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London with Kids: 5 Ways to Spend a Night at the Museum

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If you’ve seen the film (and sequel) starring Ben Stiller, you’ll know all about what happens in New York’s Museum of Natural History after dark, but did you know you and your kids can stay in an actual London museum overnight?  We can’t guarantee that any dinosaur skeletons will come to life, but you can expect your children to remember this particular sleepover forever.  It’s not a babysitting service, so you will have to come too, but judging by what’s on offer, that won’t be a problem!

Natural History Museum

Take part in your own version of Night at the Museum with one of the monthly Dino Snore events at the Natural History Museum.  The sleepover starts at 7pm and ends just before 10 the following morning.  Tickets cost £52 per person (£47 for members)) and include a torch-lit trail in the Dinosaurs gallery, a live show about animals that bite and sting, a workshop to create a dinosaur T-shirt, bedding down in the shadow of our Central Hall Diplodocus skeleton, breakfast, and a live animal show. 

Science Museum

Most kids are curious about how things work, so treat them to a night surrounded by machines and models at one of the Science Museum’s Science Nights.  These overnighters cater for groups of up to 460 children aged 7 to 13, with fascinating workshops, science shows, a sleepover among the incredible exhibits, breakfast, and a thrilling film in the IMAX Cinema. Spaces for the monthly events are highly sought-after, so book early.  Tickets are £45 each.Natural History Museum

ZSL London Zoo

Okay, it’s not technically a museum, but ZSL London Zoo has embraced the whole Night at the Museum spirit with its BedBUGS sleepover.  You won’t need an alarm clock here, as you could be woken by anything from a lion roaring to an elephant trumpeting in one of the neighbouring enclosures.  The sleepover takes place in the BUGS! section, so be warned - you will be surrounded by spiders and beetles (in glass enclosures).  Activities include talks about animals, games, storytelling, and a torch-lit tour of the zoo.  Tickets cost £50 per person and cover full-day entry to the zoo, overnight parking, and all sleepover activities. 

Golden Hinde

Pretend you are an intrepid explorer from the 16th century with the Golden Hinde’s Family Overnight Living History Tour, based in the full-size reconstruction of the famous ship explorer Sir Francis Drake used to circumnavigate the globe, Your kids will dress up as Tudor sailors to join the crew and train in navigation, barber surgery, and gunning before enjoying a Tudor style dinner and bedding down among the weapons on the Gun Deck.  A continental breakfast is served before you return to the 21st century.  Tickets cost £42.95 each.  The sleepover runs from 5pm until 9 the following morning and caters for children aged 6 to 11. 

British Museum

The British Museum runs six sleepovers every year for its Young Friend members, who can book through remus, the magazine of the British Museum Young Friends.  For just £35, the lucky 8 to 15-year-olds get to sleep in the Egyptian and Mesopotamian Galleries on the ground floor.  Typical sleepovers feature talks and activities related to a specific theme, such as the Ice Age.  The experience starts at 7pm, and you receive breakfast the next morning before returning to the present day. 

Image courtesy of Flickr.

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