Midlands based visitor attraction, Twycross Zoo, hosted its first ever sleepover on the 18th and 19th of March with the help of nearly 400 participants from Girlguiding Midlands.
Guides and Brownies from 32 units across the Midlands pitched their tents within Zoo grounds, just yards away from the gorillas and chimpanzees.
During the two day event, Twycross Zoo’s Discovery Team put on a host of activities designed to enable the girls to achieve their Animal Active and Be a Friend to Animals Badges.
The Twycross Zoo Discovery Team led the girls through a programme designed to enable them to find out about why animals are becoming endangered and what they can do to help. In addition to exploring the zoo, attending animal feeds and animal-themed games all girls got their chance to play the part of an Animal Detective by getting up close to some of the zoos friendlier animals, exploring bio-facts and figuring out who committed the wildlife crimes.
Claire Oldham, Head of Education, commented: “It was great to have the Guides and Brownies on site, and really exciting for us to be able to give them an opportunity to get immersed in our animal environment. So many species are becoming more and more endangered it is really important that everyone is engaged in what they can do at home to help. Some of our animals are on the brink of extinction, like the Amur Leopard where only around 35 remain in the wild, it is so important that everyone plays a part to save them.
“The animals were very excited to see them on site after hours; our chimpanzees, Danny and Tommy, climbed to the top of the tree in their exhibit to watch the guides pitch their tents. After dark the Girls had some unusual noises to contend with, especially when the chimps started hooting at around 1.30am!”
Group Leader, Clare Shinton, said: “The event was a great success. It was one of the most unusual events I’ve ever taken part in as a Girlguiding volunteer and a real adventure for the girls – and their Leaders.”
Sharon Redrobe, Zoological Director, added: “This is the first time we have ever done anything like this before – Twycross Zoo is delighted to be working with Girl Guiding Midlands in gaining a better understanding of the animal world.”
Twycross Zoo’s award winning Education Department offers a variety of discovery opportunities for many different types of groups and parties. Last year the Department taught around 20,000 school children on the endangered species at the zoo. Amongst others, the Zoo holds the Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge, all sessions are curriculum linked and designed to best engage all age groups.