What child doesn't love London's Natural History Museum, with its spectacular array of eye-popping artefacts and exhibitions.
So how about this for a birthday present idea with a real wow factor – a sleepover at the Natural History Museum!
It's fascinating enough in the day, but at night, once normal visiting hours come to an end and the museum has emptied out, a wholly different atmosphere sweeps through the historic building.
Starting at 7pm and finishing at just before 10am the next day, the monthly events, known as Dino Snores, are for children aged between eight and eleven, though adults are bound to get a kick out of it too. Groups must consist of a minimum of five children (with one adult per five children).
The well-organised events include lots of fun activities to keep everyone entertained. These include an exploration of the Dinosaur gallery, lit only by torchlight; a show called Revenge of the Minibeasts, about creatures that bite and sting; a chance to make plaster fossils; and last but not least, bedding down on the museum floor at midnight, under the globe in the Red Zone's Earth galleries, or just a short distance from the museum's centrepiece, the enormous Diplodocus skeleton in the Central Hall. Perhaps it'll go walkabouts once the lights are out. Maybe the whole place comes alive....
The next morning, everyone is treated to breakfast, over which kids will no doubt be swapping stories of things that went bump in the night, or the weird and wonderful dreams they had (hopefully no nightmares!).
With tummies filled, there are more activities to enjoy. The two live animal shows, AnimalMan and The Big Bug Show, are guaranteed to jolt anyone out of a possible lingering slumber.
And then, just before 10am, ten minutes before the crowds pour in through the entrance doors, it'll be time to leave, possibly with a few gifts from the souvenir shop, though definitely with a ton of tales to regale friends with back at school.
The Natural History Museum has an excellent FAQ page giving full information about Dino Snores sleepovers.
It's not cheap, but for a really special occasion, it's got to be worth it.