Australian Museum (Billy Ryan)
List Words : Emma Higgins | 12 April

10 quirky museum and gallery sleep-overs

From snoozing with the dinosaurs to arty lock-ins for grownups, experience the world's top museums and galleries as you've never seen them before...

Museum & gallery sleepovers in the UK...


1. Get hands-on with science
Where? Science Museum, London
Who can sleep over? Families with children aged 7-13
Where will I sleep? In a sleeping bag in one of the museum's galleries (camping mats provided)
How much? £45 per person

With a packed programme of science shows, interactive workshops, and an IMAX screening, Science Nights is a unique way to get your children interested in the scientific world. An evening snack and breakfast are provided, and the price includes admission to the museum the following day.

Science Night (Science Museum)
Science Night (Science Museum)



2. Discover ancient faraway lands

Where?
British Museum, London
Who can sleep over? Young Friends of the Museum, aged 8-15
Where will I sleep? In a sleeping bag in the Egyptian Sculpture or Mesopotamian Galleries
How much? £45

This Young Friends Sleepover  is a chance to explore one of the oldest museums in the world after-hours. The evening includes a range of activities, from storytelling to crafts, followed by curling up in your sleeping bag next to one of the museum's world-renowned collections. A full evening meal is not provided, but snacks and breakfast are included in the price of the ticket.

The British Museum in London (Shutterstock)
The British Museum in London (Shutterstock)


3. Experience an adults-only 'Dino Snore'
Where? Natural History Museum, London
Who can sleep over? Adults aged 18 and over   
Where will I sleep? In a sleeping bag in the museum's Hintze Hall (camping mats provided)
How much? £180 (£162 for members)

Dino Snores is a popular event for children at the Natural History Museum, but who says the kids should have all the fun? Dino Snores for Grown-ups offers an evening filled with talks, live music, a quiet browse among the museum's collections, a movie marathon, and some more unusual activities like edible insect-tasting. A three-course dinner, breakfast, and a complementary drink on arrival are included with admission, and a bar is open until late.


4. Go on a navy-themed family adventure
Where? Action Stations, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
Who can sleep over? Families with children aged 5-13
Where will I sleep? In your own camping gear anywhere inside Action Stations
How much? £18 per child for earlybird tickets, otherwise £22, accompanying adults go for free

Experience a one-of-a-kind evening at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, home of the Royal Navy. The Family Dockyard Sleepover is held and at Action Stations – the dockyard's visitor centre – and includes laser quest and a climbing wall, as well as Navy-themed fun like designing your own Naval tattoo! Drinks and snacks in the evening and breakfast in the morning is provided.

Portsmouth Historic Docks
Portsmouth Historic Docks

Museum & gallery sleepovers in the USA...


5. Wine and dine alongside nature
Where? American Museum of Natural History, New York
Who can sleep over? Adults aged 21 and over
Where will I sleep? In a sleeping bag in the museum's Milstein Hall of Ocean Life (camp beds supplied by the museum)
How much? $350 ($300 for members)

This Night at the Museum Sleepover for Grown-Ups at the American Natural History Museum is a truly unique experience: venture through the crowd-free exhibits after hours; enjoy dinner and drinks; attend exclusive tours and presentations; and tuck into a light breakfast after sleeping under a 94-foot-long whale. With live music and midnight film viewings, this overnight stay promises to entertain until the small hours. Children's sleepover events are also hosted throughout the year.

Dinosnores (AMNHD)
Dinosnores (AMNH)


6. Go undercover in a spy museum
Where? International Spy Museum, Washington D.C.
Who can sleep over? Children aged 9-13
Where will I sleep? In a sleeping bag in the Museum's galleries (camping mats not provided)
How much? $115 ($105 for members)

Operation Secret Slumber is for adventurous youngsters looking to sharpen up their espionage skills. With secret missions, undercover characters, and guest appearances from real spies, this is a thrilling evening for the James Bond-obsessed. Accompanying adults have their own secret roles to play, and the mission ends in the morning with dramatic reveal of true identities. An evening snack and light continental breakfast are included.

Spy Museum Washington
Spy Museum Washington


7. Go on a scavenger hunt in LA

Where? National History Museum, Los Angeles
Who can sleep over? Children aged 5 and up
Where will I sleep? In a sleeping bag in the museum (camping mats not provided)
How much? $65 ($60 per person on groups of 10 or more, $58 for members)

The Natural History Museum in LA offers a number of different overnight adventures for children. The Night at the Natural History Museum puts on scavenger hunts and a film screening, Camp Dino teaches participants about palaeontology, and Camp Butterfly is a girls-only event filled with flitting creatures. A light evening snack and breakfast are provided.

Natural History Museum, LA
Natural History Museum, LA


8. Get exclusive access with the experts
Where? Milwaukee Public Museum, Milwaukee
Who can sleep over? Families with children aged 6-12
Where will I sleep? In a sleeping bag in one of the museum's exhibit areas (camping mats not provided)
How much? $47 per person ($37 for members)

Milwaukee Public Museum has a range of themed sleepovers, and all of them take a behind-the-scenes look with the curators at the museum's fascinating collections. Discover the objects not normally revealed to the public on a For Your Eyes Only! night, learn about how the exhibits are made on a Make It – Take It overnight stay, or step back in time with Ancient Worlds. A light breakfast is provided, but you'll need to eat dinner before arriving.

Milwaukee Public Museum
Milwaukee Public Museum


More USA museum sleep-overs...
Camp-In at The Franklin Institute, Philadelphia (6-13 yr olds) 
Dozin' with Dinos, The Field Museum, Chicago (Families, 6-12) 
Museum of Science Overnights, Boston (Children grades 1-7)
Snoozeum, Museum of Science + Industry, Chicago (Families with children aged 6-12)


Museum & gallery sleepovers in Australia...


9. Go back in time with Dinosaurs

Where? Australian Museum, Sydney
Who can sleep over? Children aged 5-12
Where will I sleep? In a sleeping bag in the Dinosaur exhibition
How much? Children AUD$140 and accompanying adults $180 (members £120/$150)

Dinosnores at the Australian Museum is a fun-filled evening that offers after-hours insights into the museum's extensive dinosaur collection – from Aussie dinos to how birds evolved from pre-historic species. This sleepover is a fun way for children to explore the world of dinosaurs, with a tour by torch-light, craft activities, and movie at to finish. The evening includes a pizza dinner (plus dessert!) and breakfast is served the following morning.

The Australian Museum (Shutterstock)
The Australian Museum (Shutterstock)


10. Sleep in style at the MONA
Where? Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), Hobart
Who can sleep over? Maximum of 4 people
Where will I sleep? In a giant bed in your rented pavilion
How much? From AUD$650 per night

Without doubt the sleekest overnight stay on this list, sleeping in The Pavilions at the MONA is a decadent experience – complete with a sauna, infinity pool, panoramic views, and a private cellar stocked with wine and beer. There are eight pavilions available to hire, each decked out with bespoke furniture from Tasmanian designers, and featuring artwork from the MONA's collections. This overnight stay works more like an apartment rental, in that there is a minimum stay of one night but no maximum. Each pavilion has with a full kitchen, and breakfast is included.

Brett Boardman, Image Courtesy MONA Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart
Image Courtesy MONA Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart