It’s not uncommon for stag and hen parties to look for the nearest bar and drink until they can’t even see their own L-plates and tutus, but if you’re in a party who wants to do more than party, how about heading to a museum? Yes, you read that right. These museums around the world play host to some spectacular events that will see your transition from single to married in a slightly more cultural style.
Penguins, Pyjamas and Open Bars – Sleepover at California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco
Gather the wedding party for a sleepover in the museum for the bride’s hen night or the grooms bachelor party.
City folk will find relief as the sleeping bags are rolled out in an African Hall, resplendent with the sounds of rainforest frogs and birds. If you’re brave enough you can take your bride- or groom-to-be to sleep outside the swamp by the albino alligator enclosure. Yeesh!
Alternatively, the museum’s Nightlife VIP Tour is every Thursday and you’ll party with an open bar, a one-hour behind-the-scenes tour complete with private gem and mineral vault viewing, tickets to the Planetarium show, and more.
Slumber with the Stars at the Chabot Space and Science Centre, Oakland, California
If you’d travel to the moon and back for your stag or hen, Chabot Space and Science Centre‘s private Slumber with the Stars sleepover is the perfect outing.
The museum in California will work with you to customise your experience, from private telescope viewings with an astronomer to a guided, themed hike into the surrounding redwood forest, to a session learning how things freeze by making your own polar ice-cream. You can even spend the night as a team, designing your own bubble-powered rocket. Beats dancing through streets covered in lipstick any day.
Play with Haunted Toys at the V&A Museum of Childhood, London
Here’s one for the bride or groom with a serious fear of clowns. As they wave goodbye to their youth and enter the adult world of marriage and mortgages, we’re sure they’d love nothing more than being taken for a night-time tour of the V&A Museum of Childhood in London, hosted every now and then in its east London location. Eerie isn’t the word. Your party will get a tour of the ominous-looking exhibits and have the chance to take part in a creepy craft workshop. You might all want to hit the pub afterwards!
Snore & Roar at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, Washington DC
Unleash your inner children at the adults-only Snore & Roar, which is essentially a sleepover in the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, in the heart of Northwest Washington DC. Can you imagine anything more fun?
You’ll pitch your four-person tents on a hill and sleep to the sounds of the howling wolves. Intended for people aged 21 and older (maximum 12 to a group), these brilliant nights include a guided tour of the exhibits by a zookeeper, the all-essential wine and cheese, planned activities, a guided tour of the zoo and a breakfast snack. Snore & Roar overnight camps take place between June and September. Why not agree on your animal onesies so your party will really stand out?
See How Jack the Ripper Partied at the London Dungeon
Looking for an excuse to dress in something other than a veil, a wig and L-plates? You can easily re-do Halloween if you take your hen or stag to the London Dungeon after hours.
On your evening tour through London’s terrifying and macabre history you’ll encounter lashings of booze, come face to face with killer barber Sweeney Todd, stroll down plague-infested streets and see where Jack the Ripper enjoyed a drink on his night off. Tickets include access to the dressing-up box, in case you didn’t come prepared (as if) and several drinks en route.
At the end of this tour you’ll find yourselves in the slightly less scary Dungeon’s Victorian Gin Palace bar. That should take the edge off.
Late Night at the Louvre, Paris
It might have 35,000 works of art on display but the Louvre is popular for just a few, in particular the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and Michelangelo’s slaves. If you’re partying in Paris, start your night with something cultural and mix your Vermeers with your Raphaels before you start on the champagne. The Louvre is open until 9.45pm on Wednesdays and Fridays, so head over, and when people ask if all you did on your hen or stag break was drink, at least you can say no, and feel like you’re not really lying.