For an out-of-this-world experience, look no further than the Adler Planetarium. Extending out into Lake Michigan from its Museum Campus home, this is America's first planetarium and it has become a recognized leader in science education. Through immersive theater programs, numerous exhibitions and special events such as lectures and viewing parties, journey through the vast universe – from the depths of powerful black holes to the heights of Voyager 1, the farthest human-made object from Earth.
The museum is home to three full-size theaters, including the new Grainger Sky Theater, the all-digital projection Definiti Space Theater and the 3D Universe Theater.
Fashioned as a virtual observatory, the Grainger Sky Theater invites visitors to take an exciting journey of discovery in Cosmic Wonder. Look up as the night sky reveals the mysteries of our Universe in the most immersive space environment ever created. As we observe and form an understanding of our cosmos, leading-edge technology allows audiences to experience the night sky like never before, bringing the Universe to you.
In the newest space adventure, Destination Solar System, audiences tour the Solar System through the state-of-the-art technology of the Grainger Sky Theater. The excitement and drama of our celestial neighborhood comes to life in stunning, vivid detail in this unforgettable experience available only at the Adler. In this live show, it's the year 2096, and space tourism is available to everyone. "Space Express Tours," the first tour company in deep space, offers a variety of adventures including its most popular, Destination Solar System. Tours of the hottest hot spots and the coldest, stormiest and most spectacular sights in the Solar System await curious space explorers of all ages.
Get to know Pluto, our solar system's most mysterious dwarf planet, with Planet Nine at Adler Planetarium. New Horizons space craft made the voyage in July 2015 capturing the first upclose images of the distant planet. Now, Planet Nine allows audiences to discover the unknown and decipher those images alongside CalTech's Mike Brown and his team. Experience their quest to explore Pluto and search for new ninth planet with this theatre show included with an all access pass.
Other daily theater shows offer eye-opening experiences for all ages, such as:
- Undiscovered Worlds, for the inquisitive visitor who has pondered the question "Do other planets like Earth exist?"
Take "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" with Adler Planetarium's Mission Moon. Learn about America's first moon landing and experience an astronaut's journey through the perspective of Captain Lovell. In this interactive exhbit, you can launch a rocket, hurry to rescue Apollo 13, peek into the real-life spacecraft Gemini 12, and witness what it takes to be one of the first men on the moon.
Explore the evolution of the Universe over 13.7 billion years. In The Universe: A Walk through Space and Time, the sense of scale will leave you in awe. Begin by passing through a cosmic timeline that spans from the Big Bang to modern day, while exploding stars swirl afoot with each step through the luminous tunnel. Walking out further, the exhibit opens into various interactive stations, allowing you to control the overhead projections with the scroll of a finger on a touch screen. From photographic telescopes to intergalactic e-postcards, the technology relates to visitors across different ages and leaves you with a sense of interconnectedness – with the elements that form our human bodies and that make up the universe.
Other Adler Planetarium exhibitions include:
- Planet Explorers, the most hands-on exhibit ever created for families at the Adler, with three educational play areas to engage and entertain children ages 3-8
- Shoot for the Moon, highlighting the exciting stories of space exploration, with the fully-restored Gemini 12 spacecraft flown by Captain Lovell and Buzz Aldrin in 1966 as the centerpiece
Make a day of the Adler Planetarium – its stunning terrace views and sculptures on campus offer interesting explorations outside the museum itself – or make a night of it at special events such as Adler After Dark or Astro-Overnights.
For more information, visit adlerplanetarium.org.