Adler Planetarium was the first planetarium ever built in the United States. It sits in Museum Campus at the northern end of Northerly Island, an artificial island created in 1925. The planetarium was named for Max Adler, a vice president of Sears Roebuck & Co. It opened on May 12, 1930, and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987.
The planetarium is open daily from 9:30am until 4pm (6pm in the summer). As of June 2016, it costs US$12 for adult general admission with packages including shows at US$24.95 and US$34.95. The shows are considered to be a must-see on any visit to the planetarium.
The first exhibit I visited was Mission Moon. It tells the story of American space exploration through the eyes of astronaut Jim Lovell, the commander of Apollo 13. One of the highlights of the exhibit is the 1963 Gemini 12 capsule piloted by Lovell and Buzz Aldrin.
The Moon Wall is near the end of the exhibit and allows visitors to digitally explore different parts of the moon.
Our Solar System
A gallery titled Our Solar System gives information on each planet. You get to see a replica Mars rover and touch a meteorite and a moon rock.
History of Astronomy
On the ground floor there are exhibits on the history of astronomy. They tell about the cultures that studied the stars and show historic telescopes.
There’s also the old Atwood Sphere, which shows what the sky in Chicago looked like in 1913, and an exhibit on the evolution of the universe.
Other hands-on and kid-friendly exhibits are located throughout the planetarium and the Doane Observatory, which is periodically open for viewings.