Spend a Night at Chicago’s Coolest Museums

With some of the best museums and attractions in the country, Chicago offers a plethora of things for families to do. Now imagine visiting some of your favorite places after dark! Check out some of these great spots to have a sweet slumber party (actual slumbering not guaranteed).

Dozin’ with the Dinos

Jan. 24; Feb. 7, 28; March 7, 27; April 3, 17

  • Address: Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago
  • Cost: $73, $68 members; tours and premium sleeping locations extra

Sue and Maximo are having a sleepover. Where else can you spend the night and explore ancient Egyptian culture, traipse through an African savannah or drift off to sleep next to man-eating lions? Take a self-guided flashlight tour and experience “A Night at the Museum” in real life. Designed with families and large groups in mind, these overnights are perfect for kids ages 6-12.

Asleep with the Fishes

Jan. 24, Feb. 28; March 20, 27; April 17, 24; May 8

  • Address: Shedd Aquarium, 1200 S. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago
  • Cost: $85, $70 members; VIP experiences extra

Jellyfish, dolphins and fish, oh my! Spend the night “underwater” at the Shedd Aquarium, with aquatic crafts, scavenger hunt and a Caribbean Reef feeding dive offered throughout the evening. Even if you’ve been there a million times already, you’re sure to experience the aquarium in a totally new way. Recommended for ages 5-12, who must be accompanied by an adult.

Science Snoozeum

Feb. 7, 28 (waitlist only); March 20; April 24

  • Address: Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago
  • Cost: $65

It’s a perfect opportunity to explore the museum’s one-of-a-kind exhibits after everyone else has headed home. Jump in on special science activities and finish a scavenger hunt to receive a special patch. The unique spaces and exhibits make for a beautiful backdrop for your sleepover. Science Snoozeum is open to kids ages 6-12 with an adult, in groups or families.

Sleepover Safari

April 17 (waitlist only); May 1 (waitlist only); Sept. 11, 25; Oct. 9, 23; Nov. 20.

  • Address: Brookfield Zoo, 8400 31st St., Brookfield
  • Cost: $375 per party of five

Have a sleepover with the animals at one of Brookfield Zoo’s overnight adventures. With games, snacks and more, your (zoo) crew ages 6 and older will enjoy this unique opportunity to see how the animals live once the sun sets in a night hike through the zoo, an ice cream social and more fun activities. The next morning, you can enjoy a breakfast buffet and free admission to the zoo (included in your sleepover ticket).

Overnight at Cosley Zoo

Friday or Saturday nights, year round

  • Address: Cosley Zoo, 1356 N. Gary Ave., Wheaton
  • Cost: $40 per person, minimum group 20 people

Activities are customized to your group and begin at 6:30 p.m. For scouts looking for badge requirements, or birthday parties wanting live animal visits, this is perfect for individualized fun. An evening snack and continental breakfast are provided for hungry tummies. From April to October, groups are invited to pitch a tent on the front lawn.

Campout at the Zoo

Select summer Saturdays, registration begins in April

  • Address: Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark Street, Chicago
  • Cost: $65 overnight, $55 members; $40 evening only, $34 members; food and tent rental fees extra.

The overnight experience is recommended for ages 5-12, but for families with younger kids, opt to enjoy just the evening activities. You’ll have a chance to visit the animals at night, explore activity stations and enjoy a campfire. Campouts are held rain or shine, and the dates are posted in the spring.


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This article was originally published on March 30, 2015. It has been updated with the most recent information. 

Chicago Parent Editorial Team
Chicago Parent Editorial Team
Since 1984, the Chicago Parent editorial team is trained to be the go-to source for Chicagoland families, offering a rich blend of expert advice, compelling stories, and the top local activities for kids. Renowned for their award-winning content, the team of editors and writers are dedicated to enriching family life by connecting parents with the finest resources and experiences our community has to offer.
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