We had a wonderful turnout for our first ever Stuffed Animal Sleepover last weekend, and we couldn't wait to show our loyal audience members all the fun! Our sleepover began on Friday night, when kiddos came to listen to a story, What the Dinosaurs Did Last Night by Refe and Susan Tuma. This event was open to all ages, as who doesn't love a good story and a little adventure.
After story time was over, the children left their stuffed animals with us for the night; we were promised all stuffed animals would be on their best behavior, but of course, they had a little mischief in the museum...but we are happy to report no stuffed animals were harmed during the night, and they all genuinely seemed to enjoy playing with all our exhibits!
Of course the animals enjoyed posing at our entrance and exploring our Emerald Coast Ecosystem room where they even met our resident stuffed animal, Squirt the Sea Turtle. After hanging out with Squirt, the stuffed animals decided they also wanted to become exhibits at the Science Center and snuck into a few of our display cabinets.
Then it was on to explore the gallery! The stuffed animals had a marvelous time playing in our Topography Box, controlling our robotics exhibits, and building towers with our Keva Planks. A curious elf tried out our SMALLab exhibit, while a clever panda and a curious dinosaur tried their hand at some of our brain games. We noticed the crowd might be getting hungry when the dinosaur tried chewing on an exhibit, so we rounded everyone up for a midnight snack.
We weren't expecting any mischief, but when we found all the stuffed animals in the kitchen, fridge raiding was in progress. Luckily, one conscientious gator was supervising the scene and had a fire extinguisher at the ready. We didn't end up needing it, but he was prepared!
We ended our night by meeting the stars of our museum, the many cool critters that call the Science Center home. Avogadro, our Ball Python, was happy to show off his docile nature and make new friends. Nye, the Bearded Dragon, made fast friends and was happy to gossip with the other animals. Albert, our shy hedgehog, stayed close to his pal, Cera. Everyone was tucked in for the night, excited for the big pancake breakfast in the morning.
A few animals wanted to help make our pancake breakfast when the kiddos returned in the morning. We watched a slideshow of all the stuffed animal adventures from the night before while families enjoyed a yummy meal together, laughing and enjoying the silly photos. Kids were thrilled to be reunited with their stuffed animals, and we were so happy to see the joy on their faces when they were.
Everyone had a blast at this event, and our guests helped us raise money for the Science Center's animals by donating at breakfast to show their thanks. The Science Center is a small independent nonprofit, and support from community members like you make these events possible. Donating just $5 can help us feed one of our animals for a week. Help make a difference in your community by donating to the Science Center. Together, we can continue to fill children's lives with wonder and the magic of science.