Have you ever wanted to journey beyond the boundaries of our known world and explore the mysteries of the ? Well, look no further than the Adler Planetarium. Located in the heart of Chicago, the Adler Planetarium offers an enchanting experience for all space enthusiasts. From captivating shows in their state-of-the-art dome theater to interactive exhibits that allow you to delve into the depths of outer space, the Adler Planetarium is the ultimate destination to ignite your curiosity and expand your understanding of the cosmos. So grab your telescope and get ready for an unforgettable adventure as you embark on a voyage through the infinite wonders of the at the Adler Planetarium.

Exploring the Universe at Adler Planetarium

History of Adler Planetarium

The Adler Planetarium is one of the oldest and most esteemed astronomical research institutions in the United States. Its rich history dates back to its founding in 1930 by Max Adler, a Chicago businessman and philanthropist. Inspired by the scientific advancements and discoveries in the field of , Adler envisioned a place where people of all ages and backgrounds could come together to explore the wonders of the universe. With his generous funding and support, the Adler Planetarium became a reality.

Founding of Adler Planetarium

Max Adler’s vision for the Adler Planetarium was rooted in his belief that science should be accessible to all. He wanted to create a space that would inspire and educate the general public about and the vastness of the universe. With his financial contributions and the collaboration of esteemed astronomers and scientists, the Adler Planetarium officially opened its doors to the public on May 12, 1930. It quickly became a beloved institution that attracted visitors from all over the world.

Building and Architecture

The Adler Planetarium is known not only for its astronomical exhibits but also for its stunning architecture. Designed by the renowned architectural firm Ernest A. Grunsfeld Jr. and Associates, the building itself is an architectural masterpiece. It features a distinctive façade with intricate detailing that reflects the art deco style prevalent during its construction in the 1930s. The interior of the planetarium is equally impressive, with spacious exhibit halls and domed ceilings that provide visitors with an immersive experience.

Historical Significance

Over the years, the Adler Planetarium has played a significant role in advancing our understanding of the universe. It has been at the forefront of astronomical research, contributing to important discoveries and breakthroughs. The planetarium has also been a hub for educational programs, inspiring countless individuals to pursue careers in science and engineering. Its commitment to public outreach and engagement has made it a cherished institution within the scientific community and beyond.

Permanent Exhibits

At Adler Planetarium, visitors can embark on a journey through space and time with its diverse range of permanent exhibits. These exhibits offer immersive and interactive experiences that cater to both children and adults, making learning about the universe a fun and engaging activity.

The Universe: A Walk Through Space and Time

“The Universe: A Walk Through Space and Time” is an awe-inspiring exhibit that takes visitors on a virtual tour of the cosmos. From the birth of stars to the formation of galaxies, this exhibit explores the fascinating phenomena that shape our universe. With state-of-the-art visualizations and interactive displays, visitors can witness the grandeur of the cosmos and gain a deeper appreciation for the wonders of space.

Historic Atwood Sphere

The Historic Atwood Sphere is a captivating exhibit that allows visitors to experience the night sky in a unique way. Housed within a giant hemisphere, this exhibit accurately portrays the stars and constellations visible from Chicago throughout the year. Visitors can step inside the sphere and learn about the celestial movements and how they have been observed and studied over time.

Telescopes: Through the Looking Glass

“Telescopes: Through the Looking Glass” showcases the evolution of telescopes and their pivotal role in astronomical discoveries. From the earliest telescopes used by Galileo to modern-day observatories, this exhibit illustrates the technological advancements that have revolutionized our understanding of the universe. Through informative displays and interactive demonstrations, visitors can delve into the world of telescopes and the wonders they reveal.

Planet Explorers

“Planet Explorers” is a hands-on exhibit designed specifically for younger visitors. It encourages children to become space explorers and embark on a mission to discover different planets in our solar system. With interactive play areas, educational games, and engaging activities, the exhibit sparks curiosity and ignites a passion for learning about the planets that surround us.

Mission Moon

“Mission Moon” takes visitors on a captivating journey to the moon, exploring the Apollo missions and the race to space. This exhibit showcases original artifacts, including moon rocks and spacesuits, and provides a glimpse into the challenges faced by astronauts during their lunar missions. Visitors can relive the historic moments of moon exploration and gain a greater understanding of humanity’s quest to reach the stars.

Our Solar System

“Our Solar System” offers visitors a comprehensive overview of the planets, moons, and other celestial bodies that make up our solar system. Through interactive displays and informative panels, visitors can learn about the unique characteristics of each planet and marvel at the astonishing diversity that exists within our cosmic neighborhood. This exhibit fosters a deeper appreciation for the intricacies of our solar system and the wonders it holds.

