Sleeping next to the lions at Blair Drummond was an adventure to remember

Jennifer Walker, Leader of the 198B Edinburgh Guides, blogs about taking her Guides for a walk on the wild side with an unusual sleepover…

I’m always on the lookout for new, fun and exciting things to do with my Guides so when a fellow Leader told me about her unit’s sleepover in the yurts at Blair Drummond Safari Park, I knew I had to book us in!

On Saturday 5 September 2015, 18 Guides and three brave (or mad!) Leaders entered the park, hoping not to be gobbled by a lion in the night. Despite our fears, the Guides safely enjoyed seeing the safari animals, petting horses, racing in paddle boats, flying down the zip wire and much more!

At the end of the first day, just as we were tucking in to our s’mores by the light of our torches, the lions let out a long, loud rumbling roar. Excited to see the lions in action, some of the girls ran up to the platform beside the lion enclosure, only to find that the big cats had, disappointingly, retired to bed! We were told by the lion keeper the next day that this was the call they did every night to warn off other lions in the area. It was also a useful warning for the girls to be quiet so they could get some sleep!

In the morning, the girls took part in a keeper’s experience where they got to help clean out and feed some of the animals including goats, horses, alpacas and donkeys. Despite the fact the stables were a bit smelly, the Guides really mucked in and got to grips with their tasks. After all the hard work the senior keeper, Alan, took everyone on a safari bus tour to see the lions. Once in the enclosure, we realised just how close the lions had been to our yurts – no wonder it had sounded like they were sleeping next to us! The finale of our trip was a visit to the bird of prey centre to meet some of the owls, who swooped above our heads and made everyone duck!

Sleeping over at Blair Drummond was brilliant fun and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone brave enough to sleep so close to the king of the jungle! For me, guiding is all about having fun, going on adventures and trying new things. So the next time your girls request a sleepover, I challenge you to do it in the most unusual place you can find.

Our next sleepover? The shark tunnel in an aquarium, and I can’t wait!

Find out more about Blair Drummond Safari Park by visiting their website.