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The best museum sleepovers in NYC for kids

Thinking about a museum sleepover? Operation Intrepid, A Night at the Museum and other cool opportunities await in NYC

By Danielle Valente and Allie Early

If you want to wake up in a city that doesn't sleep—and right next to your favorite exhibit—check out New York's best museum sleepovers. Your go-to family attractionskids' museums and zoos in New York City don't shut the lights at closing time!

Once the crowds head home, it's go time. Kiddos have an opportunity to explore galleries, participate in crafts and activities and gain a whole new perspective on different subject matters. It might be a lesson that puts them to sleep...after a night of excitement. 

Which museum sleepover is best for your little scholar? Peruse the attractions and get those pillows ready!


Museum sleepovers

Photograph: Courtesy ©AMNH/D.Finin

1. Sleepovers at American Museum of Natural History

Museums Science and technology Upper West Side

One of NYC's most iconic institutions is certainly an adventure during the day, but you'd swear the Museum of Natural History comes to life at night. (A certain book-turned-movie did lead us to believe this is true!) Although dinosaur replicas might not be roaming through the exhibits (thankfully), your kiddos certainly will be. They'll be equipped with flashlights as they venture in and out of the galleries—Anne and Bernard Spitzer Hall of Human Origins, the Age of Dinosaurs—piecing together fun puzzles. When all is said and done, little participants (ages 6–13) tuck in right underneath the beloved 94-foot-long blue whale in the Hall of Ocean Life. Pretty cool way to say goodnight, huh? Kids will receive an evening snack and small breakfast. 

Learn more at amnh.org. $150 per person. 

2. Operation Slumber at the Intrepid

Museums Military and maritime Hell's Kitchen

Get a taste of Midtown's beloved aircraft carrier-turned museum—without the crowds. The Intrepid welcomes overnight visitors ages 6–17 to ride the flight simulator, gaze at the stars in the pop-up planetarium, walk through the galleries and peruse the flight deck under the moonlight (and with flashlights). Consider this one history lesson the youngsters won't catch in school. Before the adventure begins, kids will fuel up during dinner. When it's time to call it quits for the day, participants make themselves cozy on a cot (BYO sleep gear) in the midst of the artifacts. Enjoy breakfast in the morning before taking off! Note that an adult chaperone is required. 

Learn more at intrepidmuseum.org. $130 per person.   


3. New York Hall of Science Sleepovers

Museums Science and technology Queens

Little scientists will jump at the chance to have this super-cool interactive museum all to themselves. When the crowds leave for the day, your kids' journey will just begin! They'll learn about a variety of topics while exploring each of the museum's galleries, tackling questions in the process. But that's not all! When it comes time to change into pajamas, kids will then be treated to an almost-midnight milk and cookies snack while watching a film in the 3d theater. Certainly beats a night on the couch! Then, a continental breakfast is served the following morning, so curious kiddos will have the energy needed to do even more exploring! 

Learn more at nysci.org. $85 per person. 

4. Bronx Zoo Wildlife Conservation Society

Attractions Zoo and aquariums The Bronx

Critter-lovin’ kiddos who don't want to part ways with the zoo will be thrilled with an overnight visit. Attendees will enjoy a Wildlife Theater performance, animal encounters, access to World of Reptiles at night and early access to specific exhibits on day two—not to mention the Children’s Zoo and a morning scavenger hunt. Hot breakfast will be served and guests will leave with a commemorative T-shirt. It's a wild experience you can't miss! BYO tent and pack your own dinner (or purchase one from the café). Youngster 5 and up are invited to attend, but must be accompanied by a chaperone. 

Learn more at tickets.wcs.org. $145 per person. 

Historic Richmond Town
Photograph: Courtesy Historic Richmond Town

5. Historic Richmond Town

Attractions Historic buildings and sites Staten Island

Ready for some mayhem? The overnight adventure at this beloved attraction will have little ones trying to solve the murder trial of the "Witch of Staten Island." After making their own candles to light their way, kiddos will head to the Guyon-Lake-Tysen House to make some snacks, listen to the 19th century tale of Polly Bodine and ultimately try to solve the mystery. 

6. New York Aquarium

Attractions Zoo and aquariums Brooklyn

No scuba gear required for this overnight stay! While venturing to the New York Aquarium after hours, kiddos in youth groups and school groups have the opportunity to enjoy a night exploring "Ocean Wonder: Sharks." Learn all about marine life and get an up-close encounter with a few animals to boot. Note that at least 45 participants are required in order to run the program. 

Learn more at nyaquarium.com. $75 per person. 

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