The Adler Planetarium in Chicago, founded in 1930 by Max Adler, today serves as a beacon to promote education and astronomy research while providing visitors to the Chicago planetarium with a chance to look to the stars. The planetarium was the first to open in the Western Hemisphere.
Exhibits at the Chicago astronomy museum encompass more than 35,000 square feet of space used to display scale models, instruments, and rare books along with the original scientific collection of math, navigation, and astronomy instruments purchased by Adler. The collection features approximately 2,000 artifacts dating from the twelfth century to the present day. The exhibits and collections, both temporary and permanent, at the Adler Planetarium are excellent sources of information that are used by visitors, students, and scholars at the museum. While visiting the Chicago planetarium, guided tours are available discussing the exhibits and their history.
The Adler Planetarium has two distinct theaters for visitor observation. The StarRider Theater provides visitors the experience of outer space in a total virtual and digital environment, while visitors to the Sky Theater will see a projection of the night sky on the theater's dome. One of the especially interesting attractions at the planetarium is the Atwood Sphere. Constructed in 1913, the sphere allows visitors to see the position of the stars as they were at that time through a series of 692 drilled holes. The holes allow light to enter showing the stars positions. An audio guide accompanies the presentation.
The Chicago astronomy museum offers entertaining and educational shows in a virtual reality atmosphere in the Definiti Space Theater and in the Sky Theater. Tickets for these shows cannot be purchased in advance. Another significant part of the museum is the Doane Observatory, which houses the aperture telescope that allows visitors to see objects in space that cannot be seen by the human eye.
Visitors to the Adler Planetarium in Chicago can see both the America's Courtyard sculpture and the Sundial sculpture, and upon entering the Rainbow Lobby, they will see sunlight filtered through beveled glass creating rainbows against the walls. Another interesting location for visitors to the Chicago planetarium to enjoy is the terraces where permanently mounted telescopes are available for use in viewing the city's architecture and skyline, as well as the stars in the night sky. Planetarium staff are on-hand to assist visitors with the use of the telescopes.
After a day of observation and stargazing, Galileo's Café provides visitors to the Adler Planetarium a variety of soups, salads, and sandwiches to choose from while relaxing and enjoying the view of Chicago. The café is open for continental breakfast and lunch daily. To complete the visit to the planetarium, the Infinity Shop has celestial gift items and souvenirs that are perfect for both children and adults, including telescopes, artifact reproductions, jewelry, clothing, astronomy CDs, and books.
Adler Planetarium in Chicago is open daily except Christmas and Thanksgiving Day and has a regular, holiday, and summer schedule for hours of operation. Parking is available at the designated parking lot or at Soldier Field, except during special events. The planetarium is also close to an array of Chicago attractions, including the Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium, as well as Navy Pier.