Sleepovers parties. The rite of passage for kids of all ages. Parents brace themselves for the day their child comes home asking to host such an event. And, if parents do find themselves welcoming ten, twenty, dare I say, even thirty kids into their home for the night, the loss of sleep can take days to recover from.
Looking for a way to gather kids together in a safe, even educational environment–without opening up your own house? Museum overnights are a popular choice for parents seeking to provide their children with a unique party or individual experience.
The area is brimming with options for museum sleepover experiences of all kinds. And, some parks in the area offer overnight adventure programs during the summer months for an outdoor option.
New Jersey’s Liberty Science Center offers “Camp-Ins” for kids in grades 1-8. With a wide variety of activities offered throughout the night, kids participate in a rock wall, model making, and watch an IMAX. Snacks and breakfast are served, and campers get to stay the next day as well. The museum offers co-ed and gender-specific camp-ins. See the site for further details about chaperones and dates.
Cost: $55.00 per person
The American Museum of Natural History offers a popular sleepover program that engages kids in several multi-sensory experiences. Armed with flashlights, kids participate in scavenger hunts, talk to museum experts, watch an IMAX movie and finally sleep on cots amidst the larger-than-life exhibits of ancient and giant creatures. Breakfast and snacks are provided, along with take-home activities.
Cost: $129.00 per person
Members: $119.00 per person
Scouts: $99.00 per person
The Bronx Zoo offers an often sold-out Family Overnight Safari experience in May, June and September. Families bring their own tents to camp out amongst the animals! Snacks and breakfast are provided, and families are encouraged to bring their own dinner. Kids need to be at least five years old to participate. Says the website “No need for alarm clocks, our vocal peacocks will provide the wake-up call!”
Cost: $145.00 per person
Members: $135.00 per person
The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation offers an Adventure Program consisting of either a day adventure or an overnight camp experience. The program is open to kids ages 8 and up. Families and groups may participate. Participants will learn how to canoe, use a compass and fish. Groups of up to 30 participants pay a $500.00 materials cost for the overnight stay.
Alternatively, free Family Camping is offered with the Urban Park Rangers at New York City parks. Activities at these camping events include: stargazing, night hikes and cookouts.
The Newark Museum offers a variety of sleepover experiences depending on the date. Past events have included a Planetarium Sleepover. Future sleepovers are planned for the upcoming school year.
Perhaps outfitted best for the overnight experience most likely to engage young imaginations, The Battleship New Jersey in Camden, NJ offers group overnights for scout groups, educational groups and parties. Participants get the adventure of living like a true sailor–cramped sleeping bunks and all! But, this museum overnight program isn’t only for kids. The museum has an adult overnight program where adults too can participate in an “encampment” aboard the ship.
$50.95 per person
Way down in Cherry Hill, the Garden State Discovery Museum offers several overnight programs. The Ultimate Slumber Party allows kids to stay over at the museum and engage in a variety of preplanned activities. Partygoers might hold a pillow fight, sing karaoke, received manicures and pedicures, make jewelry or watch a movie marathon in the museum theater. Snacks and breakfast are provided.
Cost: $35.00 per person
The Garden State Discovery Museum also offers a Girl Scout Overnight program. Troops will work on a badge for the evening. Four workshops will be offered throughout the evening that lead to fulfillment of the badge. Scouts may also get free time in the museum and participate in a sing-a-long. Scout troops are required to provide one chaperone per every five girls.
Cost: $35.00 per person
So click on the links and start planning your family’s overnight experience today!