Sleepovers to a twelve-year-old me are about all-night gossiping, too many sweets, a cheesy film (or two, or three) and not much sleep, usually partially wedged under a sofa or too close to a table leg. Not much has changed since then I guess, apart from the locations – today you can sleep over in some of the world’s best attractions!
Sadly for us grown-ups many of them are reserved just for kids, but we have found at least a few places that let adults join in the fun as well. Plus, someone’s got to be there to, ahem, supervise, right?
Taronga Zoo, Sydney
The Roar & Snore nights at Taronga Zoo in Sydney include overnight in safari tents and the chance to wake up to the sun rising over Sydney Harbour – which must be one of the best views in the world! Dinner and breakfast are included, as well as an early start and behind the scenes tours to make the most of the zoo before the crowds arrive!
Kew Gardens, London
Sleepovers here don’t come around all that often, but when they do it’s time to pounce. Activities include night walks to spot the local wildlife, campfire fun or arts and crafts. Then kids and accompanying adults get to sleep in one of the numerous exciting locations across the gardens – these have included the King’s Great Dining Room and the dormouse nests in the activity area!
What started off in Norway has now spread to Ikea’s worldwide, although it’s not a regular thing. You get to sleep in the bed department, keep your bedding as a memento and (we imagine) shop all night if you want! The catch? You can’t book it, you have to win your spot so look out for the regular competitions to take part.
Alcatraz, San Francisco
We’re betting that former inmates of this infamous prison in San Francisco won’t be able to believe that people are voluntarily spending a night in the cells here! You’ll have to do some volunteer work on “The Rock” to get the chance currently, but rumours are rife it’s set to become something more regular. A night tour just adds to the spooky appeal of this sleepover, whilst learning who formerly slept in the same cell as you, and what they did, is perhaps even less conducive to a good nights’ sleep than eating your bodyweight in sweets!
International Spy Museum, Washington D.C.
At “Operation Secret Slumber” at the International Spy Museum in Washington D.C. you will learn important spy skills such as hiding spying devices, getting a mole into the secret service and using an alias to conceal your identity, all in the course of finding out some top secret information. An evening snack, breakfast and entry to the museum to following day are all included too.
Busch Gardens, Orlando
Summers see family sleepover events at this popular theme park, making for an exciting addition to any Orlando holiday! You’ll get to explore the park at night when the animals are more active, and sleep at Tiger Lodge, which overlooks the tigers! Before bedding down for the night you can even go on some of the rides like dropping 200 feet on SheiKra in the dark, and in the morning you get an animal encounter too!
National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth
You can sleep with the sharks in Plymouth at the UK’s largest aquarium, and although they say it’s mostly suitable for under 16s, it’s available to everyone! It includes a late night tour of the tanks, arts and crafts, games, a big screen film by the Eddystone Reef tank, a midnight snack and breakfast.
Berlin Tropical Garden
This tropical rainforest theme park outside Berlin is an unusual location for a rainforest sleepover, but that’s exactly what you could get here. Choose from a tent in the middle of the forest or a lodge in the jungle, and expect a backpackers’ paradise whichever you pick!
Natural History Museum, London
At Dino Snores, which is for kids aged 8 to 11, you take a torch-lit trail through the dinosaur exhibits at the world-famous Natural History Museum in London. You’ll also watch a live show about minibeasts, design your own dinosaur t-shirt and sleep the night under the shadow of the diplodocus skeleton! The morning will see breakfast accompanied by a live animal show from Nick Spellman.
2013 Giant Sleepover
This charity event will see sleepovers big and small taking place all over the country on the night of 22nd June 2013 and we’re sure than many will be held in unusual locations and places where sleepovers have never been before. Sign up, get involved and raise money for Unicef.
And if you’ve got some spare cash, how about a night at London’s most famous toy shop, Hamely’s? Prices start from a whopping £4,500, which is for ten kids. Certainly a birthday party to remember!