Sitting overlooking the Moray Firth, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) Scottish Dolphin Centre is a fantastic attraction you can visit in Spey Bay. It’s the perfect welcome to the Scottish Highlands, with great things to do and see, including the tremendous local Bottlenose Dolphins, Ospreys, and more!
Whether you’re interested in seeing the wealth of wildlife, learning about Scottish fishing heritage during a tour, or want to sample some delicious Scottish cuisine – the Scottish Dolphin Centre is an unmissable attraction in the heart of Spey Bay. Best of all, it’s along the route for the North Coast 250!
We’ll cover everything you need to know about the Scottish Dolphin Centre, the top things to do while you’re visiting, and events and accommodation options. Let’s jump right into it!
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About the Scottish Dolphin Centre
The Scottish Dolphin Centre is the public face visitor centre for the Charity Whale and Dolphin Conservation. It is the leader in conservation efforts for the dolphins and whales that call the Moray Firth their home. They are situated on top of a former salmon fishing station, which lasted 250 years! A true testament to Spey Bay’s fishing heritage.
In the words of famed BBC presenter and wildlife film maker Simon King OBE, “Scotland is one of the best land-based dolphin-watching hot spots in the world.”
The visitor centre is open Thursday – Monday, 10:30AM to 3:30PM, and closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so it’s essential to plan your visit accordingly. Entry to the centre is free, and there’s accessible parking near the centre as well. We recommend coming early as the parking lot can fill quickly on the centre’s open days.
Things to do at the Scottish Dolphin Centre
The Scottish Dolphin Centre is filled with things to do, most of which are free! We will cover the top things to do at the Scottish Dolphin Centre, and we recommend you set aside an entire day to see the attractions that the Scottish Dolphin Centre offers.
See the Amazing Bottlenose Dolphins
The foremost attraction you enjoy while at the Scottish Dolphin Centre is seeing the bounding dolphins of the Moray Firth. The Centre has exhibitions that teach you about these beautiful creatures, and you can enjoy land-based dolphin watching from the centre!
Bottlenose dolphins regularly play in the Moray Firth, and the waters are home to about 190 of the world’s largest and most northerly bottlenose dolphins! That’s only some of you can see, though, as the Firth is also home to a wide variety of animals like Minke whales and dolphins, seals, otters, and osprey.
The Moray Firth is home to many animals for visitors to see, making it an incredible drop-off point to take friends and family during your Scottish adventure.
Visit the Tugnet Ice House
If you want to dive deeper and discover Spey Bay’s fishing heritage, there’s no better way than to take a tour of the historic Tugnet Ice House, Scotland’s largest surviving Icehouse.
This looks into the past and is right next to the Scottish Dolphin Centre and offers daily tours from the Scottish Dolphin Centre. You can learn about Spey Bay’s fishing industry over 250 years ago, as well as the process of how salmon were fished, stored, and then sold centuries ago.
Tugnet is a brilliant look into the past and will undoubtedly thrill anyone who takes the opportunity to learn about its history!
Enjoy Beautiful Walks
One of the best ways to go sightseeing for fauna and flora is to enjoy one of the beautiful walks along the tumultuous River Spey. Guests can indulge in the natural beauty of Scotland and see the abundant bird life and fish that call this stunning river their home.
Taking a wildlife walk is a superb way to spend time with friends and family and is perfect for winding down the day after a delicious meal and a day of activity. Enjoy a trip to Spey, spot a seal, and keep an eye out for the dolphins of the Moray Firth.
Enjoy the Centre’s Exhibitions
Travel to the Scottish Dolphin Centre for the chance to see the incredible and interactive exhibition area. You’ll love the exhibition area if you’re interested in learning about bottlenose dolphins, whales, seals, and the vital conservation effort that surrounds them.
The visitor centre is also home to a lovely gift shop, with plenty of souvenirs for guests to take home after an eventful day of enjoying the sights the visitor centre offers! And if you’re feeling starving, then you’ll be happy to know that the Scottish Dolphin Centre has a sit-in cafe!
Enjoy delicious home-cooked food with a range of gluten-free and vegan options available. There’s nothing better than table service with views out to the Moray Firth, where you can see Bottlenose Dolphins and browse the menu simultaneously.
The Scottish Dolphin Centre holds various unique events, both big and small, throughout the year. Guests can book and join in events like early morning walks around Spey Bay, cameras at the ready for any sign of Bottlenose dolphins, or come to see otters and osprey and discover Spey Bay’s eternal nature at the Centre’s Osprey and Otter walks. There are also events held for children, with plenty of games to entertain toddlers to adolescents alike.
While the Scottish Dolphin Centre does not have its town accommodation, there are plenty of accommodation options in the nearby towns and villages. Elgin is the closest town to Spey Bay, with plenty of opportunities for hotels and bed and breakfasts!
Otherwise, if self-catering is your style, you can sample plenty of the most homely villages that overlook Spey Bay and the Moray Firth.Thinking Of Booking A Trip? Check Out Our Top Accommodation Options In Elgin