Special Exhibitions

In addition to its permanent exhibits, Adler Planetarium also hosts a range of special exhibitions that showcase the latest discoveries and advancements in the field of . These exhibitions provide visitors with the opportunity to delve deeper into specific topics and explore cutting-edge research.

Current Special Exhibition

The current special exhibition at Adler Planetarium is “Stellar Explorers: Discovering the Secrets of the Universe.” This exhibition highlights the groundbreaking research being conducted by astronomers and astrophysicists around the world. Visitors can engage with interactive displays, view stunning images captured by telescopes, and learn about the latest theories and discoveries that are shaping our understanding of the universe.

Upcoming Special Exhibitions

Adler Planetarium is constantly updating its offerings to provide visitors with new and exciting experiences. Upcoming special exhibitions include “Beyond Earth: The Search for Extraterrestrial Life” and “Exploring the Mysteries of Dark Matter.” These exhibitions will delve into the fascinating realms of astrobiology and particle physics, giving visitors the opportunity to explore the frontiers of scientific knowledge.

Sky Shows

One of the highlights of visiting Adler Planetarium is witnessing the mesmerizing sky shows that take place in the Grainger Sky Theater. These shows utilize state-of-the-art technology to create an immersive and captivating experience that transports visitors into the depths of space.

Planet Nine

“Planet Nine” is a thrilling sky show that takes viewers on a journey to discover the mysterious and elusive planet purportedly hiding on the edge of our solar system. Presented in a visually stunning format with breathtaking imagery and scientific explanations, this show explores the evidence and theories surrounding the existence of Planet Nine.

Destination Solar System

“Destination Solar System” provides visitors with an up-close and personal tour of the planets in our solar system. Utilizing data gathered from real space missions, this show offers a unique perspective on the characteristics and features of each planet. From the blazing heat of Mercury to the frigid beauty of Neptune, visitors can explore the wonders of our celestial neighbors.

Imagine the Moon

“Imagine the Moon” invites visitors to embark on a captivating lunar journey. From the moon’s formation to the impact it has had on human exploration, this show explores the fascination and mystery surrounding Earth’s closest celestial companion. With stunning visuals and informative narration, visitors can gain a deeper understanding of our enduring bond with the moon.

Exploring the Universe at Adler Planetarium

Workshops and Programs

Adler Planetarium is committed to fostering a love for science and exploration in people of all ages. It offers a range of workshops and programs that provide hands-on learning opportunities and encourage active participation in the scientific process.

Adler After Dark

“Adler After Dark” is a popular program that offers adults the opportunity to explore the planetarium after hours. Held on select evenings, this event combines interactive exhibits, live entertainment, and engaging workshops with the chance to socialize and enjoy a unique night out. From stargazing on the observation deck to participating in themed educational activities, Adler After Dark offers a memorable experience for all attendees.

Space Visualization Lab

The Space Visualization Lab at Adler Planetarium provides visitors with a unique opportunity to visualize and interact with astronomical data using advanced software and technology. Through interactive displays and immersive visualizations, visitors can explore the cosmos, manipulate celestial phenomena, and gain a deeper understanding of complex astronomical concepts.

STEM Education Programs

Adler Planetarium’s STEM education programs aim to inspire the next generation of scientists and innovators. These programs offer a range of resources, including teacher professional development workshops, school field trips, and hands-on STEM activities for students. By providing engaging and inquiry-based learning experiences, Adler Planetarium encourages young minds to explore the wonders of science and pursue careers in STEM fields.

Adler Planetarium’s Collection

Adler Planetarium’s vast collection of historical astronomical instruments, photographs, artifacts, and celestial maps offers visitors a glimpse into the rich history of scientific discovery and the evolution of observational tools.

Historical Astronomical Instruments

The collection of historical astronomical instruments at Adler Planetarium showcases the tools used by early astronomers to observe and understand the universe. From ancient astrolabes to early telescopes, these artifacts provide insight into the methods and techniques employed by astronomers throughout history.

Photographs and Artifacts

Adler Planetarium’s collection of photographs and artifacts offers a fascinating look at the pioneers of astronomy and their groundbreaking discoveries. Visitors can view original photographs of celestial bodies, including the iconic images captured during the Apollo missions, as well as artifacts related to famous astronomers such as Galileo Galilei and Nicolaus Copernicus.

Celestial Maps and Globes

The collection of celestial maps and globes at Adler Planetarium provides visitors with a visual representation of the night sky as seen throughout history. From ancient star charts to modern astronomical maps, these artifacts offer a glimpse into the ever-evolving knowledge and understanding of our universe.

