9 Unusual Sleepover Spots for Families (& Groups)

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Parents, remember the joy of sleeping over? When nobody actually slept…but that wasn’t the point, was it? When it comes to one-of-a-kind overnight stays for your kid’s next birthday bash or a different type of family vacation, we’ve got you covered. From sleeping alongside sharks, to sleeping in a navy ship above them, read on to discover nine of the best places in the Northwest for a unique overnight stay.

photo: Oona Copperhill/Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Zoo Snooze

A wild night awaits you at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium where you can experience what few others get to—the secret world that goes on there when it get dark! It’s where sleeping with the fishes is a good thing. Group Snoozes, for large groups of a dozen or more participants, is one option to consider (plan about a year ahead if you're eyeing this one). However, we recommend signing up for one of three Family Snoozes, designed specifically for parents and kids. The Pacific Seas Snooze (Apr. 17 & 18) lets families sleep with hammerhead sharks, spotted eagle rays and green sea turtles in the new Pacific Seas Aquarium. At the Rocky ‘Snores’ Snooze (Sept. 4 & 5) families set up camp in front of the windows that look into the sea otter, seal and sea lion and walrus pools. Finally, Boo Snooze (Oct. 23 & 24) is a local Halloween fave. Enjoy spooky snacks, animal encounters and other Halloween-themed activities.

Good to know: Zoo members save $10. Snoozes fill up fast and have a maximum of 20-40 participants.

Times: 7 p.m. Fri.-9:30 a.m. Sat.
Ages: 5 & up
Cost: $80/adult & child pair; $30/ea. additional family member

5400 N. Pearl St.
Tacoma, WA 98407
Online: pdza.org

photo: The White River Valley Museum

Overnight at the Museum: Superheroes!

The White River Valley Museum is a fun and inexpensive place to learn and be entertained any time of the year with city replicas of downtown Auburn from the 1920’s, and special exhibits like the History Kids Clubhouse. They offer overnight events from time to time that feature adventures with scavenger hunts, crafts, games and more. The next one is focused on superheroes where your little Clark Kents and Diana Princes can become Superman and Wonder Woman for a night, so to speak. Be sure to check their website for other upcoming events.

Dates: Mar. 13 & 14
Times: 7 p.m. Fri.-8 a.m. Sat.
Ages: 7-12
Cost: $40

918 11 St. S.E.
Auburn, WA 98002
Online: wrvmuseum.org

USS Turner Joy

Have you every visited a U.S. Naval ship and wondered what it would be like to live on one? The Bremerton Historic Ships Association provides overnight stays on the USS Turner Joy where you can imagine being stationed on the bridge during combat, experience eating meals in the crew’s galley, and sleeping in the crew’s quarters all while being considered shipmates. While on board, you’ll tour the ship, learn the evacuation orientation, have your living quarters inspected by the staff, experience "Taps" before turning in for the night and more.

Times: 5 p.m. Fri.–9:30 a.m. Sat.
Ages: 8 & up
Cost: $650 for up to 10 crew members

300 Washington Beach Ave.
Bremerton, WA 98377
Online: ussturnerjoy.org

Midsummer’s Night

Wolf Haven International is what it sounds like–a sanctuary for wolves--and Midsummer’s Night is their most popular summer event. It's an opportunity for you and about 18 other guests to get up close and personal with the wolves and experience the sanctuary at night in a truly intimate setting. It's also a chance to camp with your kids, hear fascinating stories and wander native prairie lands, lit only by the moon. Dinner and a continental breakfast are included with the sleepover package, as is a morning sanctuary visit before you pack up to leave. Although 2020 dates aren't set yet, they sell out fast, so watch the website if this is one you and the kids can't wait to try.

Dates: Summer TBD
Ages: 4 & up
Cost: $100/adults; $90/kids 4 & up

3111 Offut Lake Rd S.E.
Tenino, WA 98589
Online: wolfhaven.org

Fort Worden

They say that every building at Fort Worden has a story and they are not kidding. Every building on the former Army Corps base is at least 100 years old. Located right on the beach of Puget Sound, Fort Worden is rich in history and a great option for the family's next getaway. The 439-acre property features a variety of cottages and officers quarters to stay in, as well as a museum, a huge grassy play area, gift shops and three restaurants (one is located in a former jail!). You can even stay in former officer’s quarters. Of course, you can spend hours just roaming around the old abandoned military forts, too. The possibilities here are endless.

