Dino Snores for Kids at the Natural History Museum London is a unique sleepover and fun, educational experience for families. Enjoy a night at the museum taking part in activities, such as a torch-lit trail through the Dinosaurs gallery, and explore the museum without the crowds. Learn more about what to expect at the Dino Snores for Kids at Natural History Museum experience in this review post.
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Natural History Museum London
One of London’s most popular attractions, the Natural History Museum houses life and earth science specimens in its iconic and impressive building on Exhibition Road in South Kensington. The Natural History Museum cares for more than 80 million objects spanning billions of years and welcomes more than five million visitors annually.
The museum is home to life and earth science specimens within five main collections: botany, entomology, mineralogy, palaeontology and zoology. Must-see galleries and exhibits for families at the Natural History Museum include the Dinosaurs gallery, Hope – the 25 metre long blue whale skeleton – in Hintze Hall, the Fossil Marine Reptile gallery and the Earthquake simulator in the Red Zone.
Some of the fascinating items you will find on display at the NHM include the first T. Rex fossil ever discovered, the Wold Cottage meteorite (4.6 billion years old), the impressive mineral collection and the most complete Stegosaurus skeleton ever found.
One of the benefits of the Natural History Museum Dino Snores sleepover is having the opportunity to explore the museum without the crowds before it opens the next morning. More on what to expect during the Natural History Museum Sleepover in the Event Timeline below.
Related: Best Museums for Kids in London
Booking the Dino Snores for Kids
Dino Snores for Kids at Natural History Museum London is a truly unique experience that we found very well organised by the Dino Snores team. You do need to book months in advance since tickets usually sell out quickly. Tickets for the Dino Snores for Kids experience typically cost £70 each for adults and children.
For the September sleepover – a birthday gift experience for Little T – I made our booking six months ahead, back in February.
As of this writing, the 2023 Dino Snores for Kids experiences are sold out through September. Tickets are available for 7 October (the Titanosaur Special) and 9 December. Make sure to sign up with the NHM to receive an email alert when the next batch of tickets are released at https://www.nhm.ac.uk/events/dino-snores-for-kids.html
The one-off sleepover in October, the Titanosaur Special, celebrates the arrival of the colossal titanosaur that will be on display at the Natural History Museum until January 2024. This special experience is suitable for children 7 to 17 years old and costs £95 for adults and children.
For the Titanosaur Special experience, you’ll have the chance to go on a Jurassic animal encounter, discover fascinating fossils, watch a Dino Show and learn what it takes to become a palaeontologist. Read the latest updates on the October Dino Snores for Kids: Titanosaur Special at the Natural History Museum
Dino Snores for Kids Activities
In this part of the NHM Dino Snores for Kids review, I will go through the event timeline to give you an idea of what to expect at the sleepover experience. Spending the night at the museum is an exciting experience, and there were three activities for children to enjoy between 8pm and 11pm, followed by a bedtime story before lights out. One of our favourite parts of Dino Snores, as I mentioned before, was the opportunity to explore the museum before it opened in the morning.
6:30PM – Doors open / Set up camp
From 6:30pm, the doors are open at the Darwin Centre side entrance of the Natural History Museum for Dino Snores for Kids guests to check-in for the event. This is a large event with hundreds of people attending, and there was a long queue to get in, but it did move quickly and took about 20 minutes. At check-in, you will find out which group you are assigned to for the evening, i.e. Red T-Rex or Blue Raptor.
After check-in, we made our way through the museum to Hintze Hall, and set up camp at the area chosen for our group. We unrolled our self-inflated mattresses, set up our sleeping bags and pillows and went to the restroom to change into our sleepwear for the evening.
Once we were set up, Little T and I had some time to wander around Hintze Hall before the Welcome briefing. We looked around at all the exhibits, including upstairs where other Dino Snores for Kids groups had also set up camp.
7:35pm – Welcome briefing
Everyone was rounded up for the Welcome briefing in the centre of Hintze Hall under Hope the Whale. The Dino Snores team members introduced themselves, explained the rules for the sleepover and the activities that were planned for the evening.
The three main activities were a dinosaur T-shirt workshop, a torch lit trail in the Dinosaur Gallery and a science show presentation on sharks. We split up into our groups and set out for our first activity.
