This is number 12 in my series of things to do with children while you’re parenting alone. Whether you are divorced, separated or just alone for the day with the kids, I hope these posts can be a guide of things to do with your kids in a city that wasn’t designed for kids, Chicago. When I’m not lawyering, I’m being a dad.
When it’s your turn with your kids and you’re thinking of fun places to take them, the first things that pop into your head will probably be theme parks and mini golf. Sometimes kids need a little balance between fun and learning or maybe you’ve got a brainiac who’s really into astronomy. If you can say yes to any or all of those then the Adler Planetarium is probably the place for you.
Adler Planetarium is located near the Shedd Aquarium just a short walking distance from Central Station. If you look it up on Google Maps, the layout of the planetarium and the surrounding area looks like something from a Star Wars movie, and as for what’s inside the building, Star Wars is not that far off.
The Adler Planetarium is a 60,000-square-foot bundle of assorted technologies. It’s been strategically placed just on the edge of Lake Michigan to prevent the glow of the city from affecting the view of the stars. This was a very wise decision seeing as how this planetarium houses the largest publicly-accessible telescope in the Chicago area. This telescope brags the ability to see 5,000 times more light than the human eye as well as the ability to view celestial objects that are trillions of miles away. This technology is truly amazing and has made leaps and bounds since inception. In 2015, National Geographic published an article about the growth the technology has made. Some of the earliest photos of Pluto, for example, look like something super-pixelated that one of your kids might see in the popular video game Minecraft while the most recent photos look like they were meticulously painted by the best artists on Instagram.
While the telescope is truly impressive, there are many other attractions available at the planetarium such as hands-on design labs, technological presentations, space adventure playgrounds, and numerous films based on astronomy history. If one of your children is interested in getting even more involved, Adler Planetarium has a huge focus on standard and higher education in this field. They are extremely supportive of “STEAM” (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) and even go as far as to provide small scholarships.
Adler Planetarium is located at the Museum Campus at 1300 S Lakeshore Drive. If you prefer to take public transportation then (starting at my law office) take the Red Line to Roosevelt Station. From there, take the 146 all the way to the planetarium.If you’re taking your own vehicle then parking is available for $20 per car at the Chicago Park District lot. Prices may vary depending on local events. Metered parking in the area is available but is, as may be expected, very limited. There’s also the option to ride a bicycle from Divvy Bike Share to and from the planetarium. There are 580+ bike rental locations across Chicago, so finding some shouldn’t be a problem. If you do take this option then use the code “ADLERIDE” for a $2 discount. If you purchase, or already have, a CityPASS then you’ll be able to save 51% on the total ticket cost.
Adler Planetarium is 2.3 miles from my Chicago law office. Directions below: