Most people visit the Lake Tahoe and Reno area to experience the great outdoors, but the area has a surprising number of museums–some are even located outdoors. Like the Taylor Creek Visitor Center. This series of trails and interpretive markers profiles Tahoe's wildlife and streams. Two other museums that bring the outside in are the Tahoe Maritime Museum and the beautiful Vikingsholm Castle in Emerald Bay.
If you want a bit of history, head to the Gatekeeper's Museum in Tahoe City or the Emigrant Trail Museum at Donner Lake. Both tell the stories of the people who lived and settled the rough terrain of the Sierra. The wonderful Nevada State Museum in the capital city of Carson City has exhibits that talk about the Silver State's mining, gaming and ancient past. The museum even has an underground mine tour.
For some fun interaction with art and science, take the whole family to The Discovery, an excellent museum that features a giant cloud climber, science experiments and even a place for kids to go mock camping while looking at the stars. At the KidZone in Truckee, children can learn to garden, paint and even play with farm animals. For some actual art exhibits from the likes of Van Gogh and Frida Kahlo, the award-winning Nevada Museum of Art has changing exhibits in a beautiful, contemporary building in downtown Reno.