Ultimate Insider Slumber Parties: Museum and Zoo Overnights - Page 2

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The San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park (619-718-3000; www.sandiegozoo.org) offer a number of after-hours programs. After getting tucked into your tents overlooking the East Africa Field exhibit at the Wild Animal Park's Roar & Snore, you'll drift off to sleep to the sounds of hooting owls or growling lions. The park hosts separate programs for families with children ages four to seven and for families with kids ages eight and older. A train ride through the park's habitats and campfire activities are included in the schedule. The San Diego Zoo offers Safari Sleepovers for families, including ones for Father's Day and Mother's Day.

All of the SeaWorld parks' sun-down to sun-up events focus on animals, but adventures vary with each park. The Dolphin Lover's Family Sleepover at Orlando's Discovery Cove (1-877-434-7268; www.discoverycove.com) includes admission to Discovery Cove, a dolphin swim session, camping on the Discovery Cove beach, breakfast, lunch, dinner, plus snorkeling with stingrays and feeding exotic birds for $419 per person. SeaWorld Orlando's sleepovers include nighttime encounters with sharks, manatees, whales, or penguins. SeaWorld San Diego's X-treme Sleepovers, for children in grades two to four, or five to eight, inform kids about animals by comparison—can you crawl as quickly, jump as high, and smell as keenly as critters you meet? With Mommy, Daddy, and Me, ages four to seven meet dolphins and other creatures, do crafts, and wake up to breakfast with Shamu, everybody's favorite orca. SeaWorld San Diego also offers a special sleepover target=ed to grandparents and their grandkids ages four and older.

Some amusement parks offer the excitement of special evening activities and lodging perks. Bunk-in at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay's dormitory lodge and get front-of-the-line access to rides, shows, and a sunrise safari across their Serengeti Plain. Their Howl-O-Scream sleepover in October features coaster rides in the dark and jaunts through haunted houses (1-888-800-5447; www.buschgardens.com).

Searching for a way to make learning more fun for your child? A slumber party at a museum might be just the thing to perk their interest in history, archaeology, art, or other subjects they struggle with in school. The Boston Children's Museum (617-426-8855; www.bostonkids.org), depending on the event, sweetens bedtime with storytellers and musicians. During Dozin' with the Dino's at Chicago's Field Museum (312-922-9410 www.fieldmuseum.org), attend family workshops on archeology, dinosaurs, or natural history, then take a flashlight tour of the African savanna with its lions (mounted) or the mummy-filled Egyptian tomb, before curling up next to the giant T-rex, polar bear, or lowland gorilla. At the Spy Museum (1-866-SPY-MUSEUM; www.spymuseum.org) in Washington, D.C., kid recruits ages nine to 15 transform themselves into secret agents through Operation Secret Slumber. The new sleuths use disguises to forge covert identities, master secret codes, execute missions, and possibly even expose enemy agents. Check the schedule for the next available dates.

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