It’s not every night that you get to bed down with a beluga. But an overnight at the Georgia Aquarium beats your regular hotel stay fins down.

Families settle down to sleep with the fishes at the Georgia Aquarium.

Families settle down to sleep with the fishes at the Georgia Aquarium.

The accommodations are BYOSB (bring your own sleeping bag); the meals cater to an eight-year old palette (mac and cheese, pizza) and showers are not included. But the experience of an aquarium overnight rivals any four-star hotel.

Almost all aquariums mid-sized and up now offer some type of overnight program, but one of the most popular places to check in for the night is at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. Here, kids aged 7 and up, and their families, can reserve floor space for a night of sea-based fun.

Girls get some hands-on experience with underwater friends.

Girls get some hands-on experience with underwater friends.

Opened in 2003, the Georgia Aquarium is one of the largest in the nation. According to their sources, the ten million gallons of tanks at the GA hold more underwater creatures than any other and is the only facility to combine both aquarium and veterinarian teaching hospitals.

Check in is around 7pm. After the doors close, overnighters have supper then kids and their parents explore behind the scenes of the aquarium. Next up is educational activities and a movie. When it’s time for lights out, overnighters unroll their sleeping bags in designated galleries and sleep under the watchful eyes of a giant octopi, graceful rays and Deepo the garibaldi damselfish (and GA mascot).

The Aquarium's 100-foot long tunnel provides lots of sleeping space.

The Aquarium’s 100-foot long tunnel provides lots of sleeping space.

In the morning, there’s breakfast and some time to say goodbye to new friends, both aquatic and land-based. You won’t leave raving about the comfort of your mattress, but it will be one night’s sleep you’ll never forget.

Did you know? The right whale is the Georgia state mammal. These gentle giant’s calving grounds include waters just off the Georgia coast.

Looking for more museum sleepover ideas? This article at USA Today has many other great ideas of other listings all across the US.

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