Aberdeen’s eagerly awaited Wild Dolphins will make their official first appearance all over the city today (Monday 23), when the major WDC tourism project is launched.
Around 50 life-sized, fibreglass sculptures of bottlenose dolphins – usually spotted off the North-east coast – will be popping up all over Aberdeen to form a trail for local people and tourists alike.
Organised by Wild in Art with WDC and the ARCHIE Foundation at the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital, the dolphins can be seen until the end of August, before being auctioned to raise money for WDC and ARCHIE.
Locations include the beach esplanade, Footdee, Aberdeen Harbour, Duthie Park, Hazlehead Park, Marischal College, the Castlegate, Aberdeen University, Union Square, Bon Accord and St Nicholas Centres and Balnagask Golf Course, as well as Torry Battery, a known hotspot for watching real dolphins.
Each of the brightly coloured dolphins has been sponsored and then designed by an artist, commissioned from across the UK to create a one-off design specifically for Aberdeen. The finished designs include a pirate, a diver and Spiderman, and dolphins made of mosaics, wool and willow.
Aberdeen is the latest city to benefit from the successful Wild in Art sculpture projects, which have previously seen giant cartoon Gromits in Bristol, GoGo Gorillas in Norwich and SuperLambBananas in Liverpool.
Stine Bang, WDC’s events fundraising manager, said: “The dolphin sculptures were inspired by the bottlenose dolphins who live in the wild on the doorstep of Aberdeen. Dolphins frequently bring a smile to people’s faces and these graceful, intelligent and social creatures hold a special place in our hearts, yet they face many threats. The Wild Dolphins event will not only delight visitors when they see them but will also raise awareness and vital funds for our work.”
Visitors from across the UK and beyond are expected to come to the Granite City over the summer to see the dolphins, with previous projects reporting an increase in tourist activity in the area and a boost to the local economy.
Trail maps are available from shops, libraries, community centres, hotels and other attractions and a smartphone app can be downloaded from today, which includes incentives and rewards for visitors who scan different Wild Dolphins on their phone.
First Aberdeen is also running a special promotion on its buses for Wild Dolphins visitors.