Ever wished you could spend a night at the museum? Roll out your sleeping back in an aquarium or set up your tent under the lights of the Giant Dipper. From Sausalito to Santa Cruz, we found ten special sleepovers that are perfect for families. Pick your fave and sign up soon—they are very popular!

photo: California Academy of Sciences

Penguins + Pajamas Sleepovers at the California Academy of Sciences
If your camper wants to experience both a rainforest and an aquarium, then head to the California Academy of Sciences for Penguins + Pajamas. The night includes live animal demonstrations, access to the Osher Rainforest until 8 p.m., planetarium showings and hot breakfast in the morning. Campers can choose to sleep in the African Hall, Aquarium or Lower Swamp area. You also get access to the Academy for the whole day after your overnight.

Cost: $99/member; $119/non-member
Requirements: Participants must be five or older. One chaperone for every five children.
Dates: October 13, November 9

Zoo Snooze at Happy Hollow Park and Zoo
If your idea of a fun camp out includes nocturnal animals, then Happy Hollow is the place for you! Zoo Snooze participants get to have hand-on interactions with the many animals that make their home at Happy Hollow. The night includes a flashlight tour of the grounds, zoo-themed games and a hot breakfast in the morning. Sleeping bags and air mattresses are required and the camping occurs in one of the classrooms on-site.

Cost: $65/person
Requirements: Participants must be five or older. Minimum 15 people/maximum 30 people. One adult per eight children.
Dates: Contact the park to arrange a date. (Insider tip: They typically hold the Howl-o-ween Sleepover the weekend before Halloween which is filled with extra spooky fun!)

photo: The Marine Mammal Center.

Seals and Slippers at The Marine Mammal Center
Not every camp out includes a fish dissection, unless you are camping out at The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito. Seals and Slippers participants also get to experience the evening feeding of the animals that are being rehabilitated at the Center as well as a guided hike around Rodeo Lagoon in the morning. Sleeping is outside under the stars so participants must bring their own tent in addition to a sleeping bag.

Cost: $85/person; discounts available for groups of five or more.
Requirements: The program is geared towards kids ages 6-12.
Dates: April 6, October 5. You can also book your own private overnight with a group of 30+.

Odyssey Overnights at the Chabot Space and Science Center
The Chabot offers both public and scout sleepovers for kids who want to learn about science. You get exclusive access to the science center after 5 p.m., telescope viewing, new planetarium shows and even a scavenger hunt. All participants go home with a souvenir patch. Catered dinner and breakfast options are available for an additional charge.

Cost: $85/person (with a $10/person discount for members of the same family)
Requirements: minimum age is 5
Dates for public sleepovers: June 16, July 21, August 12

photo: Gilroy Gardens


Gilroy Gardens
Camp overnight at this theme park with a horticulture theme. Arrive in the afternoon, set up your tent and enjoy a dinner under the star. The next day grab some breakfast before you spend a day in the park. 2018 brings an expanded Water Oasis so make sure you bring your swimsuits and towels. Take a ride around the park on the train and make sure to look for all the Bonfante trees in the park.

Cost: $60/person ages 3 and up, age 2 and under are free
Dates: May 26, June 16 and 30, July 28 (Gilroy Garlic Festival weekend) and September 1


Family Sundown Safari at the Oakland Zoo
Families looking for a wild (animal) night should make their reservations for this popular event at the Oakland Zoo. Set up your tent and then enjoy dinner before you take a twilight tour through the Children’s Zoo. Watch a wildlife show and enjoy s’mores before you settle in for the night. The morning brings breakfast and a special encounter with an animal not on exhibit at the Zoo. After you pack up your tent, you are welcome to stick around for the day as your ticket includes admission to the Zoo.

Cost: $80/member, $90/non-member with group discounts
Requirements: geared towards ages 4-10 but older siblings welcome
Dates: July 7, 21, 28 and August 11, 18, 25

photo: Monterey Bay Aquarium

Sleepovers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium
Sleep next to the sea anemones at the Monterey Bay Aquarium! Set up your sleeping bag in your favorite exhibit while you enjoy some time in the aquarium without all of the crowds. And for kids 8 and up, there is even the option to take a scuba diving excursion (no experience necessary) right there in the Bay! All overnight guests get access to the aquarium for the day after the sleepover.

Cost: $125/non-member, $95/member
Requirements: Ages 5 and older. All children must be accompanied by an adult.
Dates: April 21, July 7 and 21, August 4 and 18, September 1

Live Aboard the USS Hornet
Always wondered what it was like to live on a World War II ship? Then head to Alameda to spend the night in an authentic crew bunk aboard the USS Hornet. Surrounded by vintage and modern aircraft, participants get to experience what it was like to live aboard a floating city. Dinner and breakfast are served in the crew’s mess and all attendees get to participate in a thrilling flight simulator ride.

Cost: $100/person
Requirements: Ages 5 and older. All children must be accompanied by an adult.
Dates: September 25-26, October 9-10, November 6-7, December 18-19

photo: Kate Loweth

Boardwalk Overnights
Cruise on down to Santa Cruz for an overnight by the beach. In addition to Boy and Girl Scout overnights, the Boardwalk hosts a fall overnight for all families that benefits the American Caner Society. Camp under the stars, enjoy a movie on the beach, dinner and breakfast and an all-day wristband for Saturday.

Cost: $89.95/person
Requirements: All participants under the age of 18 years old must be accompanied by an adult. One adult chaperone is required for every group of 5 minors.
Dates: September 21-22

Summer Sleepovers at Children’s Fairyland
This sleepover is perfect for the youngest campers. Check in and enjoy some dinner at 6:30 p.m. The rides stay open until 9 p.m. and there is special entertainment for campers before lights out. Morning brings a continental breakfast before everyone heads home.

Cost: $55/adult, $30/child
Requirements: no minimum age requirements
Dates: July 14 and 28, August 4 and 18

Have you camped out at a unique location in the Bay Area? Let us know in the comments below!

—Kate Loweth