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Museum Sleepovers for the Whole Family

American Museum of Natural History

Yours truly is about to pull the trigger on a pretty major sleepover here—an overnight that will enable my older daughter and I to spend a night at the California Academy of Sciences and snooze in the same room as a bunch of penguins (or a tank full of fish).

The event, dubbed “Penguins+Pajamas,” is one of the reasons we became members of the Academy in the first place. I’m not sure who’s more excited: L or I.

Some of the highlights of the event include after-hours interactions with researchers, late-night snack and continental breakfast, live animal demonstrations, and extra planetarium showings. Perhaps the most amazeballs thing on the agenda: An overnight stay in four of the facility’s exhibit halls.

Real-life “Night at the Museum” experiences aren’t anything new; I did my first at the Shedd Aquarium, in Chicago, last decade (for more on those, click here). In recent years, other museums and cultural institutions across the country have started offering similar sleepovers.

Budget Travel magazine recently spotlighted five such events; travel guru Peter Greenberg profiled some others here.

Then, of course, there’s this one; arguably the most legit of ‘em all.

In conclusion: These things rock. If you and your family already love museums, sleepovers are a great way to establish even deeper connections. And if your kids are still on the fence about the whole museum thing, an overnight can tip the scales in favor of lifelong love affair. Give it a try.

Have you ever participated in a museum sleepover? If so, what’d you think? Leave a comment and let us know.