Just a quick hop, skip, and a jump from the Shedd Aquarium in Downtown Chicago, lies the Adler Planetarium. These two, along with the Field Museum, make this little corner of the Windy City a one-stop-shop for a full days worth of activities. Naturally, being a planetarium, the Adler hosts all things space related… from exhibits to shows you will find all of the wonders of the galaxy inside.
Whether you only have a few hours, or the whole day, the Adler Planetarium has an admission package to fit your needs. With a general admission ticket you have access to all of Adler’s basic exhibits. You can see a full size Mars rover replica or check out a collection of telescopes from the ages. The all-access pass is just that… all access! Check out unlimited shows in any of the three theaters and even see the stars as they were in 1913 inside the Atwood Sphere. However, for our money, we highly recommend purchasing the Chicago CityPass! This gives you all of the benefits of the all-access-pass plus admission to FOUR other Chicago attractions. On top of that you also receive discounts in the gift shop and cafe so it more than pays for itself in no time!
The planetarium is VERY kid-friendly and has a large space-themed play area for the kiddies to run around and go crazy. Within the exhibits there are also many hands-on activities geared towards children to keep them entertained and engaged. Our favorite was the space rocket launch simulator located at the very top of the play area in it’s very own space capsule.
On our visit there were 8 shows to choose from playing in the 3 theaters at various times throughout the day. We only had time to see one show so we picked the newest show called Destination Solar System. The show was decently entertaining with a live narrator taking you on a tour through space with the help of a futuristic computer pilot. Had we researched the shows ahead of time we probably would have picked a different one, only because this show was mostly a fictional story and I would have preferred seeing one that was more composed of facts. That is just completely based on personal tastes though.
Overall we really enjoyed the Adler Planetarium. Since we did not bring our children on this visit we ran out of things to do pretty quickly. Of course we could have stayed and played with all of the hands-on activities ourselves but we were on a tight schedule and had many other places to go in Chicago for the day. With our CityPass, we had to choose between this and the Art Institute. Since we had visited the Art Museum already we chose this one instead for the experience. We will probably flip back and forth between these 2 attractions on each subsequent visit as we plan on making it out to our favorite city at least once a year.
If you are interested in getting the CityPass for yourself, we only ask that you click on our affiliate link when you decide to make your purchase. You will get the same great deal that we got, and they give us a little tip for helping to spread the word.