Chicago is a city filled with great museums and interesting attractions and one of the most popular is America’s first planetarium, the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum. Located in Chicago’s world renowned Museum Campus which also encompasses the Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium, the Adler sits along the shores of beautiful Lake Michigan where from its grounds stunning views of downtown Chicago are to be had.
This impressive building made of granite was completed in 1930 and incorporates a bronze plaque at each of its twelve corners depicting a sign of the zodiac. Once inside, the lobby includes a dedication plaque with the names of the gods and goddesses for which the planets are named. Noticeably missing is Pluto, the smallest planet in our solar system which wasn’t discovered until February 1930, just months after the plaque was completed.
The Adler may be the oldest planetarium in the country but after a major renovation and $14 million dollar upgrade in 2011, the complex is once again at the forefront of technology. Shows at the Adler are a sight to behold with a new interior dome and an advanced digital projection system able to recreate the night sky like never before. These amazingly produced shows take visitors on a journey of exploration and discovery, bringing the universe to life in visual clarity never before seen. Not to be missed are the museum exhibits which include the finest collection of antique astronomical instruments to be found anywhere. Other exhibits explore human space exploration and earths place in the cosmos.
Planetarium and museum hours are Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 4pm and 9:30 to 4:30 on the weekends. The easiest and quickest way to reach Adler Planetarium is by taxi. Alternatively, bus service is available from downtown on bus #130 or #146 or by taking the CTA “L” train’s red, orange and green lines to the Roosevelt stop and connecting to bus #146.