Live Out ‘Night at the Museum’ With the Smithsonian Museum's Summer Sleepover Series

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How would you like to spend a night at the museum? Get ready to pack your pillow and a toothbrush.

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Smithsonian Associates, an educational program through the Smithsonian Museum, has just announced dates for special sleepovers for kids at the National Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of American History, the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, and the National Portrait Gallery between May and August. Don’t worry, none of the exhibits will come to life after dark like in the Ben Stiller movie. At least, we don’t think.

Beginning at 7 p.m. and ending at 8:45 a.m. the following day, kids and their chaperones have the unique chance to explore the museum away from the crowds and take part in special demonstrations, games, crafts, and other activities, according to a statement from Smithsonian Associates.

Jeremy Norwood/Courtesy Smithsonian Museums

Each museum has distinctive experiences for little adventurers to enjoy. At the National Museum of Natural History, guests will be able to wander the new Fossil Hall, where they can get an up close and personal look at dinosaurs and ocean creatures. When it’s time for some shut-eye, they’ll sleep under the museum’s famous giant whale. Dates include June 21 and 28, July 19 and 26, and Aug. 2 and 9.

At the National Museum of American History, kids will be able to solve a historic mystery involving a thief who stole six valuable objects from the museum. Kind of like "National Treasure," without Nicolas Cage. By the end of the game, kids must discover what is missing by using their skills of deduction and collecting clues. Another highlight of the evening includes a game that lets kids become a presidential candidate. These sleepovers will be held on May 24, June 15, and July 5.

At National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar Hazy Center, the world of flight is at your fingertips. Kids will learn about aviation history and even get a close-up view of some of the world’s most famous and innovative aircraft. These sleepovers are scheduled for May 18, July 13, and Aug. 17.

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At the National Portrait Gallery, kids will hear stories about famous poets, presidents, actors, inventors, activists and everyone in between. Games involve immersive guides through the museum as well as creating your very own portraits. This sleepover will be held on Aug. 23.

Sleepovers are for children aged 8 to 14, and there must be one adult present for every three children in every group in attendance. Adults must be 21 years or older and must be accompanying a child. Ticket prices are $135 for general admission and $125 for Smithsonian Associate members. Prices include access to the museum, an evening snack, activities, and a light breakfast in the morning.

In order to pre-register, participants can call (202) 633-3030 or by visiting the Smithsonian Associates box office. More information can be found on the Smithsonian Sleepovers website.