Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum
The first planetarium built in the western hemisphere, the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum still captures intergalactic imaginations. From the entrance, visitors descend below the building, which has 12 sides, one for each sign of the zodiac. In the newest wing, a digital sky show recreates such cataclysmic phenomena as supernovas. Interactive exhibits allow you to simulate cosmic events such as a meteor hitting the earth (this one is especially cool).
Inside, the main attraction is the StarRider Theater, where you’ll take a 30 minute virtual reality trip through deep space, with eye-popping 3-D graphics. You’ll literally feel like you’re floating in space. The planetarium's exhibition galleries are equally engaging, with myriad displays and interactive activities. A must-see exhibit is “Shoot For The Moon,” an interactive exhibit on lunar exploration. Other exhibits include “From the Night Sky to the Big Bang,” which highlights the planetarium's extensive collection of astronomical artifacts.
Near the entrance to the Adler is a 12 foot (4 meter) sundial dedicated to the golden years of astronomy. West of the sundial, in the median, a bronze statue of Copernicus shows the 16th century Polish astronomer holding a compass and a model of the solar system.
The city pass gave us easy access and enough flexibility to spread out all the different places over five days. Had a great time! Wish we would've gone to the art museum instead of the planetarium, but you have the option!
great, north and south Chicago in 2 separate tours, hotel pickup - great!!,
knowledgeable guide, very informative and entertaining
As this was my first visit to Chicago, I took the four hour tour and at the end of it I felt I had a general idea of what Chicago was like. I was lucky with the weather, Chicago's blue sky made everywhere inviting and our guide's rather pseudo-ironic style managed to enliven the neighbourhoods and the buildings we passed. The twenty minute break at the conservatory filled with spring made a perfect teaser for what would replace the still-bare nature outside. My one quibble is that the windows of the bus should always be perfectly clean (no water marks) so the pictures taken from the bus (there are few stops) are free of streaks, etc.
Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum is located on the Museum Campus in the South Loop, just off Lakeshore Drive. Both buses and El lines get you here. Nearby attractions include the John G. Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum of Natural History, which are all within walking distance. The whole place can be easily covered in less than two hours.
The sky show programs last about 50 minutes. On the first Friday night of every month - aka Far Out Fridays - the Adler's astronomers bring out their telescopes and let you view the skies along with them. The museum café has great views of the lakefront and skyline.