Dino Snores at the Natural History Museum - 25th July 2015

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On Friday I got to experience one of the coolest things I have ever done and will probably ever do - sleeping underneath a dinosaur skeleton at the Natural History Museum, AKA Dino Snores! Dino Snores is on a couple of times a year (the next one is in August) and is not cheap, but it's totally worth it.

The evening begins with a 3-course meal and complimentary drink.

Dino Snores

Over dinner we had fun chatting to other attendees and trying to answer the questions on the quiz sheets.

Dino Snores

Dessert was an amazing treacle tart. I forgot to take a picture of the main course, but it was sea bream (I think) and mashed potato.

Dino Snores

Before the organised activities started we had half an hour to chill out and take a few pictures.

Here's Dippy the Diplodocus, soon to be re-homed *sniff*

Dino Snores

Charles Darwin looked particularly distinguished in the dim light.

Dino Snores

Some more Dippy and his excellent tail...

Dino Snores
Dino Snores

I definitely loved the fact that there were so few of us there, as it meant I could get photos I wouldn't normally be able to get, like this one...

Dino Snores

More Dippy. Such a good tail.

Dino Snores
Dino Snores

Our first activity was learning about the botanics of gin, along with a gin tasting.

Dino Snores

We were shown some plant specimens from the museum archives, some of which were over 200 years old. This is juniper, the main ingredient in gin.

Dino Snores
Dino Snores

Despite being a huge fan of gin and tonic, I'd never actually tried a 'sweet' gin before. Sweet gins are known as 'old tom' gin. If you want to find out why, then you'll have to buy a ticket :)

Dino Snores

We'd never seen this for sale anywhere, but apparently you can get it in Waitrose.

Dino Snores

The room also featured some gorgeous bird paintings by Aubrey Williams.

Dino Snores

Next up was a presentation by one of the scientists who works at the museum. I don't remember his actually job title, but he specialises in form and function, specifically looking at moths and other insects. Can you guess what this is a picture of?

Dino Snores

Spoiler: A fly penis.

He also invented this contraption, which he made by messing around with Lego one day. It enables scientists to photograph the fragile insect specimens from every angle without having to touch them.

Dino Snores

Finally, we watched a very geeky stand-up comedy set by one of the writers of QI. He told us some really interesting and funny stories about Bletchley Park as well as his failed attempts to talk to non-geeky people. I think all of us could relate. I don't have a photo of him, sadly.

Then were were free to explore the whole museum and make the most of the fact that there were only about 80 of us there, and as a bonus: No children!

First I took Nate to the mammal room, as he said he's never been in before. This was my favourite room as a child because of the life-size blue whale model, which doesn't get any less impressive as you get older.

Dino Snores

I remember at age 7 or so feeling sad when I found out the blue whale was a model and not a real whale, but also sad that all the other animals were actually real and were probably killed by Victorian hunters. The mind of a child is a strange thing.

Dino Snores

The museum is currently running a coral exhibit, which we got to go in for free. You can see how empty it was.

Dino Snores

We got to play with these underwater coral explorer cameras too, which would normally be swarming with children I imagine.

Dino Snores

During the free time, there was a harpist playing music (including the Jurassic Park and Game of Thrones theme tunes) dressed as a dinosaur in the main hall.

Dino Snores

We sat on the steps with our drinks and listened to her for a while...

Dino Snores

Then we wandered up to the higher level to take some more photos.

Dino Snores

There were also some drop-in activities including insect tasting and specimen sketching, which were really cool. I may have eaten some kind of ant and a worm thing, which was not pleasant.

Here's Nate taking a picture of me, taking a picture of him, from across the hall.

Dino Snores

I also loved the giant sequoia as a child, although now I wish it was still alive in the forest.

Dino Snores

Here's a monkey looking down on everyone, probably wondering why we're all keeping him awake.

Dino Snores

Here you can see where we slept. We are the black and light blue sleeping bags at the front.

Dino Snores

This is right up at the top by the giant sequoia.

Dino Snores

Another great thing about the evening was getting to walk around without shoes on.

Dino Snores

We ended our night at about 2.30am by seeing the dinosaur exhibit. I hadn't been in for years but I've definitely never seen it like this...

Dino Snores

We were the only people there. The only noise was the roaring of the mechanical Velociraptors, which was really creepy.

The shadows from the skeletons were amazing. This is not a Stegosaurus, but a Uojiangosuarus (pronounced wo-wang-o-saur-us).

Dino Snores

I particularly love this photo of the Velociraptor skeletons.

Dino Snores

The carvings all over the doorways are incredibly beautiful as well. Every set of carvings seems to be completely different. I also got excited by one particularly ornate door handle.

Dino Snores

Hello Mr. Tyrannosaurus. When you walk down the ramp alongside him, a recording tells you to "keep moving down the ramp please". It felt so good to stand there for 15 minutes pretending to be chased and taking stupid photos.

Dino Snores

Here's the Uojiangosuarus from below.

Dino Snores

And some big lizard hands. They look like they are saying "Why? WHY?!"

Dino Snores

The last photo before we went to bed.

Dino Snores

We slept underneath Dippy's tail.

Dino Snores
Dino Snores

They do turn the lights off after 3am by the way, it isn't this bright all the time.

I'm not going to pretend it was a brilliant night's sleep, because I stupidly didn't bring a pillow and several foam mats are not an adequate replacement for a mattress, but sleeping isn't really the point of Dino Snores.

In the morning we got coffee, orange juice and a full English breakfast before heading off home and sleeping for 4 more hours.

Dino Snores

If you love science and you ever get the chance to go to Dino Snores, you should absolutely do it. It really was a once in a lifetime experience and worth every penny and every minute of uncomfortable sleep.