GIRLGUIDING South West England teamed up with Dartmoor Zoological Society to provide its members with a once in a lifetime opportunity to have a sleepover at Dartmoor Zoo. 

Across dates in May, July and October, more than 500 girls, ranging from seven-year-old Brownies through to Guides, Rangers and Young Leaders have been given the opportunity to sleep over at the zoo. 

A further 270 girls, from the youngest four-year-old Rainbows, through to Young Leaders and their Unit Leaders will be there for the day. 

The first two sleepovers were hugely successful and happened between May 30 and June 2.

Day one of the snooze itinerary started with a tour of the zoo followed by various workshops on close encounters, animal enrichment and animal behaviour. 

Girls had the chance to get up close and personal with giant African snails, stick insects and even stroke real tiger fur. 

The girls then set up camp and had a group barbecue before taking part in a dusk zoo trail competition and twilight tour before settling in for bed. 

The next day the girls had the opportunity to complete some of the “Night with the Tigers” resource pack activities that was created by Girlguiding South West England in conjunction with the zoo such as counting how many animals they saw from each continent, or visiting a reptile house.

Laura Cottey, Chief Commissioner for Girlguiding South West England said: “It was so wonderful to have such a special event at Dartmoor Zoological Park during half-term. 

The opportunity for girls and young women from across Girlguiding South West England to come and spend not only a day at the zoo but then to sleepover was a huge adventure! 

“We are really grateful to the amazing team who arranged a whole programme of activities for the attendees to explore and learn more about the animals and the wider world.”

“We would like to provide even more opportunities and experiences for girls and young women across our Region and with nearly 8,500 girls on the waiting list in the South West we are looking for new volunteers to join in the fun.” 

By giving just one or two hours a week, being a Girlguiding volunteer could see you going around the world accompanying girls on the trip of a lifetime, spending a weekday evening helping them learn a new skill, or enjoying an action-packed outdoors adventure weekend as you make your own lifelong friendships. 

Volunteering is flexible and doesn’t have to be a weekly commitment.  

There are lots of different roles to choose from to fit in with your lifestyle and we will provide all the training and support you need.   

Volunteers of all backgrounds, ages, cultures, faiths, and abilities are welcome.

For more information about volunteering with Girlguiding, visit: