It’s mid-October, and I am home in Edinburgh for the weekend to spend time catching up with friends and family. For one such catch-up, we decide to go on an adventure!
We walk through the doors and are greeted by a giant glowering wooden owl, which makes us laugh at the absurdity of a children’s slide having been depicted with such an angry face! We begin to wander, and the autumnal sun shines down upon the beautiful feathered occupants we have come here to marvel at…
“The Scottish Owl Centre is not a falconry centre. We specialise in owls rather than raptors, because we want to portray their unique charisma and charm, which is often eclipsed beside the more dramatic hawks and falcons. We believe they are also excellent environmental educators. Our motto, ‘Education, Inspiration, Conservation’, reflects the hope that by bringing people face-to-face with owls in all their beauty and by increasing public knowledge of the environmental issues which affect their survival, we will inspire greater interest in the wider conservation concerns of our world today.” [source]
I really enjoyed my trip to The Scottish Owl Centre. Owls are one of my favourite animals, and I find their little characters endearing, so I was always going to like this centre at least a little bit! but I was enchanted to see so many different species of owls. The centre boasts a tagline of “the largest collection of owls in the world” and I can certainly see that this is true.
The educational ethos of the centre is brought to the forefront with informative signage around each enclosure, as well as interactive informative toys for kids to play with. I am also pleased to note that the environmental messages were on point. It was great to see a mix of positive and negative stories of conservation being shared to both inspire, and allow visitors to take note of humanities impact on the world around us, and do so with cute animals to get out attention!
The highlight for us was the flying display. We waited inside a cutely decorated barn with the beginnings of trees surrounding the benches, and soon witnessed three beautiful owls showing off their magnificent wings and flying for us, all the while a informative guides shared all the information you could possibly want to know about the birds.
Did you know? The colours of the owls eyes will tell you what time of day they are most active. Orange eyes show that they are active around dawn and dusk. Dark brown, or black eyed owls are night hunters. It is believed to be an evolutionary trait which helps them to blend well in the dark. Yellow eyes, which can be seen on Hedwig the snowy owl, hunt during the day.
The Scottish Owl Centre at a glance…
April – August: 10.30 – 17.00
Feb, March, Sept, Oct: 11.30 – 16.00
January & November: Weekends only 11.30 – 14.00
Groups of 15+: £6.50/£4.50
Under 3’s and Carers: Free
Address: Scottish Owl Centre, Polkemmet Country Park, Whitburn, West Lothian, EH47 0AD OR use Google Maps here.
The site is fully accessible.
There are no dogs allowed into the Owl Centre, but the surrounding country park is a great place for a dog walk.
In the surrounding Polkemmet Country Park, there are other adventures you can enjoy to make this into a full fun-filled day, including: a cafe, adventure playground, 9-hole golf course, a bowling green, and a great variety of woodland walks.