Surrounded by manicured botanical gardens founded in 1814, the Natural History Museum is housed in an Art Nouveau-style building completed in 1917. The zoological collections are presented in a series of dusty dioramas, each representing an eco-climate from sea level up to mountains, but what brings most people to this museum is Ida, the curiously vulnerable-looking, most complete, and earliest primate skeleton known to man.

Bought by the museum in 2009, she is the showpiece in a collection of glittering minerals, fossils, and even a piece of moonstone, all telling the story of our planet's millions of  years of evolution. This place will surely entrance the kids.

All in all, the interior of the museum is ripe for an update, but the gardens outside are beautiful, and free to explore any time of year. They are planted with 7,500 species, from pretty alpine flowers to herbs, rock gardens, and splashing waterfalls. The climate-controlled greenhouses are also open to all. It's a lovely spot for a family picnic on a summer's day.