Family-friendly things you've got to try in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire

Did you know that 20 November marks National Children's Day? Some would say this is the perfect occasion to find a new activity for the family to try that's packed with fun!

Enjoy festive events

The 2021 festive season is upon us, and the North-east is the place to be to get into the spirit of Christmas. Expect wonderful events and activities for all ages including delightful Christmas markets hosting a range of festive stalls and Aberdeen's best Christmas Village yet. 

For more information around Christmas in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, click here.

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Go art spotting

Take the kids on a Nuart and Painted Doors trail. Turn it into a game with your little ones and see how many they can spot.

Find their muse

Have a trip to one of the region’s many museums. For the budding historian visit The Gordon Highlands Museum. For those interested in science venture to Aberdeen Science Centre or the Zoology Museum. If their heart belongs to the sea then sail over to the Maritime Museum. Or if they love toys look no further than Little Treasures Toy and Dollhouse Museum.

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Visit the Winter Gardens

Now this was one of my all time favourite things as a kid – I loved going to see the terrapins at the Winter Gardens in Duthie Park. Make sure to keep an eye out for the “disappearing frog” too.

Visit one of our beautiful parks

There are so many great parks and gardens that you’ll be spoilt for choice. Many of them have children’s play areas and some have pets corners too. Visit Hazlehead Maze for a fun challenge and see who can make their way to the centre quickest.

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Go to a farm

Speaking of pets, head along to a farm and meet some cute farmyard animals at Belwade Farm. Not only is it a fun day out but studies also show that there are many educational benefits that come with visiting a farm.

Meet some Highland Cows

If your little ones enjoy being around animals then don’t miss a chance to meet some of Scotland’s most iconic animals, Highland Cows. Aberdeenshire Highland Beef is the perfect place to meet these majestic coos!

Meet the fairies

Take a walk through Aden Country Park and Rothienorman Park where you’ll find sweet little fairy woods – dotted with cute little homes of mythical creatures. Remember to treat the fairy woods with respect as it can upset the fairies otherwise.  

Be an aquarist

Meet an array of sea creatures that live in the Moray Firth at Macduff Marine Aquarium. For the budding marine biologist don’t miss a special behind the scenes tour that will allow you to experience what it’s like to be an aquarist for a day.

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Take to the sea

Take to the water with some watersports activities – we offer surfing, paddleboarding, raft-building, coastal rowing, kayaking, dinghy sailing, water zorbing and even scuba diving in North-east Scotland so there is plenty to choose from. Check out this blog on watersports you’ve got to try here.

Hit the beach

Thanks to 165-miles of coastline there are a number of gorgeous beaches that are perfect for building sandcastles, paddling in the water and hunting down pretty shells. Don’t miss dune surfing at Balmedie Beach for a little added adrenaline.  

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Get a different perspective

See Aberdeenshire’s incredible coastline from a whole different perspective with Stonehaven Sea Safari. You can opt for a castle trip which includes Dunnottar Castle, the sea safari wildlife trip or the 4 Brothers Seaside Supper which includes a meal at the Quayside Fish & Chips. It's a bit chilly at this time of year for this activity, but keep an eye out for when the sea safaris return in spring 2022!

Take a walk

There is an abundance of beautiful walking routes here. Whether you opt for strolls in ancient forests, great estates and heathery moors or along the picturesque coastline this is a sure-fire way to tire out little legs.

Enter a storybook

Another popular family activity is a trip to The Den and The Glen (previously called Storybook Glen). It has an indoor facility and an outdoor playpark where you can meet your favourite enchanted characters.

Go nature spotting

Uncover your inner David Attenborough with wildlife spotting. Look out for dolphins leaping in Aberdeen harbour and seals sunbathing at Newburgh Beach. Read this latest blog on the exciting wildlife you can spot at the North-east's Nature Reserves.

Go to the carnivals

Codona’s is packed with fun including ten-pin bowling, dodgems, mini golf (both indoor and outdoor), video games arcade, two floor laser tag arena, aerial assault course, karaoke room and an outdoor amusement park.

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Take to the ice

Next door to the Beach Leisure Centre is the Linx Ice Arena where you can watch your children evolve into the next skating sensations like Torvill and Dean. There are public skating sessions as well as parent and toddler skating sessions and ice skating lessons.

Feel the adrenaline

Feel the adrenaline with a visit to Transition Extreme where you can try your hand at rock climbing, skateboarding or the outdoor ropes course.

Unleash your inner Tarzan

On a similar note if your children love adventure don’t miss Go Ape high ropes course. Daring crossings, speedy zip wires and unforgettable Tarzan swings all overlooking the gorgeous grounds of Crathes Castles estate.

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Castles, castles and more castles

Aberdeenshire is Scotland’s castle country and you may not know is that many castles now offer children’s puzzles and activity sheets to keep them entertained throughout the castles tours.

Make a daring escape

This is an idea for the slightly older children. A fast-paced challenge solving puzzles using strategy, creativity and logic in an attempt to escape before you run out of time.

Go to the cinema

There are lots of family friendly films showing over the remainder of 2021 including Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Eternals, Encanto, and Clifford The Big Red Dog. Head along to a showing at The Belmont Filmhouse.

Become a chocolatier

Who doesn’t love chocolate? Try your hand at becoming a master chocolatier at The Chocolate Bar or Cocoa Ooze. I can’t guarantee that any of that chocolate will make it home though and you’ll be able to resist eating it as you go along.

Giddy up

Hayfield Riding Centre in Aberdeen and Glen Tanar Equestrian Centre in Aboyne both offer hacks through picturesque woodland trails. 

Visit an activity centre

Choose from an extensive selection of activities at an activity centre. Deeside Activity Park, Knockburn Sports Loch and Lochter Activity Centre offer go karting, quad biking, archery, targets, fly fishing, orienteering and watersports.

Meet huskies

For all the dog lovers out there do not miss Huskyhaven. Experience the thrill of mushing with a team of Siberian Huskies.

Go Geocaching

Take part in Scotland’s only official Geotour – a modern day treasure hunt where you can track down the treasure also known as “caches”.

Enjoy a family bike ride

Take advantage of our many cycling trails and purpose-built bike parks. Tarland Trails offers 3km of family friendly mountain bike trails and for the more experienced rider The Deeside Way and Loch Muick both offer stunning views.

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So there's our list of some of the fun, family-friendly things to do in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. There are of course endless activities for kids to enjoy in the North-east - but we can't have this blog going on for that long!

To find more activities, visit out What's On or What To Do pages. 

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