Interested in all things space-themed? Then Adler Planetarium is just the right place for you and your family! Established in 1930, Adler is America’s first planetarium and has been a breeding ground for science education ever since. This museum provides over 35,000 feet of space to discover stunning views, immersive theater programs, special exhibitions and much more. Bridging the gap between historical astronomy and modern space exploration, the Adler Planetarium is an excellent piece of Chicago’s history and future, especially for those with children.
Explore the universe by experiencing America’s first steps on the moon, learn about aspects of the solar system, discover how astronomy affects culture, place your hand on a moon rock, touch a piece of Mars, and learn about the Mars Rover. Interactive activities include the option to make your own mini-moon-crater, play in a modern-day space exploration (children ages 3-8), or enjoy the space visualization lab.
Not to Miss at the Adler Planetarium
In addition to some of the rotating exhibits, you’ll want to check out these permanent features at Adler:
- With three full-size theaters, Adler offers insight into the inner workings of the universe with a rotating spectrum of films on offer. The Grainger Sky Theater is built as a “virtual observatory” while the Definiti Space Theater is completely digital. Or take in a film at the 3D Universe Theater to see everything in multi-dimensions.
- Get access to rare telescopes in the Through the Looking Glass Exhibit. Learn how astronomers studied the sky with technology and artifacts spanning 400 years. Experience the South Pole Telescope, which was designed just to look at the cosmic microwave background, which is the oldest light in the universe.
- The kid-friendly Community Design Lab lets kids become scientists with tool kits that allow them to think about science and create adventures to explore space.
Adler Planetarium Amenities
Some of the special services and amenities offered at Adler Planetarium include:
Galileo’s Café offers a variety of lunch and snack options, with the added bonus of dining with a spectacular view of the city through floor-to-ceiling windows. Vending machines and picnic areas are also available.
The Museum Store provides various educational toys and games, books and videos, Adler gear and much more—all centered around the theme of space.
- Accessible restrooms can be found on the third floor of the building.
- The South Box Office is most accessible for guests with disabilities.
- Complimentary manual wheelchairs may be available at the South Box Office for guest use (photo ID required).
- Several reserved accessible parking spaces are available in the adjacent Chicago Park District lot.
- Strollers are welcomed.
- A private nursing room is available for guests.
- Ask about family military discounts.
Free wi-fi is available to Adler guests throughout their visit. Connectivity varies within the museum.
What’s Nearby the Adler Planetarium
Its location on Museum Campus means that the planetarium has plenty of interesting neighbors, including:
- Shedd Aquarium
- Field Museum
- Soldier Field
- Grant Park (with Buckingham Fountain)
- Lake Michigan
Getting to the Adler Planetarium
Located on Lake Shore Drive, Adler Planetarium is ideally located on the Museum Campus and is accessibly by car, public transportation or bicycle.
The nearest parking area for Adler is located just next to the museum. Get in before 9:30am to get a significantly discounted Early Bird rate! Soldier Field North Garage is an option, as well as scattered street parking. Expect that parking rates might increase if special events are running.
Adler can be easily accessed by taking either the CTA (Bus #146 or #130) to the Roosevelt Stop or Metra to the Museum Campus stop.
Divvy bike share has a station location just outside the planetarium, making it easy to get to Adler without the hassle of traffic congestion while getting some healthy exercise. Check the Adler website to see about a special discount code for Divvy.
When to go to the Adler Planetarium
Adler is open daily from 9am-4pm for visits from space enthusiasts and adventurists. If you want the least crowded times (and cheaper parking options) get there early on a weekday when the museum is opening at 9am and you’re most likely to have the place to yourself. Like most Chicago museums, weekends and Illinois days are the busiest.