Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

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Permanent exhibits at this kid-friendly nature museum (which features one of the best live butterfly exhibits around) include "Mysteries of the Marsh," which explores wetland conservation tactics and animals, such as the massasauga rattlesnake. "RiverWorks" (formerly the "Water Lab"), an interactive river system, offers a look at native fish and river critters, while demonstrating how human impact shapes waterways.

Other permanent exhibits: "Wilderness Walk," which focuses on Midwest animal and plant life; "Extreme Green House," a full-size bungalow that teaches how each family is connected to nature; "Birds of Chicago" which features nearly 100 native Illinois specimens: and "Hands-on Habitat," where kids under age seven can learn about the prairie and wetlands and climb the two-story Tree of Life.