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Plan Your Field Trip

Two young girls peering out through a telescope and binoculars at the Adler Planetarium.
A young boy reaches for a model of Earth in the Adler's "Solar System" exhibit.

Suggested Timing

Length of Trip: 2 – 3 hours
Shows: 30 minutes each
Experiences: 10 – 30 minutes each
Exhibits: 30 minutes – 1 hour
Lunch: 20 minutes

Experiences

All experiences are free for Illinois schools or included with General Admission. Planet Explorers (available for Preschool – 3rd Grade) is free, but does require advance reservations. Limit of 60 students per 25 minute experience.

All other experiences are hands-on, facilitator-guided, and available to school groups on a first-come, first-served drop-in basis.

Shows

All shows are 30 minutes in length and take place in one of our domed theaters. Except for One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure, all shows are presented live. Purchase tickets when making your school group reservation.

Exhibits

All exhibits are free with your admission. Explorer guides, which can be downloaded and printed prior to your visit, are a great way for chaperones to engage small groups of students with objects and ideas while exploring the museum’s exhibits together.

Field Trip Options By Grade Level

Guests viewing a sky show in the Adler's Grainger Sky Theater.

The following planning guides can help you organize your visit. Suggestions are provided by grade level, but we encourage selecting the shows, experiences, and exhibits that will be best for your students and the goals of your visit.

Note: Mondays are exclusively reserved for Preschool, Kindergarten, and 1st Grade groups. Special programs and activities such as Young Explorer Mondays, Story Time Under the Stars, Constellation Yoga, and Young Astronaut Training are available, and the Community Design Lab challenge is geared specifically to little ones.

Need help planning? Feel free to contact us at schools@adlerplanetarium.org.

Preschool – Kindergarten

Show Options

Show Length Description
One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure
Upcoming Showtimes
Advance Tickets Required
30 minutes Learn about the Sun, the Moon, the Big Dipper, and the North Star with your favorite friends from Sesame Street.

Experience Options

Experience Length Description
Planet Explorers
FREE
Advanced reservations required
25 minutes Adventure from Earth through space to the imaginary Planet X in this interactive play space for our youngest visitors.
Community Design Lab
Drop-in daily from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Allow at least 20 minutes Tackle an engineering challenge: roll up your sleeves, test your ideas, and creatively solve problems in this flexible workshop space.

Best Plan: Visit on a MONDAY, which is exclusively reserved for Preschool, Kindergarten, and 1st Grade groups. Special programs and activities such as Story Time Under the Stars, Constellation Yoga, and Young Astronaut Training are available, and the Community Design Lab challenge is geared specifically to little ones.

Young Explorers Mondays
9:30 am – 1:00 pm

Exhibit Options

Download Our Solar System Exhibit Guide
Download Planet Explorers Exhibit Guide

1st – 3rd Grade

Show Options

Show Length Description
Destination Solar System
Upcoming Showtimes
Advance Tickets Required
30 minutes Soar through the solar system with Space Express Tours, visiting a variety of destinations with tour guide Jesse and shipboard computer Max.

Experience Options

Experience Length Description
Planet Explorers
FREE
Advance Reservations Required
25 minutes Adventure from Earth through space to the imaginary Planet X in this interactive play space for our youngest visitors.
Community Design Lab
Drop-in daily from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Allow at least 20 minutes Tackle an engineering challenge: roll up your sleeves, test your ideas, and creatively solve problems in this flexible workshop space.
Activities About 10 minutes Do science with us at our hands-on activity carts, located in exhibits throughout the museum.

Exhibit Options

1st Grade

Download Our Solar System Exhibit Guide
Download Planet Explorers Exhibit Guide

2nd – 3rd Grade

Download Our Solar System Exhibit Guide
Download Planet Explorers Exhibit Guide

 

4th – 5th Grade

Show Options

Show Length Description
Destination Solar System
Upcoming Showtimes
Advance Tickets Required
30 minutes Soar through the solar system with Space Express Tours, visiting a variety of destinations with tour guide Jesse and shipboard computer Max.
Skywatch Live!
Upcoming Showtimes
Advance Tickets Required
30 minutes Turn down the city lights and view the constellations as they appear over Chicago on the day of your visit in this planetarium show that uses real-time digital graphics technology.

