WASHINGTON - Sleeping next to the elephants in a tent under the stars. It's not an African safari, but rather a summer sleepover at the zoo.
Popular area attractions are opening up their gates to overnight visitors willing to pay for memorable experiences.
Snooze at the Natural History Museum
Just like the movie "Night at the Museum," once the public has gone home, you can arrive for your own night at the museum at Smithsonian's Natural History Museum.
Visitors will see an IMAX movie with snacks and enjoy hours of exploration as part of the sleepover package offered by the museum. Guests will sleep under "Phoenix" the whale in the museum's Ocean Hall. Adults must be accompanied by a child, and the tickets are $135 per person.
Snore & Roar at the National Zoo
Snore and Roar at the Smithsonian National Zoo is meant for families and kids to enjoy. The program runs through September and costs from $80 to $130 for Friends of the National Zoo members.
The overnight Snore and Roar experience starts with a two-hour tour led by a zoo keeper. The group then takes a hike to search for nocturnal animals. Visitors then sleep in tents on Lion/Tiger Hill, ending with breakfast in the morning.
There is still availability for a variety of Snore and Roar family programs which are specific to certain exhibits and animal houses in the park, says Colleen Bernard, FONZ education program specialist.
The adults-only Snore and Roar sleepover package is geared toward visitors 21 and older and includes wine and cheese, a flashlight tour led by a zoo keeper and a tent to share for each group. For Friends of the National Zoo members, overnight costs are $135. Non-members will pay $163.
There's also an elephant-specific tour in September that highlights the zoo's new Elephant Community Center.
The adult-only sleepovers run during the summer, but are sold out for the year.
Sleepover at the National Aquarium
Those who have always wanted to rest their heads near the dolphins have the chance at the National Aquarium. The overnight adventure is for flipper fans ages eight and older for $110 per person for non-members.
The aquarium, located in Baltimore, has a sleepover with the sharks option too.
Each of the hosts offer custom tours for larger groups or discounts.
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