Consider letting your child spend a night at the museum

Smithsonian opens museums for sleepovers this summer.

National Museum of Natural History // Photo by Steve Hajjar

Three of the Smithsonian museums are rolling out the sleeping bags for children and chaperones. The National Museum of Natural History, National Museum of American History and the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center are holding sleepovers, 7 p.m. through 8:45 a.m. the next morning, through August. Here is what you can expect during your stay.

National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar Hazy Center Sleepovers
Kids, ages 8-14, and their chaperones can sleep under the machines that take to the sky. Upon checking in, they grab a flight checklist and start a night filled with games, art activities and close-up looks at some of the most historic and fascinating crafts, like the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, a Concorde and the space shuttle Discovery.
Dates: July 14, July 28 and Aug. 18

National Museum of Natural History Sleepovers
Guests, ages 8-12, receive an interactive exploration of exhibit halls along with games, puzzles and challenges, then get to fall asleep beneath a 50-foot whale.
Dates: June 1, June 29, July 6, Aug. 24 and Aug. 31

National Museum of American History Sleepovers
Participants, ages 8-12, have a night to solve a historic mystery during an interactive exploration of exhibit halls. Using detective skills, participants collect clues Miss Rose left behind after stealing valuable objects from the museum. They have the night to uncover what went missing and then solve the crime. They do this by taking part in games, crafts and experiments.
Dates: June 15 and Aug. 10

For all of the sleepovers, a chaperone, 21 or older, must accompany the child—up to three children per chaperone. All participants must pre-register by calling 202-633-3030 or by visiting the Smithsonian Associates box office: S. Dillon Ripley Center, 1100 Jefferson Drive SW, Suite 3077, Washington, D.C.

Ticket prices are $135 for general admission and $125 for Smithsonian Associate members, and includes exclusive access and activities in the museum, an evening snack, interactive exploration, arts and crafts activities and a light breakfast. //

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