Awarded five stars by the Scottish National Tourist Board in 2007, this exhibition center is the most-visited place in the Highlands, packing in more than 200,000 visitors annually. As such, it's the biggest attraction in the region. It showcases more than just the myths and lore associated with the Loch Ness Monster: It's a multimedia celebration of the lake and the region which surrounds it, with exhibitions showcasing the unique ecology and geology of the lake and the role it has played in the historical, cultural, and literary evolution of Scotland.
In addition to a general overview of the lake and its role within the Highlands, it documents the legend of the Loch Ness Monster from A.D. 565 to the present in photographs, audio, and video. On the premises are shops selling tartans, Scottish crafts, cashmere, whisky, and souvenirs of everything to do with the Highlands. For an supplemental fee, you can take an hour-long boat ride on the lake aboard the Deep Scan, wherein pre-recorded commentary is available in up to 12 languages. Warning: If you're driving to this exhibition center from Fort William, be careful not to confuse this award-winning site with a tackier, "unofficial" exhibition center that sits almost immediately next door, and which you'll see first. This less desirable competitor is identified as ?The Original Loch Ness Visitor Center? but it?s less comprehensive and is viewed as something of a maverick by local tourist authorities.
If time is limited and you can't actually get up to Inverness, the organization maintains a partial clone of the exhibition center in Edinburgh: The 3D Loch Ness Experience, 1 Parliament Square, EH1 1RE Edinburgh. (Tel. 131/ 225-2290) While dispensing information about the charm and majesty of the Scottish Highlands, it keeps the mystery of the Loch Ness monster at center stage through photos, voice-over commentary, and 3D effects.