University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
40 Winks with the Sphinx Sleepover Program at the Penn Museum

Penn Museum's sleepover, 40 Winks with the Sphinx , invites guests to an overnight "expedition" of the Museum. The night's activities are geared to take intrepid explorers on a journey through time and across continents, with hands-on opportunities, through games and crafts, to explore ancient Egypt, the mummies and hieroglyphics, the ancient Greeks and Romans, the world of the ancient Maya, and more.

Program Information

An unforgettable experience for kids, ages 6 to 12, and their parents or chaperones! See our Events Calendar for scheduling and online registration.

A scavenger hunt and an evening expedition through the galleries by flashlight offer new ways to connect with the ancient artifacts awaiting discovery.

Later in the night, explorers roll out their sleeping bags—to doze at the foot of the third largest granite Sphinx in the world—surrounded by the 3,200-year-old pillars from the great palace of the Pharaoh Mereneptah, son of Ramesses II. 40 Winks with the Sphinx concludes with a light breakfast in the Museum Café, then time to explore the galleries by day, and visit the gift shop.

Space is limited and dates sell out quickly. Please call 215.898.2680 for the latest information and available dates, or simply check out our Events Calendar where you can find an available date that works for you, then reserve your spot immediately by registering online. Scouts are welcome!

Everyone needs to bring an evening snack (or bag dinner), a flashlight, a sleeping bag, a pillow, and if you like, a mat. You will be sleeping on the gallery floor. Camping pads, yoga or foam mats, and/or extra blankets are suggested. Inflatable air mattresses and cots are not permitted in order to maintain a safe emergency egress. If you cannot sleep on the floor and/or have a back injury we do not recommend attending.

The 24-hour number for emergencies is 215.898.4001.

Admission Price includes

  • Scavenger hunt
  • Museum exploration
  • Evening flashlight expedition
  • Arts and crafts activities
  • Light Breakfast
  • Museum Admission the morning after the sleepover
  • Souvenir Patch for all participants 6-12 years old that gives them Museum admission for the remainder of the school year

"I will be recommending this program to every family I know - we had that great of a time. Best night ever, hands down..."

One of six "can't-miss museum sleepovers around the country."


Penn Museum welcomes families large and small. One adult is required for every 1 - 5 children (ages 6 - 12 years old) attending. All children must be accompanied by an adult (21 years of age or older) chaperone at all times.

Registration and Policies

Each date will be limited to 175 participants. All participants in the sleepover program must pre-register and pay all applicable fees in advance. The program is for children aged 6 - 12 and their chaperones aged 21 and older only. Absolutely no walk-in registrations are permitted. All scout leaders that book must be sure the children in their group are 6 - 12 years of age. No exceptions.

Waiver Form

*All attending adults need to please print, read, and sign the waiver form before coming to the 40 Winks with the Sphinx sleepover. The form needs to be handed in with final payment.*

Waiver Form

  Booking Information and Online Registration

Register for a sleepover online


$55 per person
$45 per Museum member
$50 per person for groups of 21 or more

For groups of 21 or more

To receive the group rate when you register, you must call 215.898.2680 with a single form of payment ready. A nonrefundable deposit of 25% of the total cost is required. Full payment and final count are due two months prior to the sleepover (for example, if your program date is March 19, your final payment is due January 19).


All payments are due prior to the sleepover. You can register and pay online with a credit card. Just click on the 40 Winks date you are interested in at the bottom of this webpage. In order to receive the member discount online, members must log-in on the payment site. If you prefer to send a check, please call us to register your spots before you send your check in the mail. You can make the check out to the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania and mail it to the museum’s address as follows: Attn: 40 Winks (fill in date of your program), 3260 South Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104. Please include contact information with your payment so you can receive a confirmation email or phone call. All parents, chaperones, and scout leaders must be sure the children in their group are 6 - 12 years of age. Chaperones must be 21+. No exceptions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What time is the Penn Museum sleepover?

    40 Winks with the Sphinx begins with registration from 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm and ends at 9:00 am the next morning. The program includes Museum admission for the whole day the morning of the sleepover.

Where do we park?

    Pay lots are in the vicinity and metered parking is available on some streets nearby. The parking garage adjacent to the Museum on Convention Avenue is called Lot 7. We do not validate. See Directions and Parking for more detailed directions. Penn Museum does not own either garage and therefore is not responsible for their rates and regulations.

What entrance to the Museum should we use to get to the program?

    Please use the Kress entrance located on the east end of the building. It is the entrance closest to the parking garages.

How do we check in?

    Please enter at the Kress Entrance (on the east side of the building) to check in with your sleepover equipment.

What if we arrive late?

