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.

Trailside Museum of Natural History – River Forest

Established in 1931, the Hal Tyrrell Trailside Museum of Natural History is a small museum located in a historic mid-1870′s Victorian mansion. Kids will have the chance to meet live native animals, including owls, frogs, turtles and even a fox. Hands-on activities compliment learning, and even the toddlers in your group will enjoy the easy animal-themed puzzles. Natural-surfaced hiking trails through the surrounding Forest Preserve are perfect for little hikers and wind through beautiful oak woodlands and along the Des Plaines River.

730 Thatcher Ave.
River Forest
Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. (closed Fridays)
Admission: Free

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

— Amy Bizzarri & Jenny Muslin