Experience Options

Experience Length Description
Community Design Lab
Drop-in daily from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Allow at least 20 minutes Tackle an engineering challenge: roll up your sleeves, test your ideas, and creatively solve problems in this flexible workshop space.
Activities About 10 minutes Do science with us at our hands-on activity carts, located in exhibits throughout the museum.
Telescope Observing
10:00 am – 1:00 pm in the Doane Observatory (weather permitting) or on the Skyline Terrace (near the café)
A few minutes per student, plus wait time Safely observe the Sun with one of our telescopes! Ask a staff member if telescope observing is available on the day of your visit.

Exhibit Options

Download Telescopes Exhibit Guide
Download Our Solar System Exhibit Guide

6th – 8th Grade

Show Options

 

Show Length Description
Planet Nine
Upcoming Showtimes
Advance Tickets Required
30 minutes Follow “Pluto-Killer” Mike Brown and his team of scientists at CalTech as they hunt for a new ninth planet that may be hiding in plain sight.
Skywatch Live!
Upcoming Showtimes
Advance Tickets Required
30 minutes Turn down the city lights and view the constellations as they appear over Chicago on the day of your visit in this planetarium show that uses real-time digital graphics technology.

Experience Options

Experience Length Description
Community Design Lab
Drop-in daily from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Allow at least 20 minutes Tackle an engineering challenge: roll up your sleeves, test your ideas, and creatively solve problems in this flexible workshop space.
Activities About 10 minutes Do science with us at our hands-on activity carts, located in exhibits throughout the museum.
Telescope Observing
10:00 am – 1:00 pm in the Doane Observatory (weather permitting) or on the Skyline Terrace (near the café)
A few minutes per student, plus wait time Safely observe the Sun with one of our telescopes! Ask a staff member if telescope observing is available on the day of your visit.
Astronomy Conversations in the Space Visualization Lab
Drop-in daily from 12:00 – 1:00 pm and 2:00 – 3:00 pm
Allow at least 20 minutes Meet the people behind the science at the Adler. Get your astronomy questions ready so that you can exchange ideas with technology experts in this laboratory dedicated to creating new ways to visually explore the Universe.

Exhibit Options

Download Telescopes: Through the Looking Glass Exhibit Guide
Download The Universe: A Walk Through Space and Time Exhibit Guide
Download Our Solar System Exhibit Guide

9th – 12th Grade

Show Options

Show Length Description
Imagine the Moon
Upcoming Showtimes
Advance Tickets Required
30 minutes Adler’s newest sky show, Imagine the Moon, explores how the Moon has inspired human creativity, learning, and exploration ever since we have looked to the sky.
Planet Nine
Upcoming Showtimes
Advance Tickets Required
30 minutes Follow “Pluto-Killer” Mike Brown and his team of scientists at CalTech as they hunt for a new ninth planet that may be hiding in plain sight.
Skywatch Live!
Upcoming Showtimes
Advance Tickets Required
30 minutes Turn down the city lights and view the constellations as they appear over Chicago on the day of your visit in this planetarium show that uses real-time digital graphics technology.

Experience Options

Experience Length Description
Community Design Lab
Drop-in daily from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Allow at least 20 minutes Tackle an engineering challenge: roll up your sleeves, test your ideas, and creatively solve problems in this flexible workshop space.
Activities About 10 minutes Do science with us at our hands-on activity carts, located in exhibits throughout the museum.
Telescope Observing
10:00 am – 1:00 pm in the Doane Observatory (weather permitting) or on the Skyline Terrace (near the café)
A few minutes per student, plus wait time Safely observe the Sun with one of our telescopes! Ask a staff member if telescope observing is available on the day of your visit.
Astronomy Conversations in the Space Visualization Lab
Drop-in daily from 12:00 – 1:00 pm and 2:00 – 3:00 pm
Allow at least 20 minutes Meet the people behind the science at the Adler. Get your astronomy questions ready so that you can exchange ideas with technology experts in this laboratory dedicated to creating new ways to visually explore the Universe.

Exhibit Options

Download The Universe: A Walk Through Space and Time Exhibit Guide
Download Telescopes: Through the Looking Glass Exhibit Guide
Download Our Solar System Exhibit Guide
Download Astronomy & Culture Exhibit Guide

PURCHASE TICKETS

Your all-access pass to our Universe!

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