Parents and their children are visiting the American Museum of Natural History (NYC) in droves after the smash hit "Night at the Museum", which was partially filmed at the historic building. I think this time Hollywood got it right when they created a movie that sparks the imagination and prompts thousands to visit, and support, natural history museums.
The American Museum of Natural History has seen a 20 percent boost in attendance this past holiday season because of the family film, which stars Ben Stiller as a museum night watchman who must deal with exhibits that come to life. About 250,000 visitors went to the museum between Dec. 22 and Jan. 7, which is nearly 50,000 more than the same time last year. The spike is attributed partly to the movie and partly because of increased tourism to New York in general.
"The movie has generated a lot of interest," said museum president Ellen V. Futter. "But there's also just terrific excitement about the museum right now especially with some of our exhibits like the live butterflies and the gorgeous gold exhibit."The museum started a sleep-over program, focusing on children between the ages of 8 and 12, along with their parents or other accompanying adults. Participants, paying $79 each, are asked to bring a sleeping bag and are given cots and light snacks. Futter said the program has been hugely popular and is sold out until June.
The sleepover program has this description:
Break out your sleeping bags and experience the American Museum of Natural History like never before—roaming the halls after the doors close! This unique after-hours chance to explore the Museum's halls, see a Space Show, participate in special activities, and much more will thrill kids ages 8–12 and their caregivers. As the night winds down, you'll camp out under the watchful eye of the blue whale in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. Includes an evening snack and light breakfast.Other natural history museums across the country such as the Field Museum in Chicago and the New York Hall of Science have found success with the sleepover programs as well. My local natural history museums have sleepover programs which my kids have attended. They are really pretty cool and well worth the money.
Anything that brings our youth out to experience the wonderful exhibits in our museums is a huge success in my book. To my homeschool readers: This is definitely something to consider for a homeschool field trip !
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