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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.
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.
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.
The night sky is recreated in this 100-seat celestial theater-in-the-round operated by ISU's Physics Department.
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.
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.
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.