ellaslist's Wild Snore Sleep Over at the Australian Museum
By Natalie Bellamy, ellaslist explorer
If you want your children to encounter a once in a lifetime experience, look no further than the Wild Planet snore Sleepover held at the Australian Museum.
Master 5 and I experienced some quirky live creatures, saw the exhibits via torchlight in the torchlight tour and camped out in the Wild Planet Exhibition.
My active 5 year old is a child who I didn’t think would enjoy a trip to a museum but this experience was something else. The Sleep over is aimed at 5- 12 year olds and
the wonderful staff kept the children entertained and interested the whole time.
Welcome to The Australian Museum Adventure snore!
On arrival at 6:30pm we were greeted by the ever so friendly staff. All the childrens’ name tags were laid out and on your name tag you were allocated into your groups. We were in the Penguin group!
We were told to head up to the Museum’s newest exhibition- Wild Planet, to set up camp and explore. After much thought, Master 5 decided that we would sleep alongside a giraffe, zebra and hippopotamus skeleton. Once our camp (sleeping bag, yoga mat and pillows) was set up it was off to explore what this exhibition had to offer. The creatures on display were so life-like. It was hard to not think about the movie ‘Night at the Museum’ (and yes I was hoping these animals didn’t come alive in the night like in the movie)
Some of the animals in the Wild Planet exhibition included- Lions, Bears, a gynormaous Giraffe, an Elephant skeleton, Tiger, Monkeys and so many more. After taking in all the animals in the exhibit Matthew turned to me and said “You would scream if you saw a giraffe in our garden, Mum?”
Up Close and Personal with the Animals
After our exploration around the ‘camp site’ it was time for our first activity. This involved live animals and the kids excitement was building. The staff were so good with engaging the children and making sure every child got a turn to either hold, look or pat the creature in question, which included a Millipede, Cockroach, Net casting Spider, Stick insect, blue tongue lizard and bearded dragon. All the children engaged quite differently in this activity- some were right in front wanted to touch everything the staff had on offer and others were happy to just watch and a few weren’t interested at all.
Dinner is served.
Dinner was held in the Café on Level 4 rooftop and the views over the city were amazing. For dinner there was a selection of pizzas- cheese, ham and pineapple, supreme, bbq meatlovers and water and juice. Special dietary requirements can be catered for if organised prior. Thankfully for all the exhausted parents there was a barista whipping up much needed coffees.
Are you ready for your torchlight tour?
It was now time to get together with our fellow Penguins in the yellow team. We were armed with our torches and we were led around the Museum by staff member, Shenali. She was full of energy, very knowledgable and was able to engage the very excitable kid. Our torch light tour visited three galleries and in each, Shenali would ask the children to find different exhibits with their torches. This treasure hunt was great as the kids learnt whilst having fun. The first gallery was the Long Gallery, next was the Planet of Minerals and lastly was the much anticipated Dinosaur Gallery. Judging from the kids’ reactions this gallery was the favourite.
After the torch light tour had come to an end. It was time to get in our pyjamas, grab some snacks that were provided and head to the Museum theatre to watch the movie Madagascar 3. The movie set up was great, the snacks were yum (chocolate, chips, mandarin and drinks) but by this stage it was 10:30pm and my early-to-bed, early-riser little man was exhausted. He insisted on staying up for the movie but only got half way before giving in to his very heavy eyes. On the way to bed Matthew did say “Does the staff tuck us in?”
Good morning and Good bye
The night was long for me because I couldn’t get comfortable sleeping on the floor and that giraffe was looking at me the whole night!!! But thankfully we survived our overnight stay without any of the exhibits coming alive!! An announcement came over the PA system at 6am to say breakfast was served in the Café.
On arrival Matthew was given a Lion ring and a Lion toy, which he was stoked with. Breakfast consisted of a selection of croissants and muffins, juice or water and once again the popular barista was back (woo hoo!).
The sleepover concluded at 7:30am and it certainly was an overnight experience we will never forget. It was specifically designed for children and their families to have the time of their lives. I had asked Matthew throughout the sleep over what his best bit was so far and everytime he answered with “All of it, Mum”
For Me it was spending one on one time with my little man and watching his face light up with excitement the whole time at the sleep over.
For Matthew: “All of it”
- Bring an air mattress!! I was reluctant to because I didn’t want to have to bring the air compressor also, but the museum provides air pumps for you to blow up your mattress. I may have had a better nights sleep on an air mattress.
- If your family has dinner relatively early at home. Eat a light snack before you head into the Museum because the Pizzas weren’t served up until 7:30pm.
- Take a torch for your child but also one for yourself. So that if your child does go to the front of the group in the torch light tour with the other children you aren’t left at the back of the group falling over in the dark.
- The doors do not open until 6:30pm so there is no need to get there early (unless of course you want to sleep next to a particular animal). There is plenty of room for everyone.
- The sleep over didn’t start until 6:30pm so it is a late night for most children, but the experience is worth the limited sleep
- If you are driving, park at the Domain car park and get your ticket validated by the staff so that you get a discounted parking rate.
- Don’t forget your camera!!
- Check out the Australian Museum for updates on upcoming sleep overs. There is a Dinosnore sleep over scheduled for Friday 26th February 2016. Be sure to book your tickets via the Australian Museum website