By Liepa Petraviciute
Isn‘t our university just stunning??
Before I wrote this article, I was struggling to find special places in Aberdeen, that no one has likely heard of. A friend suggested that although places may seem well known to me, they might not be to others. So I began thinking about how I felt when I first came to Aberdeen. At first glance everything, except the Old Town, seemed a bit grey and dull. However, bit by bit I discovered places that made Aberdeen much more interesting than I first thought. This article is dedicated to first year students still exploring Aberdeen and those who have maybe not yet tried to find its brighter side. To make it more attractive I’ve only included places that hide fun activities that won’t cost you a penny (except bus fares or picnic food).
- Zoology museum
This is one of the first interesting places I “discovered” at the University of Aberdeen‘s campus. I’m studying psychology so I have never had any lectures in the Zoology building and from the outside it seems like a dull building. Had it not been for my friend forgetting his keys one day, I would have probably never encountered this gem. When you walk in the first thing you see is the skeleton of a huge elephant, I was really surprised. It was even more exciting to find out that there was more to it – a whole 2 floors of a museum, completely free. It’s a great place to hang out with your friends or to bring your date. It’s not a crowded place, rarely anyone goes there, so you can have a little peace to explore.
- Cruickshank Botanic Gardens near Zoology building
If the weather is nice, I would highly recommend taking a walk around the university‘s botanical garden after checking out all those cute animals and birds in the zoology building. There’s also rarely anyone there, so you can take pretty pictures of your friends or your date, without feeling embarrassed. It’s such an “instagrammable” park, but saddly, I could not find any pictures that I‘ve taken of it. I suppose you‘ll have to go and have a look yourself.
- Seaton park riverside
Probably by now you can see that I really enjoy nature so most of these gems are nature based, but here it goes. Seaton park and the riverside of the River of Don is absolutely stunning. If you’re a first year at Hillhead Halls you’ve probably walked right through it and never stopped to admire the park. In the summer, the whole riverside looks like a jungle. When the weather is nice, you can have a lovely BBQ by the river with your friends. Just make sure to follow wild fireplace setting rules!
- Interfaith centre
This is a bit different than the others, but I was very pleasantly surprised when I found out about this place. I’ve already wrote a little bit about the Interfaith centre in my previous blog, but I just wanted to mention it one more time as I feel like not enough people know about it. Even though it’s a religious centre, its main function is to provide a safe and comfortable space for everyone. The staff members there are warm and welcoming, the tea and cookies are complimentary, it’s an absolute gem. If you’re ever feeling down or blue, don’t be shy and visit it. I can guarantee you that you will leave it feeling much better and more positive.
- The Sir Duncan Rice library
I know that the library has probably became home for some, but I’m 99% sure that most of you will not know about this “secret” service. One day I was desperately looking for a textbook in a High Demand section on the First floor and I encountered 3 rows of shelves full of DVDs to rent. I have a Netflix and Amazon Prime account, but it is exciting to remember the old days when you had to go to a special shop to rent a DVD. But this time, it’s all free of charge! And yes, it’s not boring, educational videos – it’s full of classics like Shrek, Kill Bill and Titanic. My personal favorites that I’ve discovered so far are “Some like it hot”, “Je tam Paris” and “One hour photo”. It’s a real lifesaver if the internet is down or your free Amazon Pime trial ends.
- Duthie park
This requires quite some effort as it is located in the south side of Aberdeen, but it’s definitely worth it. Duthie park and it’s winter gardens are open to the public free of charge. In the winter gardens there are around 5 large separate rooms. From huge cactuses to tropical forests, these botanical beauties will make you forget about the grey Aberdonian weather. There‘s also a very cute cafe and ice cream shop there, so you can enjoy the view with a delicious ice-cream.
There are art masterpieces like this one
This is me, enjoying all the warmth and plants
And you can enjoy a delicious ice cream surrounded by plants and warmth
I hope after reading this article you‘ve discovered at least one new thing you‘ve never heard of. I also hope that this inspired you to go out and explore this city more! Good luck and have fun!