Archive for the ‘Columbus’ Category

Unusual stays: Five museums with camp-in programs

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

If you’ve ever wondered what happens in a museum after it closes, try sleeping in one. Slumbering in a museum is possible thanks to the museums that offer overnight stays. Keep in mind that this might not be the quietest night you’ve ever spent. And in most cases, you’ll have to bring a group of kids with you.

Outside COSI at night

Case in point: I spent a night at COSI, Columbus, Ohio’s Science museum with more Girl Scouts than I probably had seen in my life up to that night. Scads.  As a person who frets about not getting to sleep if it’s loud, I did okay tucked into my row of sleeping bag clad ten and eleven-year-olds. As an adult in the mix, I recognized the sleeping sounds of the other adults scattered throughout the large hallway where we slept on the floor above the lobby.

Part of the fun of staying in a museum is being in a place after everyone else is ushered out the door. At COSI, an Extreme Screen movie is included in the price of the Camp-in Overnight. A bonus of COSI’s overnight experience is access to Adventure, an interactive treasure hunt of sorts. This exhibit was closed to the general public a few years ago.

Here are four other museums that offer overnight experiences:

The Museum of Science in Boston has an overnight  program for youth, grades 1-7 and their adult chaperones. Groups can be as small as 10 in number, but must be connected to an organization like a school, church or scout troop.  As with all overnights, the available dates are limited and specific. People who are members of the museum and their families can stay overnight on other days a couple times a year. Here’s the link to the overnight page.

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles has an Overnight Adventures program for both organizational and family groups. In order to participate in family night, you don’t have to be a member of the museum and the group can be less than 10 people. Overnight group programs are divided into boys nights and girls nights. Smart.

The Museum of Science and Industry of Chicago offers Snoozum, an overnight for kids, ages 7-12. This one also requires that a group be at least 10 people with one adult for every five children. The next overnight is October 12.

Explora! in Albuquerque

From September to May, Friday and Saturday nights, Explora!  in Albuquerque, New Mexico is open to overnight guests. Like most of these stays, this camp-in is for kids and their chaperones.  The age range for the overnight programs is 1st to 8th grade. Explora! combines sciences with art and music. Unlike the other overnight programs listed, certain nights are geared towards specific programs in order to help scout troops earn badges.

Helpful Tips: If you do head to a museum overnight, bring an eye mask with you. The lights don’t  go out all the way. I didn’t have one and sure wish I had. 

Also, all these programs require reservations and claim to fill up early. Plan ahead.


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