A couple of months back Das and I booked something we thought sounded pretty amazing. Dinosnores! An overnight stay at the beautiful Natural History Museum.
Leading up to the event I was so excited, just like a kid at Christmas. I worked from home Friday as we had to take pillows and sleeping bags and I couldn’t face lugging that to work during peak time.
With gates set to open to the 300 guests at 6.30pm, we aimed to be there just gone 6 and weren’t the only ones with that idea – a queue of maybe 50 odd people had already started.
We soon started slowly moving through, a thorough bag search was carried out, our bookings were checked, wrist bands to identify which of three teams we were part of handed out and we were given our table number. We were also given two mats each to be used as a mattress and then had to chose our spot. We were lucky to find some space right next to Dippy, the Diplodocus.
Once settled we headed to the bar with a voucher for a free drink. Some prosecco was ordered and we waited for the hall to fill up.
After an introductory chat, the evening’s events were explained and we headed to the restaurant for a sit down meal. The table had 4 seats free and luckily the starters at 2 of those appeared to be veggie. We sat next to a friendly couple named Sarah and Andy who, unknown to us at the time would make the evening extra cool! Dinner was actually very nice, a rocket and sweet potato starter, polenta with delicious mushrooms for a main and finally the most delicious chocolate mousse to finish off. Washed down with some white wine and decent conversation.
Once dinner was complete we saw the purpose of the three groups, we’d all be heading off to one of three events and then rotate. Our first stop was an excellent talk by one of the biologists on animal penises. I know it sounds like a totally odd topic but she was an excellent speaker, very funny and it was actually insightful.
Next stop, a comedy act. The Ugly Animal Preservation Society is a comedy night with a conservation twist founded in Great Britain by biologist, writer and TV presenter Simon Watt to raise the profile of animal species which lack traditional aesthetically appealing characteristics. Simon was funny and the act well rehearsed.
Then our final stop, a chat about gin. First speaker was from Sipsmith talking about the history of gin and Sipsmiths hand in helping get craft brewing of gin back on the map. And then a chap from the museum who looks after the collection of 5 million specimen of plants. We also had a chance to taste two gins.
What I loved about the chats was the enthusiasm and passion that all the speakers had for what they did.
By now it was nearly midnight. And for the next 2.5 hours the exhibitions would be open and we could roam as we wanted. So we all stuck together as a group and we did the following:
- Wildlife Photographer of the Year
- Buy drinks before bar closed
- Insect sampling (Sarah)
- Dinosaur display
- History of the museum
- Jurassic Park (by now it was 3am and Sarah and Andy went off to bed)
At 5.45 am Das and I thought we’d get some shut eye. And we managed 2 hours.
Up at 7am and we were going to have breakfast but decided to hit the road and have a big fry up at home.
What an amazing event. Would 100% recommend to anyone. We were even luckier to find that Andy was an avid dinosaur fan and had soooooo much knowledge about them. It was like having our own guide!