Bring your students, scouts or youth group on a unique overnight adventure. You'll enjoy a night of special programming and exploration tailored to a theme of your choice. Designed expressly for groups of children ages 6-16, overnights at the EcoTarium are educational, interactive and FUN!
Night Journeys are designed for groups of 28 or more. If you have a smaller group, please consider a Boys' or Girls' Night Out (see below).
Choose your program theme:
- All About Animals* - Have an up-close encounter with some of the diverse animals in our care and learn their stories. Play games to explore what habitats and adaptations are all about!
- Be a Scientist* - Fizz! Pop! Wow! Conduct exciting, hands-on chemistry experiments to test your hypotheses using the scientific method!
- Crimes, Codes, & Clues* - Put on your thinking caps and dive into the world of spies, detectives, and forensic scientists! Use logic, careful observation, fingerprint analysis, and encryption to solve a mystery.
- Engineering Design Challenge - Solve problems like an engineer! Prevent "brain" injuries by testing helmet designs and see how far your KEVA bridge can span before it collapses... then build it again!
- Mission Invention - Anyone can invent! Practice thinking outside the box to devise and perfect new solutions to the problems around you. Don't forget to market your novel idea to your friends!
- Ocean Life - Ocean environments are vast and varied - and so are ocean animals! Meet tide pool creatures, dissect a squid, and explore the life of a whale to see what living in the ocean is all about.
- Stars & Space - Zip around the solar system in our planetarium, explore Mars, and launch your own rocket or land your own probe on the red planet! Explore the constellations and, weather permitting, take a look through a telescope!
- City Ecosystems* - Every living thing needs water, so sharing water in cities can be a big problem! Play games, complete challenges, and investigate our new City Science exhibit to learn how we can balance the many water needs of humans, plants, and animals to better care for the aquatic ecosystems of New England cities.
Please refer to the Theme Selection Form for additional information about each theme, including activity descriptions and connections to merit badge requirements and school curriculum standards.
*These themes are not available to groups who miss the one month theme selection deadline.
Planning Your Overnight
Night Journeys are offered from September to June to groups of 28 or more on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. Cost is $50 per person, including children and their adult chaperones. At least one chaperone is required for every 5 children. Children must be age 6 or older to participate.
What to Expect:
- A variety of engaging science and nature exhibits
- A healthy snack: Nutri-Grain bars, fruit, animal crackers, and water are served.
- Special hands-on programming that explores your theme of choice
- A private digital planetarium show
- Sleeping on the museum floor among the exhibits, unless otherwise requested by your group leader.
- An early morning: Wake up at 6:00 am
- A catered continental breakfast: Cereal or instant oatmeal, fruit, muffins, bagels, coffee, and juice
- A morning wildlife tour of our outdoor living exhibits
A Night Journey is an exciting way to experience what the EcoTarium is all about; however, since much of our time together is spent engaging in special themed programming, there is always much more to explore. Therefore, every overnight guest will receive a free admission pass so that they may return another day and continue to enjoy our extensive exhibits, animals, and grounds at their leisure.
You are welcome to use your return admission passes for the following museum day, but please be aware that you must exit the museum grounds at the conclusion of your overnight programming and re-enter museum grounds upon the start of our standard visitor day.
How to Book Your Overnight Program
First estimate your group size, consider some possible dates, and explore our themes.
Then, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 508.929.2703 to reserve your date at least one month in advance. A $150 non-refundable deposit is required at booking. All youth and adults must be included in the group reservation and paid for by one contact person.
Once you've booked, notify us of your chosen theme no later than one month prior to your overnight and share the overnight information sheet with everyone. Please be aware that submitting your theme selection after the one month deadline will reduce your theme options from eight choices to four.
Changes to the group number provided at booking must be made by the Friday three weeks prior to your visit; however, we may not be able to accommodate your change if maximum capacity has been reached.
If your group has members with distinct learning styles or severe allergies, please let us know by submitting our Eating and Learning Notes Form at least two weeks in advance of your overnight.
- Theme Selection Form - due one month before your event
- Overnight Information Sheet - please distribute in advance to all participants
- Eating and Learning Needs Form - due three weeks before your event
Girls' and Boys' Nights Out
Individual scouts and smaller groups or classes, ages 6 and up, are welcome to attend either a Girls' or Boys' Night Out. Night Out events provide an opportunity to experience a Night Journey to guests who are unable to meet the 28-person minimum booking for a private event. Visit our Scout Programs page for more information about upcoming Night Out events.