Sleepover at the National Space Centre

Spending the night in a museum is the stuff of childhood dreams, so I was thrilled to find that space-mad Noah was old enough to take part in a sleepover at the National Space Centre.

Sleepover at National Space Centre collage

Pricing and Booking

We visit the National Space Centre several times a year as it’s our favourite day out. Tickets for the museum last a whole year so it’s also very cost effective for us.

Noah and Waggy at the National Space Centre
Waggy the dog came along for the experience!

Spending the night does cost extra! On first glance, it seems a bit expensive, with adult tickets to sleepover costing £40 (£30 for children). It was £70 for us to stay, but to be fair, we’ve paid more than that to stay in some pretty basic hotels. Overnight tickets include an extensive programme activities through the evening, exclusive access to the galleries, the experience of sleeping in the museum, breakfast, a planetarium show and a keepsake mission badge.

Booking for the sleepover at the National Space Centre was really easy online, however we wouldn’t have known about the opportunity had we not been following the museum’s social media channels.

Arrival

We arrived at the museum rather early, so we used our year pass to spend a bit of time looking around in the afternoon. We were really excited to see that the foyer had been thoroughly improved since our last visit during Brickish Weekend. The ticket desk that used to be quite difficult to navigate around when it is crowded has been removed, now there is plenty of space to view this wonderful display of real and fictional astronaut suits.

Astronauts display in the new foyer

At 5pm, the doors shut to the day visitors and we put our sleeping bags in the ‘picnic’ room where they would remain until it was time to get into bed. At 6pm we were allowed back into the galleries to enjoy the Space Lates programme.

Space Lates

There’s no need to sleep over to take part in the museum’s Space Lates event. From 6pm until 9pm on selected dates it’s possible to visit the museum, not only to see the exhibitions but to take part in activities and see talks about various space subjects from special guests.

Meteorites under the microscope

There were plenty of family friendly activities to take part in. Noah enjoyed investigating pieces of meteorite under the microscope and getting to see a piece of moonstone up close. He also had a chance to get crafty and build his own rocket. The fun part was testing it out!

Rocket launching

The museum’s cafe, Boosters, was open in the evening so we were able to grab a bite to eat. There are a few hot options like soup, hotdogs and jacket potatoes. We quite liked listening to the ‘Sounds of Apollo’ performance while we ate, although it was so relaxing I could feel myself dropping off.

Noah also sat through quite a grown up talk about the legacy of Apollo 7 and 8. I was really surprised that he sat through this talk which I think was more aimed towards adults, but he cites it as one of the highlights of the evening!

After Hours

Noah in the Planetarium

At 9pm the doors closed to the public and we were invited into the planetarium for a quick brief and an interactive quiz about space!

Exploring exhibits

After that, we were free to continue looking around the museum. This was lovely as Noah often finds himself competing for a go on certain interactive exhibitions; the quiet hours meant he could use them straight away.

Exclusive activities were also taking place for sleepover guests! Noah made his own mission badge to wear! Then up on the very top floor of the museum’s iconic rocket tower, everyone got stuck into a space themed problem-solving board game called Gravitrax.

Playing Gravitrax

This part of the evening flew by and 10.30pm was around before we knew it! Everyone gathered in a 60s style living room (it represents where families would have crowded around a black and white TV to watch the moon landing) for story time. We listened to a few space-themed stories including two of our favourites from home: The Darkest Dark and Goodnight Spaceman, both written by astronauts!

Bedtime

Our camp

There is the option if you’re really tired to go to bed at 10pm in the Shuttle Suite (a conference room) but if you wait up until 11pm, you can sleep among any of the exhibitions! How about sleeping under an asteroid belt? Or next to the Mars and its land rover? There are so many possibilities. The museum is also big enough that you don’t have to sleep near other people if you don’t want so you can have a bit of privacy.

Noah, however, did want to sleep near other people and we set our camp by the massive Earth globe!

The globe at the National Space Centre

We didn’t have the easiest sleep. Everyone nearby us seemed to sleep soundly, but it appeared I was the only one with a child that enjoyed waking me up every five minutes. Repeatedly, I was asked: ‘how long is it until 7am?’, ‘stroke my head’ and of course, requests to go to the toilet.

Morning

When our wake up call at 7am arrived, I felt a bit like I was hungover. Noah, on the other hand, was ready for action.

Breakfast at the National Space Centre

After putting our stuff away, we went to get breakfast in the cafe. I was so pleased to find out that they were serving hot, veggie sausage sandwiches (meat was an option too). 

Our final treat was a planetarium show all about astronauts!

Verdict

Noah loved the whole experience! I really enjoyed the evening’s activities! I’m glad I finally had the experience of staying overnight in a museum, but I don’t think I could have slept on the floor longer than one night! I need my bed!

 

CulturedKids

13 Comments Add yours

  1. This sounds great (apart from the lack of sleep!) I worked at a sleepover or two at a previous job in a National Museum. It was great to see how excited the kids were, and how much some of them already knew about space and other science topics! This sounds really reasonably priced, I’ll definitely consider it for Museum Boy #culturedkids

  2. Trish says:

    I remember taking my son to the National Space Centre a couple of times when he was younger and we all loved it. What a great experience to stay overnight, especially with all the extra activities on offer. I bet you were grateful for your comfy bed the next night!
    #culturedkids

    1. Definitely! I love the place but I’m not used to camping out.

  3. This sounds amazing, I would love to sleep next to Mars. A chunk of moon rock came to Norwich Castle Museum soon after the landings and I was too scared to go into the same room as it, in case I caught ‘moon diseases’ …. would be there in a flash now! #CulturedKids

    1. Wish I’d been around to witness the moon landing, it must have been such an exciting time! I hope I’m alive to see the first Mars landings!

  4. We visited the Kennedy Space Centre a couple of years ago and it totally blew me away. My girls would absolutely love to have a sleepover there. What a wonderful experience. #CulturedKids

    1. I love the Kennedy Space Centre! I haven’t had a chance to take Noah yet, although I’m sure he’d love it! The National Space Centre is on a far far smaller scale but it’s still fascinating to him 🙂

  5. I did the DinoSnores sleepover at the Natural History Museum in London, so I know how much fun these can be. Sounds like Noah was very excited, but then again, I have to admit I would be as well. To infinity and beyond! Thanks for linking up with #CULTUREDKIDS

  6. This place wasn’t in my radar so good to read your post today 🙂 The sleepover sounds a lot of fun, I would have done as well. In your opinion, what is the best age to visit it? because I have two young children 2 and 4. Thanks! #CULTUREDKIDS

    1. Hi! I’ve been taking my son since he was about 4 and he loved it since the first time we visited. It’s a very interactive, vibrant museum with lots of visual/auditory experiences so I’m pretty sure it would be exciting for toddlers. If I remember correctly, under 5s get in free to the museum. The overnight experience is for 6+.

  7. Emma Raphael says:

    What a brilliant adventure. Like you say, £70 is not much when you think of how much hotel rooms can cost! Thanks for joining in with #culturedkids

  8. This sounds like a night to remember! I didn’t actually know about the National Space Centre – how fab that they’ve even got a 60s style living room to relive the moon landings. #culturedkids

  9. What an amazing experience! The excitement of sleeping on the floor of a museum is definitely one for the children. Well done for taking it on! Noah clearly had an awesome time and all the night time activities put on sound brilliant! #culturedkids

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