Fossils and beyond
When most folks thinks of natural history museums, they think of the paleontological powerhouses: the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., and Chicago's Field Museum.
But it's also worth seeking out natural history museums that don't enjoy the same international notoriety. Visitors to these natural history museums can learn about the natural world past and present minus the maddening crowds (although we can’t guarantee a field-trip-free experience).
Here, you'll find our seven top picks of not-super-famous-but-highly-respectable natural history museums in the U.S. For each, we've provided information about what you’ll find aside from prehistoric fossils — a crowd-pleasing given at any major natural history museum. All of our picks do have paleontological collections, such the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (pictured), but it's worth highlighting what else each museum offers for those who couldn't give a toss about T. rex skeletons.
This gallery has been updated with new information since its original publication in July 2013.