Bosses at Aberdeen Science Centre are hopeful the revamped attraction can put the city “back on the tourism map”.
The centre in Constitution Street, which has been shut for the past two years to allow for a major refurbishment to be carried out, is welcoming back members of the public for the first time today.
As part of the £6 million project, an extension has been added to the building, while a mezzanine floor has also been created to house some of the centre’s 60 new interactive exhibits.
They include RoboThespian, a chatty humanoid robot, and the OPITO Theatre of Energy, a one-of-a-kind immersive experience featuring three interactive displays.
The exhibits are designed to cater for all ages and are separated into six areas; Energy, Space, Life Sciences, Make It, Test It and a dedicated space for the under-6s.
Visitors will also be able to experience the Shell Learning Zone, which aims to bring science, technology, engineering and maths to life in an effort to inspire the next generation.
Funding for the project came from a number of organisations including Aberdeen City Council and Opportunity North East, as well from oil and gas firms such as Shell, Equinor and BP.
Bryan Snelling, chief executive of the Aberdeen Science Centre (ASC), said: “This is the culmination of more than two years work so to come back and have brand new exhibits and a brand new setting is incredible. The only thing really that’s the same are the outer walls. We have kept hold of a couple of the old favourites so for those that fondly remember the sheep, don’t worry it’s still here.
“The Theatre of Energy and RoboThespian are two highlights for me but I love the fact we now have more than 60 new exhibits that are all ready to go and waiting for people to come in and play with them. Everything is educational – our mission is to inspire the scientists of the future.”
Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, a number of measures will be in place at ASC to keep people safe, including mandatory face coverings, reduced capacity and anti-viral fogging.
Mr Snelling said: “I can absolutely assure people that they will be safe here. We’ve got the thumbs up from VisitScotland and everything is in place to ensure the wellbeing of our visitors. We just want people to come in and enjoy themselves despite the current restrictions that are in place.”
It’s also hoped the refurbished centre can give the north-east tourism sector a much needed shot in the arm and Mr Snelling has achieving five star recognition set firmly in his sights.
He added: “What we’re trying to do is put Aberdeen city back on the tourism map. I think it’s a travesty that we only have one five star VisitScotland visitor attraction currently.
“We want to be at least the second but I think there should be more because the city has a lot to offer in terms of tourism. If we can get a lot more five star attractions, and if we’re one of them, then all the better.”