(Courtesy Adler Planetarium)
This lakefront attraction on the Museum Campus features loads of otherworldly exhibits. The $14 million, ultra high-res, 360-degree Grainger Sky Theater features the sky show "Planet Nine," all about the search for a new ninth planet. Permanent exhibit "Planet Explorers" offers hands-on learning for budding astronomers. Follow Apollo 12 Captain James A. Lovell Jr. to the moon and back in the "Mission Moon" exhibit, featuring the Gemini 12 spacecraft that Lovell and Buzz Aldrin flew in 1966. Daily 9 am-4 pm. General admission (does not include shows) $12; children 3-11 $8. The All Access Pass allows access to all exhibitions and shows: $34.95; children 3-11 $29.95.
Highlights and Tips:
- Of Chicago's trio of Museum Campus museums—Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium and Adler—the Adler's basic admission is the least expensive, which makes dashing in and out completely doable and still a good deal.
- Admission gains visitors access to all the exhibits (sky shows are an added fee, so save that for when you’ve got a little more time
- Adjacent to the entrance is the Welcome Gallery, a colorfully LED-lit space that feels like we’d imagine the interior of a UFO might feel. Spend about 15 minutes here, checking out interactive features and listening to video greetings from real-life space explorers.
- From there, move onto “Our Solar System,” where one of the coolest exhibits is the Crater Maker. Yes, you get to create one yourself, although it takes a bit of patience.
- Last stop is “Planet Explorers,” geared toward kids ages 3 to 8, with areas where, mini moon-jumpers can launch a rocket, navigate deep space, move moon rocks and crawl through caves on Planet X. Good luck pulling them back to earth.