I love that the third largest city in the U.S. is home to a nature museum. And it’s not tucked away in the 'burbs, either: Peggy Notebaert is on prime Lincoln Park property, across from the zoo, Lincoln Park, Lake Michigan and surrounded by plenty of, well, nature. One of the museum’s most popular spots, particularly among kids, is the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven, a greenhouse where visitors can walk in the home of more than 1,000 butterflies. There’s even butterfly “security” at the door, to make sure you don’t accidently walk out with a winged passenger (I’ve been stopped). Interactive exhibits are the rule and not the exception here, and kids can do science experiments, explore giant rope spider webs, get up close and personal with a turtle skeleton, peer in at the museum’s living collection (tarantula warning!), learn about Chicago’s history as a former marsh, and more. Temporary exhibits combine history, nature, and a touch of whimsy, whether they’re exploring the history of the bicycle or paying tribute to the courier pigeon, as recent shows did. The nature museum is actually built into a sand dune and surrounded by a nature trail and bird walk—two pretty cool spots to discover in the shadow of the Chicago skyline. Allow 1 to 2 hours.