Columbus is known for its ever expanding eclectic arts scene and its Columbus Museum of Art is a testament to that. This museum itself is very beautiful and it houses a variety of creative pieces from impressionist art works to exquisite photography exhibits. Another great feature of the museum is that it proudly shows off regional artists, honoring those artists who hail right from Ohio. 480 East Broad Street. Tue.-Sun. 10am-5:30pm; Thurs. 10am-8:30pm.
Located close to Michigan State University, the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum provides great insight into the automobile industry history of the area, and is a gem for car enthusiasts. The museum honors Ransom Eli Olds who was a pioneer of the automobile industry of Lansing in the early 20th century. The museum showcases numerous automobiles and aspects of transportation that keep visitors coming back year after year. 240 Museum Drive, Lansing. Tue-Sat, 10am-5pm; Sun, 12pm-5pm.
Located on the University of Wisconsin’s Campus is the school’s Geology Museum. Complete with glow in the dark rocks, sparkling gems, and dinosaur fossils, the museum does not lack of interesting finds to admire. Also, Badger fans will appreciate the museum’s exhibits that offer specific information on local geology from the Wisconsin area. 1215 West Dayton Street. Mon-Fri, 8:30am-4:30pm; Sat, 9am-1pm.
From it’s fun, playful exterior to its multitude of interesting science and math related activities, the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum fosters learning in a creative and imaginative atmosphere. The museum offers cool energy exhibits, exhibits on different kinds of machines, and many more. It is a family friendly place, so it is a great place to check out if you are making your Big Ten trip a family occasion. 220 E. Ann Street. Mon.-Sat., 10am – 5pm; Sun. 12pm-5pm.
The Tippecanoe Battlefield Museum offers insight into a great piece of American history, and it is only seven miles north of West Lafayette, Ind. and Purdue University. On these historic grounds is where the Battle of Tippecanoe took place, involving William Henry Harrison and his troops and Tecumseh and the Native Americans. One can learn more about the battle by walking its grounds or go through the museum and look through the different weapons. In addition it offers great hiking trails as well as a picnic area for everyone to enjoy. 200 Battle Ground Avenue, Battle Ground, Ind. Daily, except Wednesdays, 10m-5pm.
The Spurlock Museum is a large, vibrant place, full of amazing things to see. The museum has five main exhibits which each represent different cultures from various areas around the world. Ancient Egypt, Ancient Mesopotamia, Ancient Greece, Oceania and American Indian are just a few of the cultures you can immerse yourself in throughout the museum. 600 S. Gregory Street. Tue, 12pm-5pm; Wed- Fri, 9am-5pm; Sat, 10am-4pm; Sun, 12pm-4pm.
The Lincoln Children’s Museum is full of things to climb on, noises to make, and activities to create. It can keep children occupied for hours by helping them imagine themselves as sailors or astronauts in their space and water exhibits. If you are heading to a Cornhuskers game with some young ones, this is an excellent place to bring them while you are visiting. 1420 P Street. Tues, Wed, Fri, Sat, 9:30am-5pm; Thurs, 9:30am-7:30pm; Sun, 1-5pm.
While this museum is an obvious favorite for Penn State fans, it really is a cool place for anyone to check out, Nittany Lion or not. The Penn State All-Sports Museum is located in Beaver Stadium which is already a pretty awesome place. Visitors can tour through decades of varsity athletics history and see how their amazing sports programs have come to be where they are today. Southwest corner of Beaver Stadium. Hours vary by season; Regular: Tues-Sat, 10am-4pm; Sun, 12pm-4pm. Winter: Fri-Sat, 10am-4pm; Sun,12pm-4pm. Home Football Weekends: Fri, 10am-8pm; Sat, 9am-3.5 hrs before kick-off; Sun, 10am-4pm.
Chanute Aerospace Museum honors the amazing, civil engineer and aeronautics genius Octave Chanute. On display in the museum one can find various old airplanes, helicopters, missiles, and information on various aspects of the military and past wars. This is a great museum for history buffs and offers different events and programs to cater to its visitors. It is certainly deserving of its place on this list. 1011 Pacesetter Drive, Rantoul, Ill. Hours vary by season, see website for schedule.
Holding its own near the big city of Chicago, is the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University. The museum offers an array of art from video, to photography, to one of a kind exhibitions. Visitors can also view old and new, unique films in the Block Cinema located in the museum. Also, admission is free so there is no reason not to go! 40 Arts Circle Drive. Tue-Sun, 10am-5pm.
The outside structure of the Weisman, designed by the famed architect Frank Ghery, with its topsy-turvey steel-structure gives wonderful insight to the amazing art that lies inside. From American Modernism to Korean Furniture, this museum offers several pieces that will make on-lookers look deep into the meaning of the museums pieces and truly appreciate the creativity of the artists. It’s no surprise that the museum is so spectacular, as the University of Minnesota holds one of the country’s most premiere public arts programs. This museum certainly is a work of art in itself and a place you should check out when visiting the land of the Golden Gophers. 333 East River Parkway. Tues-Wed, Fri 10am-5pm; Thurs, 10am-8pm; Sat-Sun, 11am-5pm.
Topping my list of large museums is COSI in the Buckeye state. COSI, which stands for the Center of Science and Industry, is a fun, interactive museum for ages of all types. Rat basketball, a one of a kind high wire unicycle, an extreme screen theatre, space shuttle simulations, and exploding hydrogen balloons are amongst the many attractions that COSI has to offer. Another fun feature of COSI it its “COSI After Dark.” During this event on the third Thursday of every month, adults 21+ get to have COSI all to themselves. Alcoholic beverages and complimentary snacks are served, along with live music for a new kind of night out. Because of all of these fun features it is easy to see why COSI has landed at the top of my list. 333 W. Broad Street. Mon.-Sat. 10am-5pm; Sun. 12pm-6pm.