7:50pm – Activity
Our group’s first activity for the evening was the dinosaur T-shirt workshop, which was next to where Dippy the Diplodocus was displayed. The kids listened to a presentation about reconstructing a dinosaur’s appearance based on fossils, which included tips on drawing and colouring dinosaurs.
Afterwards, the children traced a sketch of a dinosaur onto a plain T-shirt and coloured it in with markers. The dinosaur T-shirt is a great souvenir idea from the Dino Snores sleepover experience, although the workshop did feel fairly rushed and the kids only had a short amount of time to work on their T-shirt designs.
8:35pm – Snack break
All groups headed over to the dining areas for a 45 minute evening snack break. Food items are collected at check-in and then distributed at the evening snack break. Little T and I already had dinner in South Kensington, right before arriving at the museum, so we had just brought some cookies for an evening treat.
Some people brought along a picnic dinner, while others, like us, had a light snack or dessert at this time. There is no access to a fridge for either the evening snack or breakfast, and you will need to bring your own disposable cutlery, cups and paper plates. You will also need to bring your own coffee sachets or tea bags. Only hot water and milk (and small selection of milk alternatives) are provided during the evening snack break.
If you finish eating early, you can go back to the camping area at Hintze Hall, but do make sure to be back at the dining area on time to meet your group for the next activity.
9:20pm – Activity
The next activity for our group was the torch-lit trail through the Dinosaurs gallery. The group sat down for a talk by a paleontologist just outside the gallery, and then each child was given an activity sheet to find clues around the Dinosaurs gallery to discover the identity of a mystery dinosaur.
The lights were out in the Dinosaurs gallery and the kids went around with their flashlights, looking for the clues on coloured information stands. The dinosaur torch-lit trail was great fun and one of the highlights of the sleepover experience. Ideally pack flashlights for each person in your group – there are only a few that the Dino Snores team have on hand to lend out.
10:10pm – Activity
The final evening activity for our group was a presentation on sharks in an auditorium in the Red Zone, located at the opposite side of the Natural History Museum. The Super Sharks presentation was educational and fascinating, presented by Emma Bernard, curator of Fossil Fish.
We had a closer look at shark fossils, including a Megalodon tooth!
10:50pm – Get ready for bed
Once the activities have wrapped up, all groups make their way across the Museum to the Hintze Hall to start getting ready for bed.
11:10pm – Bedtime story at the Giant Sloth
I was absolutely exhausted at this point and struggling to keep my eyes open. At 9 years old, Little T was the average age of the children at the sleepover and he coped much better than I did with staying up until midnight! We all got together for a final time that evening to listen to a short bedtime story next to the Giant Sloth, before making our way back to Hintze Hall for lights out.
11:30pm – Lights out
Everyone settled down to sleep, and about an hour later, the Dino Snores team members went around if necessary to ask people to keep it down. There is security around Hintze Hall to make sure no one wanders off to other parts of the museum in the middle of the night.
I ended up being uncomfortable and hardly slept that night, although from about 1am onwards, it actually wasn’t that noisy and it seemed most people were fast asleep.
7am – Wake-up and pack up
By 6am, people were stirring and getting up to use the restroom. The lights in Hintze Hall were switched on at 7am as the theme of Jurassic World played out on speakers throughout the hall. We had already been up for a while and packed our things, ready to start the day!
7:15am – Breakfast
We were guided to the downstairs dining area for breakfast. A light breakfast is provided and consisted of a pastry, juice and fruit. Central Hall Café, the main museum café, opens at 8:30am, serving hot and cold drinks and a limited selection of muffins and other pastries.
You can also bring your own breakfast. Again, any food items brought to Dino Snores should be put in a sealed, labelled bag to be collected on arrival. There is no refrigerator available, so ensure that the food items won’t need overnight refrigeration. Make sure to collect your breakfast items in the morning before the breakfast break by asking a member of staff.
Before setting out on the morning activity, everyone packed up and moved their belongings into the hallway while the camping mats were put away for Hintze Hall to be cleaned up for the day.
8am – Activity
The morning activity for our groups was a self-guided trail through the galleries. This was a fantastic part of the experience to have a good hour or so wandering through the museum and seeing the exhibits without the crowds.
