Have you ever felt the urge to stay in an offbeat hotel? Not the "I think I might witness a drug deal here if I don't get stabbed first" kind of offbeat, but the cool and weird kind that puts a twist on your vacation. We sure have, so we've assembled a list of some strange places you can spend the night if you're looking for an adventure.
Most of the time you don't want to "sleep with the fishes." But if you could have a sleepover with fish without dying, would you want to? It would be pretty cool, but how would you actually do it? Long lasting scuba gear? Genetic modification to produce gills? That air helmet SpongeBob wears?
Thankfully, you can spend a night near a diversity of sea life without having to get wet. The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, formerly the largest in the world, routinely lets people spend the night. You can plop down a sleeping bag right next to a tank full of sharks, stingrays, or other sea creatures. They have different types of trips for elementary schools, middle schools, scouts and even adults who don't want to let kids have all the fun.
In the mountains of northern Finland you can see the beautiful lights of the aurora. Unfortunately, the intense cold tends to stop people from hanging outside late at night. You could stay in a hotel, but then how would you see the northern lights? That pesky roof would be in the way.
One hotel offers a solution in the form of a glass igloo. They also offer snow igloos for try-hards, but at that point you might as well just bring your own tent and really rough it out. Plus, you still can't see out of the top of them. But if you stay in a glass igloo you can stay warm and have an incredible view. Nice work, Finland.
Even if you're not American you've heard of the American Museum of Natural History, a giant complex across from New York's Central Park that houses over 32 million specimens and artifacts. But if you visit during the day it will be crowded and you'll have to move fast to see all you want. What to do?
Well, they also give you the option of spending a night at the museum, and Ben Stiller won't even be there to annoy you. This allows you to pursue the exhibit at your leisure, and maybe sneak into a couple. They suggest you sleep somewhere in the halls, perhaps next to a giant African elephant. Which is kind of a flippant attitude, really, although presumably they check in on you at some point to make sure that you're still alive.
Ahoy, maties! Avast ye, look off the starboard bow and, uh, well, that's about the extent of our pirate speak knowledge. Many people like the romantic idea of being a pirate or sea captain, but the reality of sea sickness, long stretches of time away from friends and family and a possible criminal record holds us back.
Consequently, many of us have wanted to feel like a sea captain but haven't gone on any ship that isn't of the cruise variety. As a start towards rectifying that, why not stay in a lighthouse? A number of them offer accommodations for the aquaphobic traveler. It's right next to the sea and has a connection to sailing. Perhaps it will induce the same salty, nautical feeling that sailing would without any of the negative consequences. Just make sure to keep the light on so the ghost ship can make it to shore.
Have you ever told anyone that they belong in a zoo? Maybe a child was acting up, or your friend hadn't showered in a few days, or you're just kind of a jerk. Even if you haven't used the line yourself, we bet you were a recipient of it at least once while growing up.
Maybe our parents were right, and now we have the opportunity to find out. The Philadelphia Zoo offers the experience of spending the night with programs for scouts, teens and families. Staying overnight at the zoo allows visitors to see the animals in "nocturnal mode," take part in a variety of activities, learn some new facts and see whether or not they truly do belong there.