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13 Museums Where You Didn’t Know You Could Spend the Night

Live out your "Night at the Museum" fantasy with these one-of-a-kind sleepovers around the country

AMNHcourtesy AMNH R. Mickens

American Museum of Natural History | New York, New York

In 2014, the American Museum of Natural History in New York hosted its first adults-only sleepover. Fast forward a few years and the event is more popular than ever. Those fortunate enough to nab a coveted spot will delight in a champagne reception with live jazz music, buffet dinner with booze, fossil fact-finding by flashlight, plenty of time to wander, and cots for snoozing beneath the 94-foot-long blue whale model. The next grown-up slumber party is June 22, 2018. Reservations must be made in advance.

Ages: 21+

Cost: $350 for general admission / $300 for members

This New York museum might make you rethink what you toss out.

baltimore national aquariumCourtesy Chris Mattle/National aquarium

Baltimore National Aquarium | Baltimore, Maryland

Budding oceanographers and shark fanatics will love spending the evening with finned friends at the Baltimore National Aquarium. Dive into the fascinating world of underwater predators, debunk myths, and discover the importance of these incredible creatures. Join experts for a behind-the-scenes tour (do you dare to walk the shark catwalk?), interact with marine life, and watch a 4D immersion film. Fuel up with a buffet-style dinner and light breakfast.

Ages: 8+

Cost: $120 for general admission / $100 for members

Robert Pernell/shutterstock

Carnegie Science Center | Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Looking for something awesome and affordable that the family can do together? Sleepovers at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh are designed to engage parents and kids alike with themes ranging from electricity (April 27, 2018) to chemistry (May 18, 2018). Included in the price are educational activities, a movie in the new Rangos Giant Cinema, laser show, snacks, breakfast, and free admission the following day. Reservations are accepted up to five days prior to the event date.

Ages: 4+

Cost: $39 for general admission

On a budget? These are the best free tourist attractions in every state.

DavidNNP/shutterstock

Spy Museum | Washington, DC

The Spy Museum is entirely dedicated to the all-but-invisible profession and displays the largest collection of international espionage artifacts in the world! “Operation Secret Sleepover” invites a group of junior recruits and parents for a night of supersleuth training and intrigue—creating an alias, gathering intelligence, studying interrogation techniques, cracking codes, hunting for a mole, and more. The next clandestine mission kicks off on Friday, July 6, 2018.

Ages: 9 to 13

Cost: $115 for general admission / $105 for members

Psst… these are the secrets the CIA doesn’t want you to know.

courtesy Field museum

The Field Museum | Chicago, Illinois

Dozin’ with the Dinos” at The Field Museum is an epic, prehistoric adventure. Take a self-guided flashlight tour, find yourself face-to-face with mesofossils, chat with real scientists, dissect owl pellets, and watch “Waking the T. Rex: The Story of Sue” in 3D. Insider tip: You can purchase a regular ticket or upgrade to the premium package ($78), which comes with a prime space to snooze in the Hall of Dinosaurs.

Ages: 6 to 12

Cost: $65 for general admission / $60 for members

Courtesy © 2010-California Academy of Sciences

California Academy of Sciences | San Francisco, California

If you’re located in the San Francisco area and have youngsters or teens, “Penguins+Pajamas” at California Academy of Sciences is not to be missed. Twilight exploration, live demos, rainforest access, and camping out near sea creatures make it a memorable experience for everyone. It’s sold out through summer. Fall dates are still available—although, we’re guessing, not for long.

Ages: 5 to 17

Cost: $119 for general admission / $99 for members

For more family fun, check out these top-rated children’s museums across the country.

Chabot space center Courtesy Chabot space & science center

Chabot Space & Science Center | Oakland, California

Calling all aspiring astronauts! Embark on an exhilarating expedition at the Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland. “Slumber with the Stars” gives interstellar devotees a front-row seat for gazing at the cosmos. Plus, you can expand your understanding of the great unknown through dazzling exhibits, astronomy workshops, a full-dome planetarium presentation, and private telescope viewing.

Ages: 5+

Cost: $85 for general admission

Courtesy Jeffrey Reed

National Archives Museum | Washington, DC

Pack your pillow and pajamas for a night of history and heroes at the National Archives Museum in Washington, DC. Future change-makers learn about the founding fathers and the role of government, stroll the halls on a scavenger hunt, and rest their head in the Rotunda near the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The fall sleepover is scheduled for October 13, 2018.

Ages: 8 to 12

Cost: $125 for general admission / $100 for member

courtesy Matt Wooten/Milwaukee Public Museum

Milwaukee Public Museum | Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Who says kids get to have all the fun? The adults-only overnight at Milwaukee Public Museum is geared towards the 21+ crowd. Tickets include dinner, two drinks, snacks, exclusive tours, films in the six-story theater, entry to the new traveling exhibit “Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed,” and continental breakfast. The next event is April 20, 2018. Registration closes two weeks prior.

Ages: 21+

Cost: $125 for general admission

These are the weirdest museums you never knew existed.

JonathanCollins/Shutterstock

Baseball Hall of Fame | Cooperstown, New York

Fans of America’s pastime will relish the opportunity to stay a few extra innings at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Roam the hallowed galleries; enjoy a screening in the Grandstand Theater; nod off steps away from memorabilia and plaques honoring legendary players like Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, and Ted Williams; leave with a knapsack filled with mementos and memories to last a lifetime. Dates sell out quickly. To secure your spot, call (607) 547-0329.

Ages: 7 to 12

Cost: $50 for general admission

Wondering why baseball managers wear uniforms? We’ve got the answer.

courtesy Steve Hajjar

National Museum of American History | Washington, DC

Mystery lovers can put their detective skills to work at the National Museum of American History. The premise: Miss Rose snatched six valuables that need to be found before the evening ends. Search the corridors, collect clues, find the crime scene, and recover the stolen treasure. The reward for solving the case? Catching some winks in the iconic galleries.

Ages: 8 to 12

Cost: $135 for general admission / $125 for members

Take a peek inside the world’s first museum dedicated to Dr. Seuss.

courtesy Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science

Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science | Miami, Florida

Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science is a playground for curious types. On the overnight itinerary: after-hours access to exhibitions, hands-on experiment stations, a state-of-the-art planetarium show, and eye-opening programs. Bonus: Attendees also receive a complimentary return voucher, and kids 17 and under get a special souvenir T-shirt.

Ages: 5+

Cost: $80 for general admission

Craving a brain-busting activity? This museum wants to pay you to complete 18th-century puzzles.

courtesy USS Hornet Museum

USS Hornet Sea, Air & Space Museum | Alameda, California

The USS Hornet Sea, Air & Space Museum offers a plethora of overnight programming. Paranormal enthusiasts can seek out the eerie side of the World War II vessel with after-dark exploration. Hop aboard the historic ship, investigate the Sickbay and the brig, listen to ghost stories, eat in the crew mess, and sleep in the original berthing compartments. Pre-registration is required.

Ages: 16+

Cost: $100 for general admission

Lindsay Cohn
Lindsay Cohn is an avid traveler who has visited 45 countries across six continents and writes about travel for Reader’s Digest as well as USA Today, Fodor’s, Travel + Leisure, Brides and PureWow. Beyond travel, she covers a variety of lifestyle topics including beauty, wellness and design. Her work has also been published on Well+Good, Elle Decor, Martha Stewart, Domino and Mindbodygreen. Follow her on Instagram @lindsay_cohn