ONE of the north-east’s most popular tourist attractions is to receive a birthday makeover to celebrate its 20th anniversary.
Macduff Marine Aquarium has stood on the shore of the Moray Firth since 1997, showcasing the amazing local sea life to visitors from all over the world.
With its unique open-air kelp reef exhibit, the aquarium has been a popular attraction and major driver for tourism in the Macduff area.
Tying in with the aquarium’s 20th anniversary, major works will begin after the Easter holidays to revamp the five-metre-deep kelp tank, which forms the centre-point of the aquarium’s displays.
This will include draining its 400,000 litres of seawater, stripping the lining off the tank walls before a new lining is applied and the tank theming rebuilt. The fish meanwhile will be held in temporary storage.
The whole job will take around 11 weeks to complete and will require the aquarium to close during that period, with the visitor attraction scheduled to open again in time for the summer holidays with a brand new look to the kelp tank.
The aquarium’s manager, Claire Matthews, said: "The kelp tank is one of our star attractions here at the aquarium and visitors especially enjoy watching our divers hand-feeding its inhabitants.
"We are very excited to get started and catching all the fish will be our first challenge.
"But first we’re looking forward to a busy Easter – after all, it’s the last opportunity for people to see the tank before the big makeover."
The aquarium team will be posting updates regularly on social media throughout the refurbishment process, visit www.facebook.com/macduffmarinequarium for more information.
Aberdeenshire Council’s head of lifelong learning and leisure John Harding said: "Macduff Marine Aquarium is a major tourism driver in the north-east and the time has now come for us to give it a birthday makeover.
"The kelp tank will be back with an even better reef exhibit when it reopens to the public later this year in celebration of the aquarium’s 20th anniversary.
"I would like to thank local residents and visitors to Macduff for their patience while this work is carried out and look forward to welcoming them again to the aquarium in the summer."
Salmon film documentary, ‘To the Journey’s End – the Lifecycle of the Atlantic Salmon’, by wildlife film maker Bernard Martin, is being screened for the first time at Macduff Marine Aquarium on Thursday April 13 at 7pm. Limited FREE tickets (including free aquarium admission) are available by contacting Claire Matthews at Macduff Marine Aquarium (01261 833369) before 12noon on Thursday, April 13 to book your place.