Dino Snores: A special sleepover at the Natural History Museum
Love Dinosaurs? Then Dino Snores is a must-do experience!
Like most children, my seven-year-old loves dinosaurs and it’s easy to see why; they are just so fascinating and the Natural History Museum, one of the best museums in the UK, is a highlight for him whenever we visit London. Its fantastic exhibition of dinosaur fossils is known across the country and the building itself is just a wondrous place with monkeys and snake sculptures adorning the archways and inviting curiosity. When we found out that the Natural History Museum offers unique sleepover experiences, called Dino Snores, it went straight to the top of my son's bucket list and the chance to spend a night in a museum under the 25m blue whale skeleton was a dream come true. Here's our review:
So one November afternoon we jumped on a train from Cardiff to London and headed through the festivities in Hyde Park over to the museum to begin our Dino Snores adventure. Already lots of children were excitedly waiting to get inside and there was a good mix of groups such as scouts and schools, as well as families and friends. Dino Snores has also teamed up with Airbnb allowing for Dino snores guests a chance to win a place at the Airbnb base camp and even if you don't get a lucky ticket, there is plenty of sleeping space in the museum and each person is provided with a camping mat (although many bring along an extra one and double up for a little bit more comfort!).
Once we settled into our camp and sorted out our essentials, we couldn't wait for the evening to begin. The atmosphere at this point was really electric with everyone in awe of being in the museum after hours. Dino Snores is much more than just spending a night sleeping in the museum with four roarsome activities included, and because of the slick organisation, none of these feel overcrowded.
First up was an educational science show about sharks presented by one of the museum scientists. It was really interesting for both children and adults and gave us the chance to hold some fossilised teeth. After the show, we then headed back to base camp for an evening snack and this gave the children a chance to get to know some of the other campers before the second activity started.
Next up was the dinosaur t-shirt making workshop which was hands-on, educational and heaps of fun that allowed the children to be as creative as they wanted with each design being unique to the child and ready to pick up the next morning before leaving. We then headed to the most anticipated activity of the evening, the torch-lit trail through the dinosaur gallery in search of the answer to a question by finding different crayon rubbing stations to reveal the dinosaur you need to find. Of course, T.Rex was out in full fearsome force and this late night treasure hunt was a real highlight and a great way to end the evening.
At around 11:30pm everyone heads to their sleeping area giving enough time to brush teeth and get ready for bed before the lights go out at midnight. For many, this is a much later bedtime but as Dino Sores requires the child to be a minimum of 7yrs old, which my son was, it’s manageable for them, especially as they are just so excited by the whole thing. I thought that with so many people in the museum I wouldn't get any sleep but we both slept soundly until just before 7am, with enough time to get dress, packed and tuck into a simple breakfast which is provided.
After breakfast there is one last Dino Snores treat in the form of a funny and engaging animal show, of course with that many children there is no way they can all get up close with the animals, insects and reptiles so that is reserved for children who have recently celebrated a birthday but as the presenter is so animated it’s really not an issue and he managed to get the crowd involved in one way or another. Once the show is over and everyone has picked up their bags and t-shirt you have around half an hour to explore the museum before it opens to the public. We actually ended up spending a few more hours here as it’s just such a great place.
The whole night was surreal, fantastic and magical all rolled into one. Whilst the Dino Snores experience is a little on the pricey end (£60 per person), I highly recommend; it’s something we will never forget! So far, additional dates have been confirmed for January to May 2018, but lots have already sold out, so you'll need to be quick!
Love sleepovers? How about sleeping outdoors? Here's our guide to family-friendly events for happy campers.