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Witness the history of the universe from its fiery birth to the formation of our own solar system on a state-of-the-art digital projector that gives a multimedia and full-dome show. Open year round, there are several shows scheduled during the week.
View the stars and planets every Tuesday and Saturday. Free public viewing is guided by our staff. Closed if cloudy.
William M. Staerkel Planetarium
Discover the universe at the second largest planetarium in Illinois, the William M. Staerkel Planetarium, located on the campus of Parkland College. With a state-of-the-art digital projection system, visitors can learn about the stars, planets and more in this cutting-edge environment. At the planetarium website, you will learn of special programs and features coinciding with the many events in our universe. Public shows are on most Friday and Saturday nights, as well as summer matinees.
Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum
The Adler Planetarium—America’s First Planetarium—is more than a museum; it is a laboratory, a classroom, and a community exploring the Universe together. The Adler offers interactive exhibitions, live planetarium shows, hands-on, minds-on STEM education programs, and world-class collections.
Shoot for the Moon
This exciting permanent exhibition features the fully restored Gemini 12 spacecraft and tells the story of astronaut Captain James A. Lovell, Jr.'s life and career using artifacts from his personal collection. Opens Nov. 6, 2008
3-2-1 Blast off! Get ready for the ultimate planetary play date. The Adler's new permanent exhibition Planet Explorers allows families with children ages 3 - 8 take the helm in this modern-day space adventure. Children will enter a world where they can play and learn what it takes to be part of a mission to outer space. They will become scientists, astronauts, and space explorers. Imagine studying the Moon from your own backyard with your very own telescope. Be a Mission Control specialist guiding the next rocket flight into space, or climb a gantry like a real astronaut and blast a 26-foot tall rocket off to new worlds. In the space station, learn how to operate the robotic arm to do important tasks and take a very special walk into space. Try your hand at planet exploration by driving rovers over the Planet X terrain. Drive X-Movers, crawl through and discover secret tunnels, and do cool experiments in the Planet X Lab. Free with general admission.
Deep Space Adventure
Adler Planetarium will reveal Deep Space Adventure, a new, immersive space experience like no other in the world. Visitors will come aboard the observation deck of a futuristic starship for an adventure through deep space.The centerpiece of the experience is the Grainger Sky Theater (formerly the historic Sky Theater), which will open as the most technologically advanced theater ever developed.
Gravity Shapes the Universe
Gravity Shapes the Universe is a three room exhibit that talks about gravity on Earth, in Space and in the extreme environment of a black hole. Even though we feel like gravity is down, actually gravity is together -- we are pulled towards the Earth, no matter if we are standing in Chicago or on the South Pole.The pull of gravity depends on how big the planet is, which is proven through an interactive exhibit that shows how heavy a soda can is on the Moon, Earth and Jupiter.
The Dearborn Observatory
The Dearborn Observatory is open for limited public viewing via the historic 18.5" refracting telescope every Friday night from 9-11pm. Advance reservations required.
Illinois State University Planetarium
The night sky is recreated in this 100-seat celestial theater-in-the-round operated by ISU's Physics Department.
Challenger Learning Center for Science & Technology
The mission of the center is to honor the memory and spirit of the Space Shuttle Challenger 51L crew by providing hands-on space exploration curriculum and center that enhances thinking skills and inspires those to meet the challenges of 21st Century.