    It is important that you try and arrive at the scheduled registration time of between 5:30 and 6:30 pm. If you find you must arrive late, the Kress Entrance will remain open until 7:30 pm. No one will be admitted to participate in the sleepover after 7:30 pm. Penn Museum is located within the Philadelphia city limits, that being said please incorporate city traffic into your travel time.

What should we bring?

    Everyone must bring a sleeping bag, pillow, and if you like, a mat. You will be sleeping on the gallery floor. Camping pads, yoga mats, and/or extra blankets are suggested. Inflatable air mattresses and cots are not permitted in order to maintain a safe emergency egress. If you have trouble sleeping on the ground, we do not recommend you attend this program. Please bring an evening snack labeled with your name that should be placed in the Group Dining area when you arrive. Other items to bring are toothbrush, toothpaste, washcloth, flashlight, and comfortable sleeping clothes.

What types of food will be served at the sleepover?

    The Museum will provide a light breakfast for you in the morning from 7:00 am - 8:30 am. Participants are encouraged to bring a snack or bag dinner for the evening. Your snack should be labeled with your name and placed in the Group Dining area when you arrive. The Museum does not have refrigeration for snacks. Vending machines are located in the Group Dining area. Vending machines accept $1.00 bills and coins. Please bring change for vending machines. Food is only permitted in the Group Dining area. If you or your child have severe food allergies bringing your own breakfast food is recommended.

Where do we sleep?

    All guests will sleep in Penn Museum's Egypt (Sphinx) Gallery, which is home to a fifteen ton Red Granite Sphinx, 19th Dynasty (ca. 1290-1224 BCE.) The sphinx, a lion with a human head, represents the power of the Egyptian king, both to protect his people and to conquer the enemies of Egypt. This statue was buried up to its shoulders; only the exposed head was attacked by windblown sand, which eroded the facial features and the royal false beard. The inscriptions on the chest and around the base give the five names of Ramesses II. His son and successor, Mereneptah (1224-1214 BC), added his own cartouches to the shoulders after his father's death. This sphinx is the third largest known in the world. It was quarried at Aswan and transported by river to the Ptah Temple at Memphis, 600 miles away. This gallery is not air conditioned.

Can we increase the number of participants in our group?

    Space is very limited for the sleepovers. If you want to increase your group size or make changes to your reservation, you must call 215.898.2680 from Monday-Friday, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm. Places are provided strictly on a first-come, first-served basis. Group size must be finalized one month before the event.

What if someone cancels in our group?

    There are no refunds for the sleepovers. We will try to reschedule you for a later sleepover in the season based on availability. Arrangements must be made at least one month prior to originally scheduled event date. Last minute cancellations will not be rescheduled. In the unlikely event the Museum finds it necessary to cancel a sleepover, a full refund will be made.

It is snowing outside, is the sleepover still going to happen?

    The sleepover program will continue as planned unless the University of Pennsylvania decides to close due to weather. Closing is extremely rare but can happen. Please call 215.898.MELT (6358) if you are unsure if the University is closed due to snow. In the unlikely event the Museum finds it necessary to cancel a sleepover, a full refund will be made.

How much of the Museum will be open?

    All galleries will be open to explore from 7:30 pm - 9:45 pm. The Flashlight Expedition through the Museum will take you through several galleries in the dark. Please bring your own flashlight.

How many people can attend a sleepover?

    40 Winks with the Sphinx can accommodate up to 175 people.

What if someone gets sick or hurt?

    Notify a sleepover staff member if anyone in your group gets sick or hurt.

Can we leave early from the sleepover?

    Yes, participants may leave early if needed. Please alert a sleepover staff member before leaving the Museum.

When will Penn Museum Shop be open during the sleepover?

    The shop opens at 7:00 am for sleepover participants.

How many chaperones are required to participate with a group?

    Each group will be required to maintain a ratio of one adult supervisor per five child participants. All children must be accompanied by an adult chaperone at all times.

Where do we change into our sleeping clothes?

    Restroom facilities will be available on the first floor at the Kress Entrance, but as changing space is limited it is preferred if you wear clothes that you can sleep in.

When do I receive confirmation for 40 Winks with the Sphinx ?

    You will receive an email confirmation immediately after you register online for Forty Winks with the Sphinx .Please print out your email and bring it to check-in on the date of your event along with your filled out waiver form. If you register over the phone you will get a confirmation call as soon as we receive your check in the mail (please include a phone number with your check). For group registrations please note that you will be told your payment deadline when you register.

How old do you have to be to participate in the 40 Winks with the Sphinx program?

    Children must be between the ages of 6 and 12 years old.

How old must a chaperone be?

    A chaperone must be at least 21 years old. Teenage siblings do not qualify.

