Nerd out an hour west of the city at Fermilab, the country’s premier subatomic particle physics lab and home to the massive Tevatron accelerator. The lab hosts private scientist-led, behind-the-scenes tours on the first Sunday of each month, but two buildings (one with hands-on, kid-friendly displays) are open to the public daily, as are the 6,800-acre surrounding grounds. Take a stroll along the prairie trails for a glimpse at the lab’s 50-strong herd of bison. Check the culture calendar for eclectic music and smartypants lectures at the on-site Ramsey Auditorium, or swing by the Kuhn Village Barn, a folk club frequented by the physicists, which offers down-home dance lessons on the cheap. For dinner, go Roman at the nearby Francesca's by the River, a suburban outpost of North Side city favorite Mia Francesca.