Adler Planetarium

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.

Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Illinois

Adler Planetarium

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.

 

Mission Moon

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.

Mission Moon at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Illinois

Mission Moon

Mission Moon at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Illinois

“Houston, we have a problem.”

Mission Moon at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Illinois

Mission Moon

Gemini 12 capsule at Mission Moon at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Illinois

Gemini 12 capsule at Mission Moon

The Moon Wall is near the end of the exhibit and allows visitors to digitally explore different parts of the moon.

Moon Wall at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Illinois

Moon Wall

 

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.

Our Solar System at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Illinois

Our Solar System

Our Solar System at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Illinois

Our Solar System

Meteorite in Our Solar System at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Illinois

Meteorite in Our Solar System

 

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.

Astronomy in Culture at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Illinois

Astronomy in Culture

Astronomy in Culture at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Illinois

Islamic astronomy – Astronomy in Culture

Telescopes: Through the Looking Glass at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Illinois

Telescopes: Through the Looking Glass

 

Other Exhibits

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.

Historic Atwood Sphere at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Illinois

Historic Atwood Sphere

The Universe: A Walk through Space and Time at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Illinois

The Universe: A Walk through Space and Time

Other hands-on and kid-friendly exhibits are located throughout the planetarium and the Doane Observatory, which is periodically open for viewings.

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