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Chicago's Adler Planetarium: is it Worth the Visit?

Everything you need to know about the dark horse of the Chicago Museum Campus.

a solar system model at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago

Ok my friends, confession time: I lived in Chicago for almost eight years before I finally visited the Adler. All the feedback that I had ever gotten about the Adler was that it’s small and wordy: limited collections bolstered by a lot of signage to read.


They weren’t wrong.


I visited the Adler during their Wednesday night Adler After Dark program. Overall, it was a little bit of a letdown. Perhaps it just feels like a letdown in comparison with the rest of Chicago’s spectacular museums, but my experience was still rather underwhelming. Let me lay out the highlights for you, and you can decide if they’re worth the entrance fee.


Collections


For me, the highlight of the Adler was the artifact collections they have on display. There’s an exhibit on the early moon missions that holds a lot of neat relics of that era. There are meteorite samples scattered around the upper level. There are some truly astounding telescopes on the lower level.


The rest of the museum is photos of planets and space phenomena and signs that you can read about them. It’s cool information, but you REALLY need to be in the mood to read about space.




Star Shows


Every planetarium has a good star show, and the Alder is no different. There are two theaters and the shows rotate topics, and all come well recommended. The star shows add to your ticket price, but they go a long way toward making the experience feel worth the money.


City Views


Located quite a distance out into the lake, the view back toward the Chicago skyline from the Adler Planetarium grounds is absolutely stunning. Honestly, on my trip to the museum, this was the highlight for me. And you can experience this without buying a ticket to the Adler so…you do the math.


the downtown Chicago skyline viewed from the Adler Planetarium

So, is Chicago's Adler Planetarium worth it?


It depends. Do you have a space aficionado in your group that would LOVE to read all the detailed information and admire the old spaceflight suits? Then go. Did you purchase a multi-site ticket that includes admission to the Adler? Sure, stop in. It’ll take two hours of your day, tops.


Outside of that, it's up to you. In travel as in everything, you do you my friend!


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Love and Shenanigans,


Andi


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