Now that you’ve been to the Museum of Science and Industry and The Field so many times you could lead a tour, it’s time to earn a little extra credit. When you’re craving something new and culture’s on the menu, check out a hidden gem museum that’s just a mini road trip away. We dug up 9 goodies that are within an hour’s drive of Chicago. Click through to see them all, from a secret nature center to an auto museum with superhero appeal.

Knoch Knolls Nature Center – Naperville

Tucked in a quiet residential neighborhood, this slice of nature gives visitors the chance to discover what life was like at the convergence of the East and West Branches of the DuPage River in the 1800s. You'll also get to know the local wildlife that call this corner of DuPage County home. Grab a treasure hunt sheet from the front desk and explore! The highlight is a 900-gallon freshwater fish tank filled with catfish, bass and other swimmers. You'll also track replica fossils in the floor, marvel at a living wall of plants and learn how a rainwater collection cistern works. The building sits in a 224-acre park laced with winding, forested trails and sits adjacent to a nature playground. Go on a Saturday or Sunday, when a separate room has touch-and-feel exhibits and activities for kids.

320 Knoch Knolls Rd.
Hours: Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Admission: Free

Do you have a favorite hidden gem museum? Tell us about it in the Comments!

— Amy Bizzarri & Jenny Muslin