Adler Planetarium.  in Chicago, Illinois

Adler Planetarium

in Chicago, Illinois

Moonrise Over Adler Planetarium Photo © Chris Smith

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Adler Planetarium

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Sundial - Adler Planetarium
Sundial - Adler Planetarium. Photo by Frank Kehren
Adler Planetarium is a popular attraction in Chicago and the oldest planetarium in the United States. It is located in the Museum Campus area of Grant Park near Shedd Aquarium and The Field Museum, and provides some of the best views of the Chicago skyline. This fascinating museum is dedicated to the exploration of the universe, and features a diverse array of science exhibitions as well as three theaters that are used for captivating planetarium shows. It is also home to the Doane Observatory, a large telescope that the public can use to view distant stars, planets, and galaxies.


In the 1920s, Chicago businessman and philanthropist Max Adler (Wikipedia Article) learned about Europe’s first planetariums, a new invention which involved projecting images from space onto a dome. He decided to commission the construction of the very first planetarium in the United States as part of Chicago’s Museum Campus, which was completed in 1930. In addition, Adler purchased a collection of astronomical instruments and artifacts from a man in Amsterdam, which eventually became the museum’s notable Mensing Collection. Over the years, the museum’s collection and facilities have grown significantly, including the opening of the Doane Observatory in 1977.

Adler Planetarium, Chicago - Adler
Adler Planetarium, Chicago. Photo by Oscar Shen


Adler Planetarium is known for its impressive educational exhibits which address a large variety of topics related to astronomy and science.

Astronomy in Culture

This exhibition focuses on how ancient and medieval cultures understood astronomy and used it in their everyday lives. Its displays discuss things like how the planets were used to determine the fate of Assyrian kings and how astrolabes and sundials were used in medieval Europe, in addition to featuring a fascinating array of historic scientific instruments.

Planet Explorers

This is a special play area where children can enjoy stargazing in a backyard, experience a simulated space flight, and explore space in a rocket and a space station. It also includes an area where families can conduct their own scientific research in miniature land-based vehicles on the surface of a faraway planet.

Telescope: Through the Looking Glass

Giant Telescope -
	Adler Planetarium
Giant Telescope - Adler Planetarium. Photo by yuan2003
If you’re interested in telescopes, then you’ll want to explore this immense collection of telescopes, including a trumpet-shaped telescope from the 1930s. Visitors can also peer through a 22 foot-long telescope that dates back to 1675, learn about how different lens curvatures influence what you see through a telescope, and walk through a tunnel that is the same size as the main mirror used in the Hubble Space Telescope.

The Universe: A Walk Through Space and Time

In this exhibition, you can learn all about the origins of the universe, the planets, and the stars as you explore beautiful areas in space far beyond our solar system.

Our Solar System

Here you can learn all about the various planets and asteroids in our solar system, find out what it would feel like to touch Mars, and make your own crater.

Clark Family Welcome Gallery

This colorful exhibition features all kinds of interactive exhibits that are constantly updated, including video messages from NASA astronauts.

Historic Atwood Sphere

The Historic Atwood Sphere allows you to travel to the past to experience Chicago’s night sky as it was in 1913 in Chicago’s oldest planetarium, the Atwood Sphere. It is open daily from 10:30 until 11:30 and from 14:00 until the museum closes.

Atwood Sphere - Adler
Atwood Sphere - Adler Planetarium. Photo by Oscar Shen

Hidden Wonders

This exhibit focuses on light pollution and its effects on our ability to view the night sky.


In addition to its numerous museum exhibits, Adler Planetarium is home to three different theaters that offer a diverse selection of planetarium shows. The recently updated Grainger Sky Theater is the most immersive, technologically advanced theater in any planetarium worldwide, while the Definiti Space Theater provides awe-inspiring digital projections of the cosmos.

Doane Observatory
	- Adler Planetarium
Doane Observatory - Adler Planetarium. Photo by David Ohmer

Doane Observatory

One of the most unique aspects of the attraction is the Doane Observatory, which is capable of gathering 5,000 times more light than the human eye. This allows the public to see distant celestial objects such as galaxies and stars that are trillions of miles away in space.

Practical Information

The easiest way to reach Adler Planetarium is by using public transportation. The nearest ‘L’ train station is Roosevelt, which is accessible by the Green, Orange, and Red Lines, while the nearest Metra commuter train station is Museum Campus/11th St., both of which are a short walk from the planetarium. In addition, CTA bus routes 130 and 146 stop near the planetarium.

Address: 1300 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605

Hours: Adler Planetarium is open daily from 9:30 until 17:00.

Prices: Admission costs approximately $ 12 USD for adults, $ 10 USD for students and seniors, and $ 8.00 USD for children between the ages of 3 and 11.

Similar Landmarks

Several notable attractions are located within Chicago’s Museum campus, including The Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, and Soldier Field, an NFL football stadium. Other popular museums in Chicago include the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Science and Industry.

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Author: ehuttner. Last updated: Apr 21, 2015

Pictures of Adler Planetarium

Chicago - 2014 - Adler Planetarium - Adler Planetarium
Chicago - 2014 - Adler Planetarium - Photo by Curtis & Renee

Adler Planetarium, Chicago - Adler Planetarium
Adler Planetarium, Chicago - Photo by Oscar Shen

Chicago - 2014 - Adler Planetarium - Adler Planetarium
Chicago - 2014 - Adler Planetarium - Photo by Curtis & Renee

Adler Planetarium, Chicago - Adler Planetarium
Adler Planetarium, Chicago - Photo by Scutter

Adler Planetarium 09.05.09 - Adler Planetarium
Adler Planetarium 09.05.09 - Photo by Kevin Buckstiegel

Adler Planetarium 09.05.09 - Adler Planetarium
Adler Planetarium 09.05.09 - Photo by Kevin Buckstiegel


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