Cost: $143-$399/night

210 Battery Way
Port Townsend, WA 98368
Online: fortworden.org

Paca Pride Guest Ranch

And now for something completely different. Described by some as the “base camp for your Mountain Loop adventure,” the Paca Pride Guest Ranch features rustic yurt camping (think “round tent”), a log cabin guest room and tent camping–with a side of alpacas! Your kids will love staying in a round room, and you’ll enjoy the furnished queen-sized bed with fresh linens. Staying in the log cabin is a step up. Not only does it have a bathroom in-house, but it's got a Mount Pilchuck view that can't be beat. Nearby activities include hiking trails, old railroad tunnels, ice caves and more. Open all year. Call or email info@pacapride.com for current rates.

28311 Mountain Loop Hwy.
Granite Falls, WA 98252
Online: pacaprideguestranch.com

The Gate Keeper’s Castle

Grab your bestie family friends and book a stay at The Gate Keeper's Castle, Troll Haven's magestic centerpiece. It's one your family will never forget. This huge 4,000-sq.-ft. medieval fortress, with its own private beach, is pure fantasy, with rooms that look like they came from a movie set. It features five full-size bedrooms, a full restaurant-style kitchen, a spiral staircase, stained glass windows and antique décor that brings the experience to life. The owners say it’s a, “dream getaway for anybody seeking a refuge from the mundane," and we have to agree. The house sleeps 10, and if you've got a larger group, onsite camping is allowed, too.

Cost: $500/night, Nov.-May; $1000/night, Apr.-Oct.

950 Gardiner Beach Rd.
Sequim, WA 98382
Online: trollhaven.org

photo: The Museum of Flight

The Museum of Flight

You are now free to move about the cabin...imagine having The Museum of Flight all to yourself. Okay, maybe you and a few friends. Their sleepover program is everything aspiring pilots and astronauts need to learn while having fun. Each package includes a personalized after-hours tour of the museum galleries and a rocket-building activity that bring STEM concepts to life. Add to that a choice of a 1-hour Flying Gizmo Show, a 1-hour Planetarium show or an interactive space or flight program and you've got the right stuff to make this the most memorable sleepover ever. So grab your group and make a flight plan now.

Good to know: Guests earn a free adult admission when they make a program reservation.

Dates: Thurs., Fri. or Sat. nights (plus the following morning)
Times: 6 p.m.–9 a.m.
Ages: 5 & up
Cost: $60/youth, 5 & up; $25/adult for groups of 19 or fewer people. Add $5/child for groups of 20 or more.

9404 E. Marginal Way S.
Seattle, WA 98108
Online: museumofflight.org

Camp Seymour

This YMCA Family Camp provides a unique getaway where all you have to do is pack and show up. The hard-working staff takes care of everything else. They provide activities and meals so families can focus on growing closer through fun challenges and team building activities. And did we mention the cabins situated along a forested inlet on the South Sound? They're cozy, comfy and have some great views. Throughout the weekend, families can try their hand at rock climbing, archery and canoeing. They can also stop in at the science center or get messy at the arts & crafts table. The best part? Family Camp is open to all families and caregivers, so bring on your aunts, uncles and others. Choose from three different Family Camp weekends in 2020. Spend Mother's Day (May 9-10) having a blast at camp, or make this your family Memorial Day Weekend adventure (May 22-25). Labor Day (Sept. 4-7) is another option for the upcoming season.

Ages: 4 & up
Cost: $149/adults; $129/kids, 4-12; Add $50/adults and $10/kid on Labor Day Weekend.

9725 Cramer Rd. KPN
Gig Harbor, WA 98329
Online: campseymour.org

Good to know: Many of these popular spots fill up quickly, so if one of them captures your interest, act fast.

—Jeffrey Totey



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