Exploring the Universe at Adler Planetarium


Adler Planetarium’s observatory provides visitors with the unique opportunity to observe celestial objects firsthand and engage with astronomers and experts in the field.

Public Telescope Viewing

Public telescope viewing sessions allow visitors to peer through powerful telescopes and observe astronomical objects such as planets, stars, and galaxies. Knowledgeable astronomers are on hand to provide guidance and answer questions, making for an enriching and educational experience under the night sky.

Astronomy Observation Events

Adler Planetarium hosts regular astronomy observation events that coincide with significant celestial events, such as meteor showers and eclipses. These events provide visitors with the opportunity to witness and learn about astronomical phenomena firsthand, creating unforgettable memories and fostering a deeper appreciation for the wonders of the universe.

Grainger Sky Theater

The Grainger Sky Theater at Adler Planetarium is a state-of-the-art planetarium that offers a truly immersive and awe-inspiring experience for visitors.

State-of-the-Art Planetarium

Equipped with cutting-edge technology, the Grainger Sky Theater offers visitors a truly immersive journey through the cosmos. The domed ceiling is transformed into a vast screen, displaying high-resolution visuals that transport viewers from Earth to the furthest reaches of the universe.

360-degree Space Shows

Using a combination of captivating visuals, surround sound, and live presentations, the Grainger Sky Theater offers 360-degree space shows that engage and inspire audiences. Visitors can witness the birth of stars, travel through distant galaxies, and explore the wonders of the universe like never before.

Live Presentations

At the Grainger Sky Theater, live presentations by knowledgeable astronomers provide visitors with a deeper understanding of the astronomical phenomena displayed on the domed screen. These presentations combine scientific explanations with captivating storytelling, offering an interactive and informative experience for all attendees.

Chasing the Sun: Solar Eclipse Experience

Adler Planetarium’s “Chasing the Sun: Solar Eclipse Experience” is a captivating exhibition that explores the science and cultural significance of solar eclipses.

Solar Eclipse Features

The exhibition features a comprehensive overview of solar eclipses, explaining the scientific phenomenon behind this rare celestial event. Visitors can learn about the different types of eclipses, the alignment of the sun, moon, and Earth, and the fascinating visual effects that occur during an eclipse.

Educational Activities

In addition to informational displays, “Chasing the Sun: Solar Eclipse Experience” offers a range of educational activities for visitors of all ages. From hands-on experiments to interactive demonstrations, these activities provide a deeper understanding of the science behind solar eclipses and the impact they have on our planet.

Visitor Amenities

Adler Planetarium aims to provide a comfortable and enjoyable experience for all visitors. It offers a range of amenities to enhance the overall visit.

Adler Store

The Adler Store is the perfect place to find unique gifts, educational toys, astronomy-related books, and other souvenirs to commemorate your visit. From telescopes to space-themed jewelry, the store offers a wide variety of products that cater to both children and adults.

Galileo’s Cafe

Galileo’s Cafe offers a range of food and beverage options for visitors to enjoy during their visit. From light snacks to full meals, the cafe’s menu caters to a variety of tastes and dietary preferences. Visitors can relax and refuel while taking in stunning views of Lake Michigan from the cafe’s windows.

Sky Pavilion

The Sky Pavilion is a spacious and inviting area where visitors can gather, relax, and take in panoramic views of the Chicago skyline and Lake Michigan. With comfortable seating, interactive displays, and stunning architectural features, this area serves as a hub for socializing and enjoying the beauty that surrounds Adler Planetarium.

Accessibility Services

Adler Planetarium is committed to providing equal access and inclusivity to all visitors. The planetarium offers a range of accessibility services, including wheelchair accessibility, assistive listening devices, and captioning services for select shows and presentations. Additionally, staff members are trained to assist visitors with special needs and ensure that everyone has a comfortable and enjoyable experience.

In conclusion, the Adler Planetarium offers a comprehensive and engaging experience for visitors of all ages. From its rich history and stunning architecture to its immersive exhibits and sky shows, the planetarium ignites a sense of wonder and curiosity about the vastness of the universe. Through its workshops, programs, and educational initiatives, it inspires the next generation of scientists and explorers, fostering a love for STEM subjects. With its observatory and state-of-the-art planetarium, Adler Planetarium allows visitors to connect with the cosmos and gain a deeper understanding of our place in the universe. Whether you are a seasoned astronomer or just curious about the wonders of space, Adler Planetarium is a must-visit destination that will leave you with a greater appreciation for the mysteries and beauty of the universe.