Nights at the Museums

You don't have to be Ben Stiller to spend the night behind the scenes at a museum

"Sleepover with the Sharks" is one of two overnights the museum offers. (iStockphoto)
smithsonian.com

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And, she added, "It was absolutely cheaper than a hotel and they feed you. We factored that in."

Cultural institutions that offer overnights:

The Children's Museum
West Hartford, Conn.
860-231-2830
For children in first through sixth grades
$30 per person
Activities are based on themes such as "Building Zone" and "Underwater Web." Take self-guided safari tours in the wildlife sanctuary, participate in two science workshops, use telescopes to view the stars (weather permitting) and see a planetarium show.

Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Pittsburgh, Pa.
412-622-3289
For families and children's groups
$35
A pizza party is followed by eight activities tied to themes such as "Nighttime on the Nile," "CSI & DNA" and "Dino-ROAR."

Sen. John Heinz History Center
Pittsburgh, Pa.
412-454-6000
For children with adults
$35
Starts this spring. Meet costumed re-enactors of George Washington and Meriwether Lewis, who embarked on his historic exploration of the West from Pittsburgh. See late-night moves and the stars from the fifth-floor deck.

COSI (Center of Science and Industry)
Columbus, Ohio
614-228-2674
For children in third through sixth grades
$37 per person
After dinner, participate in workshops that connect to museum exhibits, see a film on the seven-story-tall movie screen, and participate in "Dance Mania."

Wisconsin Maritime Museum
Manitowoc, Wisc.
920-684-0218
For groups of 20 people more than 6 years old
$39 per person
Sleep aboard a World War II submarine. Tour parts of the sub closed to normal tours and visit the museum.

Honolulu Zoo
Honolulu, Hawaii
808-971-7171
For anyone at least 4 years old
$50 per person ($40 for members)
Eat a buffet dinner, and then take guided walking tours of the zoo at night. Have s'mores around a campfire before sleeping in tent or under the stars.

Museum of Science, Boston
Boston, Mass.
617-589-0350
Open to schools and organizations for children in first through sixth grades
$45 per person
Participate in workshops that explore science, see "Lightning!" in Theater of Electricity, and sleep beneath a dinosaur.

Buffalo Museum of Science
Buffalo, N.Y.
716-896-5200
For children and adults
$50 for one adult and one child ($45 for members)
The program emulates "Night at the Museum" by letting guests help close up the museum through activities and scavenger hunt.

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