St. Louis

A night at the museum: Museums that host sleepovers

At museums across the U.S. you can live out Milan Trenc's children's-book-turned-movie-series A Night at the Museum. From dozing with dinosaurs to snoozing with sea creatures, these awesome museums host overnight events for kids and adults alike.

  • 1. American Museum of Natural History

    American Museum of Natural History

    Hemis / Alamy

    New York, New York

    This museum, which inspired Milan Trenc's 1993 children's book and the subsequent film adaption starring Ben Stiller, hosts the aptly titled A Night at the Museum. ​The adults-only sleepover (ages 21 and up) kicks off with a champagne reception and live jazz music, followed by a buffet dinner with wine and beer. ​For $350 you get after-hours access to many of the museum's exhibits, a flashlight​-led​ fossil fact-finding tour, and a midnight showing of the Neil deGrasse Tyson-narrated Dark Universe Space Show. A similar sleepover caters to children ages six to 13 and their parents for $145. The event has a similar schedule, but substitute the champagne toast for more kid-friendly activities like demonstrations with live bats, birds, and other animals. Both the adult and children's sleepovers end with a snooze under the museum​'​s famous 94-foot-long blue whale in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life.

    Reservations are required and the sleepovers fill up quickly. The upcoming adults-only events are already sold out, so be sure to check the website and book early.

  • 2. Saint Louis Science Center

    Saint Louis Science Center

    Bill Grant / Alamy

    St. Louis, Missouri

    These Camp-Ins are for kids over the age of six and their chaperones (in other words, no solo adults). The overnight program includes an Omnimax movie, planetarium show, and hands-on science demonstrations. Campers also get free time to explore the center's 700 exhibits, including a kinetic sculpture that stretches more than 1/4 of a mile, a life-sized animatronic dinosaur, and an interactive dig site where you can hunt for fossils indoors in the dirt. The night ends by rolling out your sleeping bag in one of the exhibit galleries.

  • 3. National Aquarium

    National Aquarium

    Tribune Content Agency LLC / Alamy

    Baltimore, Maryland

    This aquarium offers two overnight events, the Dolphin Sleepover and Sleepover with the Sharks. Both evenings cost $115 per person and are open to families with children ages eight and up. The dolphin sleepover lets you snooze in one of the underwater viewing areas where you can drift off to sleep amidst the glow of the aquarium's tanks which house more than 17,000 animals.

    At the shark sleepover, you'll get a guided behind-the-scenes tour of Blacktip Reef, a coral-filled replica of reefs from the Indo-Pacific. Both sleepovers give you a chance to walk the narrow bridge over Shark Alley, a 225,000-gallon tank that houses largetooth sawfish, stingrays, and (of course) a variety of sharks.

  • 4. ​Museum of Science and Industry

    ​Museum of Science and Industry

    JB Spector, Museum of Science and Industry

    Chicago, Illinois

    The Science Snoozeum lets you explore and sleep next to a real-life 727 airplane, along with the museum's other exhibits, which include a life-size replica of a coal mine, a Pioneer Zephyr train, and a​n actual​ U-505​ German submarine​.​ The overnight program is open to families with children ages six to 12 for $65 per person. Besides after-hours access to the exhibits, guests can participate in scavenger hunt that will send you hunting for treasures all around the museum.

  • 5. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

    Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

    Danita Delimont / Alamy

    Los Angeles, California

    The Overnight Adventures program offers several themed sleepovers for children ages five and up and their parents for $58 per person. Children will leave the Camp Dino overnight feeling like paleontologists after learning all about dinosaurs with help from the museum's staff and the new Dinosaur Hall exhibit, housing 20 dinosaurs and more than 300 other fossils. Meanwhile, at Camp Butterfly, you'll learn all about insects​ and​ come face-to-face with live critters.

    Other overnights include an L.A.-themed program where campers go on a scavenger hunt through the museum's Becoming Los Angeles exhibit, which covers a 500-year history of southern California. Two offsite camps are offered at the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits, where you'll go on a gooey flashlight tour of the pits and the natural asphalt that oozes from the ground there.

    Check out more amazing museums where you can spend the night.

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