Ocean Explorer Centre

Marine Life Centres

SAMS, Dunbeg, By Oban, Argyll, PA37 1QA

    Welcome to the new 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:

    • You can operate an underwater observatory to discover what lives in the Firth of Lorn and what it sounds like down there!
    • 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 also 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.
    • A cool (polar themed) little cinema shows short films about the work marine scientists from Oban and elsewhere do.
    • The Café Scientifique serves breakfast, lunch, snacks and home-baking and our small shop stocks a small but exciting range or sea and science related items.

    The centre also holds a range of events such as talk, 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.

 If you use smart phones or tablets, bring them along to discover additional information and videos hidden throughout the centre!

    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 - 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... 

    4 Visitor Attraction
    Opening Times
    Open All Year

    Easter - 18 December: Mo-Fri 0930-1630


    • Cafe / Restaurant available on site Our 'Cafe Scientifique' offers sweet and savoury food and a wide range of drinks to all our visitors. We cater for vegetarians and those with a gluten sensitivity.


    • Toilets


    • Coastal Location We are located on the shores of the Firth of Lorn next to Dunstaffnage Castle. We encourage visitors to stroll down to the shore to continue their 'exploration'...


    • Free Parking On-Site


    • Baby Changing Facilities Available
    • Children Welcome
    • Highchair Available

    Leisure Facilities

    • Gift Shop A small shop area provides an exciting range of marine and science related products including books, educational toys, house wares, chocolates and cards.

    Special Requirements

    • School Groups Welcome We provide a range of workshops indoors in our laboratories or outside. To register a group please contact Helen.McNeill@sams.ac.uk or T: 01631 559430

    Transport within Scotland

    For public transport information to visit here from within Scotland, enter your postcode and visit date below.

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