Shoot for the moon and you’ll at least reach the stars. Or you can see them all at the Adler. The planets aligned and I explored the moon and stars at Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum in Chicago.
The Adler Planetarium, 145,000 feet, is America’s first planetarium and the oldest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere. It was completed in 1930 and named for Max Adler the philanthropist that provided funds for it to be built.
Lots of people go by the Adler to photograph the public art on landscape grounds and the pictorial lake scenes. I went to the Adler camera-ready to explore space exhibits, and view the architectural design and landscape, and breath-taking lake views.
The planetarium has free and discount days that make a visit more affordable, but parking is expensive. My tip is to park further away and use the scenic walking path to the building or take public transportation. Bring a lunch to enjoy outside if the weather is good.
Inside the Adler
There are eleven exhibits about exploring space. Here is a photo tour of some of the exhibits at the planetarium:
Shoot for the Moon
An exhibit that took me through the life of Jim Lovell and his experiences that inspired him to become an astronaut.
Lunar Dangers Lab simulates labs used for Gemini and Apollo missions to the moon.
The Gemini 12 spacecraft flown by astronauts Jim Lovell and Buzz Aldrin to the moon. This was one of my favorites and it’s a small capsule for a long ride to the moon.
Lunar Leap is a popular exhibit with a video and gravity simulation to experience motion on the moon.
Exploring Our Solar System
This exhibit is located in the light-filled glass and steel, 60,000 feet, Sky Pavilion. I looked at all the exhibits once I got past the vast lake and sky scenery.
What planet would you go to?
What planet would I go to? Well there is a solar system of planets to select from. I would go to Saturn and Venus and maybe try to stop at Mars on the way home. I think packing would be hard because space suits are bulky.
Outside the Adler
On the grounds of the Adler is America’s Courtyard–featured in my last post, Doane Observatory and the Man Enters the Cosmos sundial.
I walked by the dome-shaped observatory, but didn’t see the large aperture telescope. It’s used mainly for night viewing and special ticketed events.
The Man Enters the Cosmos is a working bowstring equatorial sundial. It’s also a bronze sculpture designed by Henry Moore. It rests on a golden patina and is meant to symbolize the golden years of astronomy. Moore had a passion for astronomy and this is his third sundial.
Adler Architecture and Design
Photos of the Adler design details and a few interesting facts:
Fourteen steps lead up to the entrance of the building. There are fourteen days of darkness between a sun and moon equinox. The building is constructed of rainbow granite from St. Cloud, Minn., with refracted glass, bronze doors to produce rainbow spectrum of colors as sun sets. The Rainbow Lobby in the entrance depicts gods and goddess the planets are named for.
The Adler is a polygon twelve-sided building with panels of twelve symbols of the zodiac. The planetarium dome is made of copper a metal and alloy found in asteroids and stars.
Ernest A. Grunsfeld, Jr., the architect for the planetarium, received a gold medal from the American Institute of Architects for his design of the Adler. His grandson, John Grunsfeld, is a physicist and former astronaut.
I’ve heard if you bring a telescope with you; the north and south terraces provide prime places for stargazing. There is a lot to see on space and I enjoyed the journey.