Spend a Night at the Museum, Zoo or Aquarium

Want to take a trip to the city from meh to memorable? Ditch the hotel and spend a night at the town's best museum, zoo, or aquarium.

Thanks to the wildly popular "Night at the Museum" series of films, more and more kid-friendly venues are offering VIP-style sleepovers with special evening activities for families, typically for kids at least age 6 or so. Here are some of the most noteworthy.

  • 01 of 10
    Natural History Museum LA Sleepover
    Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

    Families with kids as young as 5 can attend the "Overnight Adventures" and sleep among the fossils at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, which offer plenty of hands-on fun, snacks, and a patch you can take home. Depending on the date you visit, your family can attend Camp Dino, Camp Butterfly or Camp Goo, or a sleepover at the nearby La Brea Tar Pits.

  • 02 of 10

    New York City Sleepovers in Museums and More

    American Museum Natural History Sleepover
    American Museum of Natural History

    From the American Museum of Natural History (which has a starring role in the first and third "Night at the Museum" films) and the New York Hall of Science to the aircraft carrier Intrepid and the Bronx Zoo, a number of Big Apple venues offer sleepovers that leave kids (and their parents) with a fun and long-lasting memory.

     

  • 03 of 10
    San Diego Safari Park
    San Diego Zoo Safari Park

    Want to experience safari camping without having to travel to Africa? Book your family on a sleepover adventure at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, where you'll relax in comfy tents surrounded by the sounds of wildlife. The campground overlooks the park's African Plains field exhibit, where you can observe giraffes, rhinos, antelope, gazelles.

     

  • 04 of 10
    Museum Science Industry
    Museum of Science and Industry

    In the Windy City, the venerable Museum of Science and Industry offers a Science Snoozeum, where families with kids ages 6 to 12 can sleep next to a 727 plane, do after-hours science experiments and go on a scavenger hunt. Meanwhile, the excellent Field Museum offers a "Dozin' with the Dinos" sleepover for families with kids ages 6 to 12, including flashlight tours and special activities. And finally, the Adler Planetarium offers a night under the stars with its Astro-Overnights for families with kids age 6 to 10.

     

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  • 05 of 10
    National Baseball Hall Fame
    National Baseball Hall of Fame

    For baseball fans, a visit to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, means the chance to ogle the greatest collection of memorabilia devoted to America's favorite pastime. Kids age 7 to 12 and their families can also attend an "Extra Innings Overnight," which includes after-hours access to the museum's public areas, special hands-on programs, a late-night snack and a screening of a baseball movie.

  • 06 of 10
    Nightcrawlers Zoo Sleepover
    Zoo Atlanta

    The Nightcrawler program at Zoo Atlanta includes a private after-hours tour led by a zoo ranger, up-close encounters with zoo animals, and the chance to spy on creatures with night-vision scopes.

  • 07 of 10
    St Louis Science Center
    St. Louis Science Center

    The wonderful and free St. Louis Science Center may be best known for its imaginative and interactive exhibits, but families also have the chance to attend one of the center's overnight camp-ins. The adventure includes a pizza dinner, planetarium show, and many hands-on activities, and is recommended for families with kids 6 and up.

  • 08 of 10

    Night Flight at the Philadelphia Zoo

    Philly Zoo Night Flight Sleepovers
    Philadelphia Zoo

    The Philly Zoo’s most popular overnight is designed for families and other groups with children age 5-12 with adult chaperones. You get to explore the zoo at night, meet an animal keeper, and learn from experts about animal care in the zoo and across the globe.  

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  • 09 of 10
    National Aquarium Dolphin Sleepover
    National Aquarium

    The National Aquarium in Baltimore offers not one but two sleepovers for families with kids 8 and up — the Dolphin Sleepover and Sleepover with Sharks. You'll sleep in the underwater viewing areas amid the glow of the aquarium's tanks.

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    Golden Hinde Sleepover
    Golden Hinde II

    Families can spend the night at some of London's star attractions, ranging from the Natural History Museum and the London Zoo to the Golden Hinde II, a full-size reconstruction of the ship in which Sir Francis Drake circumnavigated the world.