By Rachel Azark
1300 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60605
Did you know that America’s first planetarium is right here in our own backyard? Max Adler, a Chicago business leader, founded the planetarium in 1930. And since then, the center has been a recognized leader in science education.
What to Do – Exhibits
For families with children between the ages of 3 and 8, Planet Explorers is an exhibit that includes three different play areas where you can explore Earth, Space and Planet X.
Shoot for the Moon
Here you can view the fully restored Gemini 12 spacecraft that was flown by Captain Lovell and Buzz Aldrin in 1966, explore the surface of the moon, pilot a lunar landing, and feel what it’s like to jump on the moon in a lunar gravity simulation.
Historic Atwood Sphere
Experience the night sky over Chicago as it appeared in 1913. The star positions haven’t changed since then, but the light pollution over the city has. The sphere is 15 feet in diameter and has 692 holes drilled into its metal surface. The holes allow light to enter and show the positions of the stars.
Choose from one of three theatres at the Planetarium to experience the sky. Select either the Grainger Sky Theater, Definiti Space Theater or the Samuel C. Johnson Family Star Theater, which showcases 3D movies. The website lists all of the shows currently playing and their showtimes.
Adler After Dark
Catering to the over 21 crowd, every third Thursday, the Adler opens its doors after dark to offer cocktails and a chance to mingle among the planets. A ticket gets you admission into the museum, access to the scheduled sky shows, and a peek into the Doane Observatory, the largest publicly accessible telescope in the Midwest. Doors are open from 6 to 10 p.m., with the cash bar open until 9:30 p.m. Tickets purchased in advance are only $12, or $9 if you’re an Adler member.
#146 Inner Drive/Michigan Express/Museum Campus
#130 Museum Campus (mid-May through Labor Day)
Roosevelt CTA stop services the Red, Orange and Green lines. The stop offers connections to the #146 bus located at State and Roosevelt Road.
Visit the Adler Planetarium website for driving directions and information on parking.