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Guide To The Adler Planetarium

Adler Planetarium
The Adler Planetarium (credit: CBS)

Hours: Weekdays – 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Weekends – 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Admission: $12 for adults, $10 for Seniors ages 65 and older, and $8 for children ages 3-11
Chicago residents receive a $2 discount on Adult and Senior admission or admission packages, and a $3 discount on Child admission and admission packages with proof of residency

The Adler Planetarium, the first ever planetarium built in the U.S., has been wowing visitors with its unique take on space science education since 1930. Located on Chicago's Northerly Island, it's part of the Museum Campus together with the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum of Natural History. From the Big Bang to the stars over Chicago, the Adler will take you on a trip beyond our galaxy without having to don a cumbersome space suit. You're guaranteed to deepen your understanding of planetary and space science with the Adler's engaging, interactive exhibits and shows.

The Adler Planetariumis shown in downtow
(credit: JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images)

Don't Miss Exhibits

Gravity Shapes the Universe explores the mysteries of black holes and gravity. Learn what's holding you down in life in this three-room exhibit.

• The Adler's Galaxy Wall, located on the lower level is the largest, most complete view of our Milky Way.

Telescopes: Through the Looking Glass showcases some of the world's most important telescopes in an interactive exhibition that invites you to explore the technology behind these viewfinders to the universe.

• Shoot for the Moon highlights the epic stories of space exploration while touching upon America's bold plans to return to the moon. Be sure to check out A Journey with Jim Lovell, which features the fully restored Gemini 12 spacecraft and the Lovell Collection of personal space artifacts.

Adler Planetarium

Catch a Show

The Adler plays host to a whopping three full-size theatres, each offering a show guaranteed to draw you into space. Sit back, relax, and see the night sky in the Grainger Sky Theater. The DefinitiTM Space Theater's dome is powered by more updated Digital Sky software. The 3D Universe Theater offers yet another digital experience, with the added bonus of 3D. Schedules and shows change daily, so check the listings before your visit at

Kid-Friendly Exhibits

The Adler Planetarium does a grand job of bringing space down to a kid's level at its Planet Explorers play space. Children can take an imaginary journey to a mysterious planet, where they will work to recover debris, explore tunnel systems, man a rocket ship and more. A comfy reading area is the perfect place to chill out after travel-induced over-stimulation. Don't miss One World, One Sky, a 25 minute movie that plays twice per day in the Definiti Space Theater: little viewers can follow along with Sesame Street faves Big Bird and Elmo as they learn more about the sun and the moon.

Adler Planetarium

Adler After Dark

Every third Thursday, from 6 p.m.– 10 p.m., the Adler stays open a little later and plays host to the adults only Adler after Dark. Enjoy cocktails and appetizers against stunning view of the Chicago skyline as seen only from the Adler. With the help of telescopes and Adler staff, you can view Saturn's rings or Jupiter's great red spot with your very own eyes. Advanced tickets purchased online are $12 for non-members and $9 for members and students (with valid school IDs). Tickets bought at the box office the night of the event are $17 for non-members and $12 for members and students (with valid school IDs). All guests must be 21 and up. A cash bar and full cafe menu is available.


Café Galileo, the Adler's onsite restaurant, a unique menu with a fantastic selection of paninis, subs, fresh salads, and a special kids menu. Best of all, the view of Lake Michigan is unbeatable. On a nice day, bring a picnic and enjoy your lunch on the grassy hill leading up to the Adler and overlooking the lake.

Insider Tips

• Consider becoming a member: Adler members enjoy free general admission, free sky shows, and discounts throughout the museum. In addition, Adler members receive invitations to behind-the-scenes events, star parties, and sneak previews of exhibitions and sky shows. To join, visit

• The twelve zodiac signs are represented by sculptures around the building. Can you find yours?

Amy Bocchetta is a writer, a teacher, and a mom to two kids. She lives in the city and blogs at
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