I would recommend getting started as early as you can since you will need to be back in Hintze Hall by 9:15am, and some areas are already open for the self-guided trail before 8am.
We were given an activity sheet with questions to answer, including some bonus questions specific to that day. Keep an eye out for a fun dino character bounding around the museum while you explore!
9:15am – Gather in Hintze Hall
Everyone is rounded up into Hintze Hall for the last time for the NHM Dino Snores for Kids team to make any final announcements and wrap up the event. The cloakroom opens just afterwards, and you can store your bags away if you plan on spending more time at the museum.
9:30am – Event ends, Cloakroom opens
Overall, we had a great experience at Dino Snores for Kids! Little T has always been crazy about dinosaurs, and the Natural History Museum is one of his favourite London museums. I had my eye on booking Dino Snores for Kids for years, and finally booked it as a gift experience for Little T’s ninth birthday. He absolutely loved the whole experience spending the night at the museum and it was wonderful one-on-one time for the two of us.
This is also a unique experience to book with a group of friends or family, to celebrate a birthday or other special event. I hope this review helps to give an idea of what to expect spending the night at the Natural History Museum and if this event would be a good fit for your party.
What to bring for Dino Snores for Kids
In this part of the Dino Snores at Natural History Museum review, I will go through what you need to bring for the sleepover. I packed two carry-on suitcases for my son and me, since we were going by public transport to get to the museum. The following items are what you need to bring for Dino Snores;
Sleeping bags and pillows – We used standard Mountain Warehouse sleeping bags. Bring a comfortable pillow, either a bed pillow or a camping pillow. If you are looking for compact option, I can recommend the Cabin Max Travel Pillow, which is made with memory foam and rolls up easily into a carry bag.
Self-inflating mats (optional) – A thin camping / yoga mat is provided for each person at the sleepover. For added comfort, you can bring along another camping mat or a self-inflating mat of your own, as long as it doesn’t exceed 2 inches in height. Inflatable beds are not permitted. Self-inflating mats that are 5cm thick (just under 2 inches) and easy to pack include: Trail Self-Inflating Single Camping Mat and Kamui Self-Inflating Connectable Mat
Toiletries – Pack essentials, i.e. toothbrush and toothpaste, as well as any other toiletries you might need for before bed and in the morning.
Clothing – Pack (or wear) comfortable clothes to sleep in (pyjamas / loungewear) as well as a change of clothes for the next day. Clothes must be suitable and warm enough for standing outside in the unlikely event of an evacuation at night. NHM suggests showing up in what you will wear overnight to minimise luggage space. We changed into our sleepwear when we arrived at the museum.
Evening snack – There is a 45 minute snack break at around 8:35pm after the first activity. Food items are collected when you arrive and taken to the dining areas, so do make sure to bring all the food for your group in one sealed bag, labelled with your name. There is no access to a fridge, and you will need to bring disposable cutlery, cups and paper plates if needed.
The café is closed in the evening and there is no food available to purchase. Only hot water and milk (and small selection of milk alternatives) are provided during the evening snack break. You will need to bring your own coffee sachets or tea bags, along with your own cups.
Water bottle – Bring along a water bottle to refill on-site
Torch – One of the evening activities is following a torch-lit trail through the Dinosaurs Gallery. Ideally pack one for each person – there are very limited torches available to borrow.
Optional items – Accessories for a more comfortable night’s sleep, i.e. ear plugs and eye masks, and a portable phone charger (there are no outlets to plug in a phone charger overnight)
Dino Snores for Kids Tickets
Dino Snores for Kids experience are usually designed for children aged 7 to 11. The October 2023 Titanosaur Special is recommended for children aged 7 to 17. The Natural History Museum requests that tickets are not purchased for children outside of this age range.
Tickets: Adult: £70, Child £70. The October 2023 Titanosaur Special tickets cost £95 for adults and children.
Event Hours: Starts at 6:30pm and finishes at 9:30am the following day
Book the Dino Snores for Kids experience at https://www.nhm.ac.uk/events/dino-snores-for-kids.html
Natural History Museum London Address
Address: Cromwell Rd, Kensington, London SW7 5B
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