When you’re a kid, is there anything better than a sleepover? You get to stay up late, giggle with your buddies in the dark, eat snacks out the yin-yang…but did you know you can sleep in some of LA’s most popular museums and attractions, taking sleepovers to a whole new level? These cool LA spots offer families a chance to sleep next to everything from dinosaurs and sharks to lions, tigers, and bears. Scroll below for some of the coolest and most unusual slumber parties in Los Angeles you need to check out stat.
photo: Evan M. viaYelp
Natural History Museum: LA’s Natural History Museum hosts a number of family-friendly themed sleepovers for kids ages 5-12 throughout the year, giving kids a chance to become night-time paleontologists, bug hunting adventurers or even dig up dinosaurs from the Antarctic. Once you’re in, you’ll get access to museum exhibits after hours, be able to watch amazing 3D movies, go on scavenger hunts, check out special performances and participate in a wide variety of other fun activities and crafts. Little ones also have a chance to chat one-on-one with Gallery Interpreters and volunteers about anything they find in the exhibits and see special touch specimens that match each sleepover’s theme.
Good to Know: Families will enjoy evening snacks and a continental breakfast the next morning and don’t forget going to sleep on the floor in front of the iconic dioramas located in the North American Mammal Hall or the Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Oschin and Family Hall of African Mammals. Sleepover guests receive complimentary museum admission passes to explore the following day. Kids must be accompanied by adults with a ratio of one registered grown-up for every four kids. Check-in begins at 6:30 p.m. and all guests must have their belongings removed from the museum by 9:00 a.m.
What to Bring: Sleeping bag, pillow and sleeping pad or air mattress with your own pumps. Pajamas and toiletries, comfy and warm clothes, water bottle, flashlight, washcloth, a small towel, walking shoes, ear plugs and nighttime eye mask as lights never go completely dark in some areas.
Tickets: Tickets go on sale in Mar. for upcoming events in May and Jun. so be sure to check the museum website. Non-Members cost is $85 per person, Members are $75 while group rates are $75 per person with a 10 person minimum.
900 Exposition Blvd.
photo: Los Angeles Zoo via Yelp
Los Angeles Zoo: What kid wouldn’t want to sleep surrounded by those amazing animals at the LA Zoo? Throughout the year, the LA Zoo offers two different sleepover programs for families. The Creature Camp Out is designed for kids ages 5 and up who love the great outdoors. Families are invited to bring their sleeping bags and sleep in a tent under the stars while listening to the nighttime sounds of the animals. This incredible experience includes guided evening and morning tours of the zoo, interactive programs for all guests, live animal presentations, a delicious nighttime snack and continental breakfast the next morning. Each tent must have at least one adult chaperone.
Tickets: The Creature Camp Out program costs $85 per person on Sat. – Sun.; 6:30 p.m.–10 a.m.
If sleeping indoors is more your jam, the LA Zoo also offers the Wild Wonder Family Slumber Program. This thrilling nighttime adventure includes a guided tour of the zoo, a yumtastic pizza and salad dinner, as well as an evening snack. Families will listen to beastly bedtime stories and sleep under the breathtaking cliffs and trees of the California Condor Rescue Zone. The next morning, guests are invited to take a stroll through the zoo, enjoy a continental breakfast and attend a meet and greet with some of the zoo’s ambassador animals.
Tickets: The Wild Wonder Family Slumber program costs $85 per person on Sat. – Sun.; 6 p.m. – 10 a.m. Check the website for details regarding both programs.
5333 Zoo Dr.
photo: Jennifer O’Brien
Skirball Cultural Center: Okay, so you don’t get to spend the entire night at the Skirball Cultural Center, but you do get to spend a definitely hefty portion of it during their Noah’s Ark After Dark program. Kids ages 4 and up and their parents are invited to put on their pajamas and spend an evening with their favorite animal friends aboard Noah’s Ark after regular hours. Your little ones will have a chance to play with puppets, share stories and make new pals, not to mention a tasty dinner is served to everyone as well.
Tickets: Non-Members are $35 per person while members cost $25 per person. Hours run 5:30 p.m. –9:30 p.m. Advance tickets are required. Check the Skirball website for upcoming dates.
2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd.
photo: Serena S. on Yelp
Aquarium of the Pacific: How about a wondrous overnight outing under the sea? The Aquarium of the Pacific invites families with kids ages 5 and up to an evening of exploration and fun in their jammies. Guests (big and small) will have a chance to touch marine animals like sharks, sea stars, sea jellies and discover amazing animal adaptations.
Good to Know: During the overnight, guests will enjoy a lovely pizza dinner, a light snack, and cereal for breakfast the next morning. Families sleep on the floor in the Northern, Southern California or Tropical Galleries. Check-in begins at 5 p.m. and the overnight concludes at 7 a.m. the following day. Check the Aquarium of the Pacific website for upcoming dates.
What to Bring: Comfy and warm clothes, a jacket, water bottle, pajamas, toiletries, money for the gift shop, sleeping bag, pillow and an egg foam or small inflatable mattress.
Tickets: Non-Members are $90 per person, members are $80 per person
100 Aquarium Way
Discovery Cube: Sample an edible science experiment (aka dessert) during a sleepover at Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana. Kids 4 and older can curl up at the Cube, which includes hands-on fun, pizza, and a flick—then play the entire next day! Dates are subject to availability, based on a minimum group of 40 participants (including one big ‘kid’ for every 8 little ones). Smaller groups can contact the Center directly to arrange a time, generally 1-2 months ahead.
Good to Know: Bring pajamas, toothbrushes, sleeping bags, change of clothes, and blankets.
Tickets: $65 per person for members, $75 for non-members.
2500 N. Main St.
photo: Milton F. via Yelp
San Diego Safari Park: Want to feel like you’re on safari? Then Roar and Snore adventure is for you. Choose an all-ages overnight, family night or junior sleepover that accommodates infants and toddlers. All sleepovers include camp activities, an after-hours look at the wild life of the animals, guided walks, a campfire program, dinner, an evening snack, and breakfast the following morning. It also includes tent accommodations and can’t miss campfire camaraderie with s’mores! Mom & Dad take note: There are also date-nights for animal-loving ‘glampers’ 21 and over.
Tickets: $145 and up, plus admission
15500 San Pasqual Valley
Feature image: Field Museum
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– Kim Orchen Cooper & Jennifer O’Brien