You know that saying about how the best things come in small packages? Well, that couldn’t be more true about this small yet mighty gem on Chicago’s museum campus. What am I talking about? The Adler Planetarium of course! Read about how this often overlooked museum is the perfect place for your little explorers to learn, grow, and create.
One of my absolute FAVORITE things about the Adler Planetarium is the natural light that floods the entire museum, making even the dreariest of Chicago days seem warm, bright and sunny. This positive outlook spreads with each and every staff member, especially those dedicated to the children’s section of the museum. You can tell that they have so much knowledge that they want to share—so take advantage!
The friendly staff members interact with the Adler’s visitors in a wide variety of ways, from dressing up as astronauts and setting up activities that help little explorers practice basic astronaut skills (such as balancing and building), holding story time of intriguing science based books, as well as leading crafting activities and experiments.
When we visited, the craft station that was set up featured how to make your own rocket. Not only did they explain to both kids and parents what different kinds of resources they could use, but they also explained the science behind the rocket construction in a straightforward way. So those complicated science concepts were broken down into very simple points that helped everyone, young or old, learn.
I must admit that whenever we visit the Adler, we don’t spend much time anywhere but the kids’ section, adorably named “Planet Explorers.” Within the exhibit, little scientists can explore Earth, Space, and Planet X in a wide variety of hands on ways.
Since my boys love anything and everything physical, they enjoyed climbing and crawling through the displays. They absolutely loved trying on the space gear and showing off to their friends—they ran so fast that I couldn’t even get a picture.
The X Movers are uber popular with kids young and old, as well as the two story tall space station. Families can conduct experiments together, as well as simply explore different exhibits that engage all of the senses and making learning truly come alive.
Some tips for visiting the Adler with little ones:
*Since the museum is on the smaller side, I highly recommend baby wearing or using a simple umbrella stroller instead of a massive travel system.
*Pack a picnic! Café Galileo is a little bit on the small side, so take advantage of the beautiful location of the Adler by heading outside and enjoying a lunch along the lake front. As long as you have your Adler sticker, you can return to the museum.
*Use the East exit to enter if you have a stroller with you in order to avoid the stairs.
*Take advantage of street parking in the area. But if you aren’t lucky enough to find a street spot, use Park Whiz to make parking a breeze.
*Plan on taking some beautiful pictures of the impressive Chicago skyline either before or after your visit, as well as admire the unique zodiac sculptures stationed in front of the Adler.
*The shows presented by the Adler can be a bit scary for little ones, so I suggest keeping with general admission and skipping the movies until your kids are at an older age.
Looking for other great ways to spend the day? Simply search “museums” or “play spaces” in the search box in the side bar.