Searching for a different kind of activity for yourself, your family or group? How about an all-nighter in a museum, in a zoo surrounded by wild animals or inside the yawning hull of a battleship? Grab your pajamas and toothbrush and check out these unique overnight stays.
Snuggle on the Shore
Lighthouses dot our coastlines, and several offer nighttime lodging. At Borden Flats Lighthouse in Somerset, Mass., adults can take on the role of 19th-century lightkeepers from April-December with the benefit of contemporary conveniences.
New York has a trio to choose from. Enjoy every season in the Hudson River Valley’s Saugerties Lighthouse B&B. Guests in the two second-floor bedrooms receive breakfast and share a stovetop and outdoor grill for other meals. Note: it’s a half-mile walk to the quarters and public tours are conducted on Sundays in the summer.
The Selkirk (aka Salmon River) Lighthouse in Pulaski, open April-November, accommodates six to eight people and boasts modern amenities. The on-site marina means you can book charters and rent canoes and kayaks. Thirty Mile Lighthouse in the Niagara region’s Golden Hill State Park welcomes occupants to its second floor year-round. Take advantage of the park’s numerous summer events plus winter recreation on its trails.
Journey on a lobster boat to stay overnight at the Rose Island Lighthouse in Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay and be greeted by harbor seals. Open spring through fall, the first-floor facilities are communal, while the keeper’s apartment upstairs is more private.
Curl up to Culture
You’ll get behind-the-scenes peeks after hours at a variety of area museums, whether as a chaperone, part of a family or by yourself. Parties of 10 or more in grades 1-7 can take part in hands-on activities at the Museum of Science in Boston.
A Night at the Museum is the extremely popular program at New York City’s American Museum of Natural History. In addition to its family and scouting overnight stays, the institution has ones just for grown-ups. Adults also can be part of the annual Dream-Over at the Rubin Museum of Art. In this unique overnight stay experience, you drift off under a piece specifically selected for you, then talk over your reveries in the morning.
Upstate in Cooperstown, groups and families doze alongside inductee’s plaques at the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Extra Innings Overnights. Enjoy a private screening of its new “Generations of the Game” film, and latest exhibit, “Shoebox Treasures,” featuring all the cards your mother threw out.
Group camp ins for children in grades 1-8 are planned throughout the year – with a special Halloween overnighter solely for families – at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, N.J. At Trenton’s Old Barracks Museum, groups of 9- to 12-year-olds can experience the life of a soldier readying for the Battle of Trenton. From March-June and September-October, bone up on Revolutionary military history as well as a period-appropriate program of your choosing.
Know a little one who just loves dinosaurs? Children over age 5 and accompanying adults can track giant reptiles on a scavenger hunt at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History’s Dino-Snore Sleepover in New Haven, Conn.
Bedtime With the Beasts
New York abounds in distinctive nocturnal getaways at its zoos and aquariums. School classes, scouts and youth organizations as well as families drowse within hearing distance of the inhabitants on an Overnight Safari at the Bronx Zoo. Outings for those over 21 are also scheduled. The Queens Zoo holds scouting sleep-ins, and its Family Overnight Adventures allows 4-year-olds to join in on the fun.
Also in the city is the New York Aquarium, with its Sharks After Dark! family and group stayovers for those over age 5. The Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead is where groups of 20 or more can have a Sleep with the Fishes Adventure or Seashore Sleepover. A boat tour is another option.
In Rhode Island, Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence arranges Snooze at the Zoo for families with kids over age 6. Groups of 25 or more with children ages 7 and up can go for a Safari Snore & Roar March-July and September-November, with the fall Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular as an add-on.
Snooze With the Crews
Hit the hay aboard vessels that saw active combat duty. New York City’s Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Complex hosts Operation Slumber. Troops, groups and families with kids over age 6 enjoy unlimited simulator rides and nod off among the aircraft.
Along Camden’s waterfront lies the Battleship New Jersey, where overnighting groups and families chow down in the mess and burrow in bunks. Scouting, school and youth groups and families live like sailors and meet veterans during Nautical Nights at Battleship Cove in Fall River, Mass.
Which of these unique hotels would you stay in – or have you already? Share with us in the comments.