We go to a lot of museums.  So when I say the Alder Planetarium held our attention for 6 hours it shows how diverse and well planned this museum is.  Not to mention the incredible staff spread throughout the museum. Our original plan was to see the planetarium then go to the Fields Museum up the street.  We stayed and enjoyed this museum so long there wasn’t enough time for another location.

Can you say reciprocal? We used our reciprocal science center member ship to get free admission to this museum.

We started our planetarium visit with a journey through the Solar System movie, though, you could classify it more as a show.  It was awesome.  It really feels more like a ride.

Adler Planetarium Chicago

Adler Planetarium Chicago

Then we wound our way through the museum taking part in the many hands on activities offered throughout. This is where this Science Center excelled.  Every area was full of hands on activities.  Both of the kids were so focused on the activities there was no time to get board.  Although, by the afternoon they were completely worn out.  This museum is packed with so much fun.

Adler Planetarium Chicago

Adler Planetarium Chicago

Above is a switch control like the one used in the Apollo 13 mission.  As you can see, figuring out all the sequence for safe reentry was fun for all ages and equally tricky.

Favorite part for me was the engineering lab where we built Lego zip line carriers for cotton ball passengers. We needed to make each carrier able to propel itself down the string to deliver supplies to the Mars Crater.  All three of us were successful. Each time you were able to complete a challenge they would inspire you to change your design and carry even more passengers (cotton balls) down the line.  We spent at least an hour right here.

Adler Planetarium Chicago

Planet Explorer

There is also a play area called Planet Explorer where younger kids or the young at heart can get there kicks as an astronaut.

Adler Planetarium Chicago

Adler Planetarium Chicago

Don’t forget to take a stroll through the gift shop.  They have the cutest stuffed planets.

The food at the Cosmo Cafe’  was delicious, ample, and the view was spectacular.

There were other shows we did not have time for.  We will catch those the next time we roll into town.

We learned lots.  And as a homeschool mom, I have so many good memories to drag out when we study the solar system again.

If/when we go back I will plan to spend a little more time outside.  This museum is surrounded by the beautiful shore of Lake Michigan.  I wish we would have bought a snack inside to enjoy on the shore just watching the skyline.

As a follow up, I plan to have the kids watch the movies Apollo 13 and Hidden Figures.  Both of these movies will hold relevance to the things they saw during the time in the museum.

Shanda Smith
A Wife, Mother, horseback riding, RV-ing, travel enthusiast always looking for the next adventure. As the Matriarch of a homeschooling family of four we keep our suitcases packed and our atlas handy. Join us on our adventures. With Love and Coffee, Shanda

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