Can I bring a birthday cake or cupcakes to celebrate my child's birthday at a sleepover?

    Yes, but no candles are permitted. All food must be labeled and placed in the Group Dining area when you arrive. You will need to provide all plates and utensils. Snacks may be eaten between 7:45 pm and 9:00 pm. The Museum does not provide refrigeration.

Can we visit the Museum the next day?

    Yes, general admission for the Museum is included the next day. The museum opens to the public at 10am. If you plan to visit us you and your family must remove your sleepover gear from the building by 9am. Once your gear is out, you may come back in and continue exploring!

Is there a place to store our sleeping equipment before and after the sleepover?

    All sleeping equipment will be placed in the Lower Egyptian Gallery upon check-in and remain there throughout the sleepover. If you choose to visit the Museum after the program, all sleeping equipment must be removed from the Museum by 9:00 am.

What is the temperature like inside the Museum?

    The Museum does not have one consistent temperature throughout the whole building. Each gallery is different. We recommend coming prepared with layers of clothes so you can adjust to your own comfort level.

What stuff should I leave at home?

    Please leave your Game consoles, I-Pods, MP3 players, and other electronic devices safe at home. Inflatable air mattresses such as Aerobeds are not permitted. No Heelys are permitted in the Museum. Running is prohibited in the Museum. Shoes must be worn at all times.

I am a Penn Alum, does this mean I am also a Penn Museum member and can get the member rate?

    You are only a Penn Museum member if you have an official Penn Museum membership card as well as a membership number. If you do not have either of these things, you are not a Museum member.

Why are there no scheduled dates in the summer for a sleepover?

    Most of our galleries are not air conditioned, therefore we cannot hold sleepovers in the summer due to the heat.

Can I bring children younger than 6 to the program? (They are quite well-behaved and advanced learners.)

    Children under 6 years old are NOT allowed. It has very little to do with learning or behavior, and much more to do with stamina and maturity. 40 Winks is very fast-paced and campers stay up very late (bed time around midnight). Also, the museum is a very unusual place to sleep and younger children can be easily scared of such unusual surroundings in the dark. We are very strict about this, NO exceptions will be made.

Codes of Conduct

  • One chaperone is required for every 5 children, and must stay with them at ALL times.
  • Chaperones are responsible for the behavior of their group throughout their stay at 40 Winks with the Sphinx . Children are not permitted to play on stairways or elevators and are expected to be respectful to others.
  • Please do not touch or place anything on the artifacts or cases.
  • Please do not run or yell while in the Museum.
  • No food or drink is allowed outside the lunchroom area.
  • Please do not go to floors or galleries that are off-limits during the Sleepover; follow your schedule.
  • Shirts and shoes or slippers must be worn throughout the evening. No Heelys are allowed.
  • After Lights Out chaperones are responsible for keeping their children in their designated sleep area.
  • All MP3 players, electronic games or devices should be turned off after Lights Out. Cell phones should be put on vibrate.
  • Alcohol is not allowed on the premises during Sleepovers. Violators will be asked to leave.
  • Pathways in designated sleeping area must be kept clear.

Sample Schedule

Friday Evening
5:30 - 6:30 p.m. Check in
Drop off sleeping equipment
Kress Entrance
Egypt (Sphinx) Gallery
Whole Museum
7:00 - 7:15 p.m. Orientation Rainey Auditorium
7:15 - 7:45 p.m. "What in the World?" Rainey Auditorium
7:45 - 10 p.m. Open Exploration:
Choose from four available activities:
  • Egyptian Hieroglyphs
    • Learn about and try the writing system used by the ancient Egyptians!
  • Interactive Mummy Cart
    • Touch and learn about real Peruvian mummies!
  • Origami Paper Folding
    • Learn to create using this traditional Japanese art form!
  • Yoga
    • Learn traditional physical and mental exercise, orginating in India!


Egypt (Mummies) Gallery


Chinese Rotunda


Mosaic Hall


Pepper Hall

7:45 - 11:30 p.m. Snack Room Open Group Dining
10:00 - 10:15 p.m. Expedition Preparation Rainey Auditorium
10:15 - 11:00 p.m. Flashlight Expedition Whole Museum
11:00 - 11:45 p.m. Unwind/Get Ready for Bed Egypt (Sphinx) Gallery
11:45 p.m. Light's Out Egypt (Sphinx) Gallery
Saturday Morning
7:00 a.m. Rise and Shine! Egypt (Sphinx) Gallery
7:00 - 8:30 a.m. Breakfast Group Dining
7:00 - 9:00 a.m. Museum Pyramid Shop/Museum Exploration Whole Museum
9:00 a.m. Farewell  

40 Winks Dates

No events


Public Programs Department


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