Night at the museum
See Fernbank after hours at its first sleepover

Fernbank Museum of Natural History will open its doors after hours to provide patrons with a unique, real-life "Night at the Museum."

The museum will host its first Museum Sleepover Aug. 2 through 3 for families or groups with children ages 7 to 12. The educational staff has planned a host of exclusive after-hours activities, which will stir the imagination and bring science to life.

The event is designed to give participants an opportunity to enjoy special access to the museum's facilities with hands-on activities.

"It's themed around the "Night at the Museum' movie," said Brandi Berry, director of Public Relations and Promotions for Fernbank. "Some of the characters will work their way into activities we're doing."

An encounter with Amelia Earhart is scheduled as part of the evening's festivities, where patrons will employ basic flight principles to help solve a mystery. This scavenger hunt and puzzle will incorporate hands-on activities exploring the wonders of science.

The museum's trained educational experts will also present a live animal encounter with small nocturnal animals, followed by a dance party under the dinosaur. The evening will include a private screening of the IMAX film "Dinosaurs Alive," which follows real paleontologists as they go on dinosaur digs, while state-of-the-art technology recreates dinosaur life on the big screen. The evening will conclude with "camping under the stars" in the Star Gallery, complete with a fiberoptic ceiling illuminating the night sky with all of the galaxies.

"Things do look different in the dark," Berry said. "I think people will really enjoy being here in a different set of circumstances. They really are getting that after-hours experience that most people will never do."

Fernbank considers the museum sleepover a "whole new venture," Berry said. "We've had a lot of people ask if we do sleepovers. We're finally at the point where we can let loose and have people sleep over here."

Fernbank's Museum Sleepover is part of its 90 Days of Dinosaurs, which is set to end Aug. 22 with the annual Dinosaur Birthday Bash.

"If people can't make it to the sleepover," Berry said, "that's a nice daytime event where people can still come and learn."

Fernbank requires reservations in advance. The sleepover, set for 6 p.m. Aug. 2 at 6 p.m. to 9:30 a.m. Aug. 3, is available on a space-available basis for $75 per person for members and $100 per person for non-members. For more information or to reserve a spot, call 404-929-6400.

Fernbank Museum of Natural History is at 767 Clifton Road in Atlanta. More information is available online at www.fernbankmuseum.org/programs_events/90days/museum-sleepover.aspx.