If you enjoy learning about space, planets, and astronauts, you will love Chicago’s Adler Planetarium. It’s a small Chicago museum located along the shores of Lake Michigan and is part of the Chicago Museum Campus. It’s a Chicago attraction that should really be on the list of anyone visiting Chicago as it is packed with tons of cool exhibits. Children will especially love exploring the fun kids area and pretending to fly a rocket ship. Find out all the great things to see and do by following my Adler Planetarium Guide to parking, hours, free days, tickets, exhibits, and so much more. Be ready for a great visit to Chicago’s Adler Planetarium.
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Chicago Adler Planetarium – All You Need to Know Before You Go
Adler Planetarium Hours
The Planetarium is open everyday from 9 am to 4 pm and extends their hours to 6 pm during the summer months. This museum is not as crowded as the other big Chicago museums so you don’t need to get here as early to beat the crowds.
Parking and Location
The Adler Planetarium is located on the tip of Chicago’s lakeshore in the Chicago Museum Campus. You’ll find it right by the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, and Solider Field.
Address: 1300 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605
Adler Planetarium Lot – This parking lot is located right outside of the Adler Planetarium and is the most convenient parking lot. You will typically find parking here on most days as it is further away from the other museums.
Solider Field Lot – This is a huge parking garage located on the east side of Solider Field. If the Adler Planetarium Lot is filled, this would be your next best option as it’s not too far of a walk to the Planetarium from here. Check at Solider Field Parking for parking rates.
Street Parking – There is metered street parking located outside of the Planetarium, however it is very hard to get these spots, especially on weekends.
Public Transportation – You can also take public transportation to the Planetarium. Take Bus # 146 Inner Drive/ Michigan Express all year and Bus #130 Museum Campus from mid May through Labor Day. The train stops are further away and you will need to take a bus or Uber to get to the Museum.
Adler Planetarium Free Days
If you are an Illinois resident, you can take advantage of Chicago Museum Free Days. We love to visit the museums on these days and save a little money on our visit. You get basic entrance into the Planetarium but can pay to upgrade if you want to see their Sky Shows. Check this link for dates: Adler Planetarium Free Days
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How to Save Money on Your Visit
In Chicago, you can save money by bundling the best Chicago Attractions through CityPass. It allows you to visit the Adler Planetarium, Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, Museum of Science and Industry, and SkyDeck for a 50% off savings on ticket prices. Find out more about how to use this cool pass and if it’s worth it in my Chicago City Pass Review.
I have found that the Adler Planetarium has the most reasonable prices of any Chicago Museum. It’s a little smaller so you are not spending an entire day there like other museums but you’re also not spending a large amount of money to visit. The basic entrance for Adults is $19 and kids are only $8. You can also add on the Sky Show (movie) if you would like. Get all the updated ticket costs here.
If you plan to go to a museum several times, I often suggest you buy a membership to save money. The Planetarium however is cheaper then many other Chicago museums and it’s not as quick of a savings. I would decide how often you plan to come and then calculate the cost to see if it works for your family.
Where to Eat in the Planetarium
The Planetarium has a small cafeteria called Galileo’s Cafe where they serve freshly prepared lunch and snack options. You will find a beautiful view of the lake and city while you eat from their floor to ceiling windows. Another option is to picnic on the lawn of the Museum Campus right outside.
With this being a smaller museum, you will be spending less time here so you could also eat before and after outside of the Planetarium and just get a quick snack while visiting.
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Best Adler Planetarium Exhibits with Kids
Mission to the Moon – Start out by learning how the US put a man on the moon. Kids will find several hands on areas and can even write a note to an astronaut.
Our Solar System – Explore the different planets and what they look like on a large scale. Find several hands on displays here for families to explore. It’s also located right next to Galileo’s cafe and a good stop before or after your snack.
The Universe – A Walk Through Space and Time – Here you will learn about the origins of the universe and find out how the galaxy, stars, and planets formed. Kids will enjoy jumping on exploding stars and using the computers to look around space.
The Community Design Lab – This is where kids and adults can do hands on activities to solve problems. When we were here, the kids used Legos to try and build a space craft that could fly to the end of a long string. The kids loved this area and spent a ton of time creating and testing their spaceships. Definitely worth a stop with kids.
Planet Explores – This fun kids exhibit lets them burn off some energy as they crawl, climb, and fly their way to a new world. Kids can launch a computer animated rocket ship, walk through a mock space ship, drive a rover over the moon, and so much more. The whole family will love exploring this area.
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You will find several different movie choices to see in the Adler Sky Shows. Learn about the stars, planets, the moon, and more. For the kids, they have a Sesame Street show where Elmo and Big Bird go to the moon and back.
More Fun Activities in the Area
Take advantage of all the great Chicago Attractions by adding another fun activity to your day when you’re done at the Planetarium.
Add a Beach Day
You will find a great little beach just a short walk south of the Planetarium called the 12th Street Beach. Walk over after the Planetarium to dig in the sand, swim, or have a picnic. The beach has restroom facilities and a food stand. If you park in the Adler Planetarium Lot, you can just grab your beach stuff on your walk over.
Museums and Aquarium
Also located in the same area as the Adler Planetarium are the Shedd Aquarium and Chicago Field Museum. All three are in easy walking distance and share the same parking lots. I would suggest doing either the Shedd Aquarium or Chicago Field Museum first as they both tend to get more crowded and then head over to the Planetarium in the afternoon. Learn more about the Best Things to Do at the Chicago Shedd Aquarium and Chicago Field Museum. To get even more fun family destinations in Chicago, check out my Ultimate Guide to Chicago Attractions with Kids.
Are you now ready for a fun family day out at the Chicago’s Adler Planetarium? If you have more questions or great tips of your own, please leave them in the comments. I love to hear from my readers.
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