Provoked, perhaps, by 2006's Night at the Museum, a spate of museums and zoos have started hosting overnight stays for adults and children alike. Spots all over the country are letting visitors spend the night among the exhibits, be that under the twinkling lights of a planetarium, by dinosaurs, or alongside ferocious (stuffed) beasts.
The American Museum of Natural History, for example, hosts an annual “A Night at the Museum,” where kids and their parents are invited to explore the halls after hours and camp out in one of the exhibits. Those who partake in the Intrepid’s “Operation Slumber,” on the other hand, get to wander the massive war ship’s decks and enjoy a nautical treasure hunt.
Of course, these slumber parties aren’t limited to kids—or New York. The adult overnight hosted at the Philadelphia Zoo lets folks get a bit wild by sipping on cocktails while being serenaded by the zoo’s plethora of animals. And over on the west coast you can sleep aboard the Star of India, the world’s oldest active sailing ship.
There is no shortage of places to experience the ultimate sleepover—and finally get answers to those longstanding questions of what happens when the lights go out. Ahead: 12 museums and zoos where you can actually spend the night.