The project for Macduff Marine Aquarium – operated by Live Life Aberdeenshire – is underway and the plans have now been revealed.
We're very excited that the aquarium building will be expanded to accommodate increased display and activity space and a café-restaurant.
A second storey will be added for a café/restaurant with magnificent views to the Moray Firth and inside to the central kelp tank. External viewing decks will provide great vantage points for wildlife spotting! The café/restaurant will be run separately from the aquarium, offering a business opportunity for a hospitality provider.
Inside, the central tank, general layout and displays will remain, but the exhibits will be upgraded and include new features and interpretation. The visitor experience will feel fresh and innovative, whilst maintaining the aquarium’s essential elements that have been so popular with our customers.
Education and conservation are at the heart of the aquarium’s operations and the expansion will provide space for a lobster hatchery and a dedicated learning room to allow hands on activities and events for learners of all ages. The lobster hatchery will see lobster larvae being grown for release into the wild to boost wild populations, be a focus of interest and support the lobster fishery in years to come.
Aberdeenshire Council's principal architect, Craig Matheson, is heading up the design team for the project. The extension design is s is influenced by the aquarium’s context near to the harbour and engages the building with its coastal setting and sea views, creating an exciting first impression for visitors as they arrive. The surrounding area will be landscaped to improve biodiversity and encourage people to use the space with children’s activities, whilst the proposals will be mindful of nearby residential properties. The building will be upgraded to meet modern standards for energy efficiency and sustainability.
We'd love to hear what you think - you can look at the plans and feed back your comments or come along to public engagement sessions - the first one is on Tuesday 12th September at the aquarium, from 5pm - 7pm.
It's expected the proposed works will be carried out next year and the aquarium will be closed during this time, ready to reopen bigger and better in Spring 2025.