Adler Planetarium

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Science Hackshops: Building Telescopes


A Family Workshop to Inspire Engaged Observers of the World

The Adler Planetarium invites families (1 parent/1 child or 2 parents/2 children) to join the world of amateur astronomy. In this exclusive multi-week workshop, families will spend 5 weeks with museum experts learning about the Universe and how to see and observe it; documenting their observations and the process of discovery; learning how telescopes work; and constructing a high-quality telescope to take home and use. A final session will allow participants to share their work with family and friends.

Each week will involve design and construction of the telescope, as well as hands-on activities with Adler scientists and educators in the museum’s galleries, theaters, Space Visualization Lab, and Doane Observatory. 

Hackshop Dates and Rate

Saturday, October 11, 9 am – 12 pm
Saturday, October 18, 9 am – 12 pm
Saturday, October 25, 9 am – 12 pm
Saturday, November 1, 9 am – 12 pm
Saturday, November 8, 9 am – 12 pm
Saturday, November 15: Social Share-Out

$750/6 sessions, per 1 parent/1 child family unit

Recommended for families with children ages 9+

Available in the adjacent lot at the discounted rate of $11/day when entering lot before 9:30 am.

Have a Child Under Nine?

Through a special partnership with Kids Science Labs (KSL), a leader in hands-on science education, an exclusive program has been created for participants’ younger siblings ages 6-8. In collaboration with the Adler, KSL will offer a class at their South Loop location that will complement the Building Telescopes workshop. Over the 5-week program, students will learn critical thinking and problem-solving, and design their own telescope they can take home. Curbside drop-off will be offered. Participants in KSL’s camp will be invited to join their parents and siblings at the Adler for the final Social Share-Out session. For more information and pricing for KSL’s program, please contact Shegan Campbell at or Keith Norsym at

Participation Policy

  • Parents should prepare to be active participants and learners instead of chaperones, and to work with and alongside their children throughout the sessions.
  • The same parent and child from each family must attend all sessions.
  • Due to the intensive hands-on nature of this workshop, we require 1 adult to attend with each child participant. Larger families who wish to participate should contact Kelsey Nelson (information above) for options.

Reservation Policy

  • All participants must pre-register to attend. Walk-ins are not permitted.
  • Reservations are taken over the phone or by email.
  • Once the workshops are sold out, you can choose to be be placed on the waiting list.
  • Reservations will be taken up to 3 weeks prior to the event or until full. 
  • Payment in full is due at the time of booking.

Cancellation Policy

Cancellations will be accepted up to 3 weeks prior to the date of the first workshop, and a refund minus a $20 per family administrative fee will be issued. No refunds are issued for cancellations less than 3 weeks prior to the first workshop date. Families will not be issued refunds for any missed workshops, but may schedule up to 1 make-up session.

Science Hackshops: Building Telescopes is supported by Kenneth and Anne Griffin.