Midwest Living Review
The Adler Planetarium offers family-friendly adventure along Chicago's stunning lakefront. The "Shoot for the Moon" exhibit, organized with the help of Apollo 13 astronaut Jim Lovell, will engage kids and adults with an actual Gemini module, a robot show explaining surface conditions on the moon, many of Lovell's personal artifacts and a countdown clock to the next moon mission. For youngsters, "Sesame Street" scores again for creatively engaging young ones about space exploration in the "One World, One Sky" movie featuring Big Bird and Elmo. But it's newest exhibit space is what's drawing crowds. In 2011, the oldest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere spent $14 million redesigning the Grainger Sky Theater; it now ranks as planet's largest, most technically advanced digital theater experience. Its show, "Deep Space Adventure," isn't a traditional, Earth-based sky show projecting images of our night skies. Instead, the 20-projector show powered by 45 computers makes viewers feel as though they are on an a futuristic space ship's deck observing real galactic events, including bombastic supernovae, star births and black holes. The 25-minute show's imagery uses scientific data. The space odyssey begins in the theater's vortex gallery, which is designed to look like a worm hole. Neon light starburst simulations and actual space exploration images appear along the spiraling fabric tunnel leading to the 360-degree domed theater. The new "Gravity Shapes the Universe" exhibit further explains concepts through educational hands-on activities and cartoon-style definitions of gravitational pull. Admission charged ($28 per adult and $22 per child; passes include shows and exhibits). It's a great experience. If you plan to visit two or more of the big museums in Chicago, consider buying the five-attraction CityPass to save some cash.