Some say sleep is overrated, but that may depend where you sleep. Novel indoor and outdoor sleepovers for children and adults have multiplied nationwide, spurred by the Night at the Museum movie. Many places, like ballparks, zoos, and aquariums, now act as all-night hosts.
While some overnights are geared toward roughing it, glamping options offer luxury creature comforts. Exotic sleepovers serve as routine-breakers, offering memorable family occasions, fresh fodder and photos for social media updates.
We selected venues and programs across the U.S. where guests can sleep near baseball history, search for spies, commune with marine life and safari animals, or simply stargaze. All family-oriented events include late-night snacks and/or breakfast, and prices listed are per person. These events may become family traditions, so choose your venues and sleeping bags wisely.
National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown, New York
President Obama recently visited Cooperstown’s Baseball Hall of Fame as it celebrated its 75th anniversary. Though Obama toured the facility, he missed its signature sleepover.
Extra Innings Overnight is the museum’s program where children aged 7-12 and their families bond with their favorite baseball legends after hours. For $50-$60, guests attend The Baseball Experience movie screening and touch base at activity stations. Then they sleep in the Hall of Fame gallery and exhibits, surrounded by baseball memorabilia. Souvenir-filled knapsacks make the event a home run.
Baseball fans looking for nocturnal playing field action can check with their local teams, like the New York Mets or Texas Rangers, about ballpark sleepovers.
International Spy Museum, Washington, D.C.
With startling revelations about the National Security Agency (NSA) and Russian and Chinese computer hacking, the American public has become more intrigued with spying. Those wishing for a firsthand look can venture to the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C.
Operation Secret Slumber, an immersive overnight for children aged 9-13 and their parents, costs $105-$115. After developing aliases and cover stories, young participants gather intel as spy school recruits, wear disguises, learn code-breaking, and uncover clues, while their parents undertake a covert mission, Operation Spy. All visitors sleep on museum exhibit floors, and there’s a debriefing at dawn. Guests get goodie bags for solving clandestine cases at home.
Greater Cleveland Aquarium, Cleveland, Ohio
While the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum may be on the public radar as Cleveland’s star attraction, the city also houses marine life at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium.
The facility hosts ZZZ’s in the Seas overnight programs for families with children aged 5-12. For $50-$55, after-hours visitors enjoy guided tours, SCUBA presentations, scavenger hunts, and craft-making. Intrepid guests sleep in the exhibit area and note details about freshwater and saltwater fish in photo-filled workbooks during their stay. Catching ZZZs isn’t guaranteed, but visitors will leave knowing there’s more to Cleveland than rock music history.
San Diego Zoo Safari Park, San Diego, California
For an overnight close-up with wildlife on dry land, adults and children can head to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
Their Roar and Snore Safari overnight themed camping programs offer adults-only (age 21+) and family sleepovers (with kids age 6+). Visitors rest in campgrounds overlooking the Park’s African Plains field exhibit, with roaming giraffes, rhinos, and antelopes. All guests enjoy camp activities, guided walks, a campfire program, and sleep in park-provided tents. Depending on tent size, costs range from $30-$220, including dinner and souvenirs. For extra fees, guests can use night vision technology for the ultimate overnight discovery.
Mustang Monument Eco-Resort, Wells, Nevada
Some destinations showcase the great outdoors with a lavish twist, like Mustang Monument in northeastern Nevada, debuting in mid-June.
The resort, situated on a vast wild horse reserve, supports mustangs in their natural habitat. Luxury lodgings are provided for guests aged 13+ in hand-painted tipis and stylish safari lodges. Single-night stays or 3-5-day adventure packages are available, with all-inclusive rates from $800-$4,000. From July 8-11, younger children are also welcome for a Wild West weekend. Horseback riding, hiking, archery, and moccasin-making are among the guest activities, with spa treatments and gourmet dining completing the chic wilderness experience.
Amangiri Resort, Canyon Point, Utah
A picturesque resort set in Utah’s canyons and plateaus, Amangiri attracts upscale guests looking for serene, celestial retreats with optional organized activities.
Extraordinary overnights include offerings such as hiking, boating trips, scenic flights, and spa options using Navajo healing traditions. From the central swimming pool area, the main attraction is a panoramic vista of southwestern landscapes. Some suites feature sky terraces with daybeds or resting mattresses, and rates vary from $1,800-$4,100. Though access to the resort is via a winding road, the main focus here is unwinding.
For more family-friendly travel ideas, check out:
- New Theme Park Rides for Summer 2014
- Family Friendly Safari Camps in Zambia & Zimbabwe
- The Best Travel Package Deals for Single Parents
By Nancy Lazarus for PeterGreenberg.com. Visit Nancy on the Web at www.NL3Media.com.