Field Trip Days
In-person field trips at the Adler Planetarium are fun, out-of-this-world learning experiences. Your group will enjoy hands-on, minds-on activities and explore mind-blowing facts about the universe that will stay with them long after they’ve left the museum. With two domed theaters, immersive sky shows, and 60,000 square feet of exhibitions, the Adler casts students in the role of scientist, engineer, astronaut, and creative problem solver.
Field Trip Days (Tuesdays & Thursdays)
On Field Trip Days (most Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the year), the museum will be open from 9:00 am–2:00 pm exclusively to school groups. Last entry is at 1:00 pm.
From the moment you sign up to the end of the day you spend at the Adler, your group will receive an unprecedented level of support and attention from our staff. We’ll work with you to find the perfect itinerary, greet you on the bus, guide you to important locations in the museum, and give your students the Moon and the stars.
When You Book On An Exclusive Field Trip Day:
- Your group will be greeted upon arrival
- You’ll have the option to make reservations for a lunch space and pre-purchase lunches (see menu here)
- You can store your lunches and coats in a designated area
- Your group will receive an itinerary complete with show and program offerings and recommendations to get the most out of your visit
- You can connect with the other teachers and students who will be exploring alongside you
School groups can still book any day of the week, except for Wednesdays, but on days that are not designated as Field Trip Days, school groups will be exploring alongside the general public and our exhibitions and shows can get crowded and sell out.
New Sky Show Available
Big Astronomy: People, Places, and Discoveries is an award-winning planetarium show now available as an option for field trip groups (recommended to Grades 6–8) to watch during their trip! This sky show highlights the diverse people who enable discoveries at world-class observatories in Chile.
Content Guides For School Groups
We’ve created three content guides inspired by 1st grade and 5th grade Next Generation Science Standards to help your students and chaperones engage more deeply while at the Adler! These guides can be printed out and brought with you on your upcoming field trip.
While anyone can use any guide, the Let’s Look Up! Content Guide is great for early elementary readers and writers, focusing on observing the sky, the What’s Up? Content Guide is great for upper elementary students, focusing on how we understand the sky, and the Heads Up Content Guide is great for middle school students, focusing on how Earth first into the universe as a whole.
Ready to launch? Below is all of the information you need to begin planning your trip to the stars.
How to Book a Field Trip
2. Once we receive your request, we will book your group reservation and send you an email verification within five business days. If we are unable to accommodate your request, we will contact you to discuss alternatives for your group. Additionally, if you are ordering lunch (menu is here), Food for Thought (our exclusive caterer who runs our Cosmic Cafe) will contact you to finalize your lunch selections and collect payment.
3. If you need to make changes to your reservation, or reschedule or cancel your visit, contact us as soon as possible at firstname.lastname@example.org or 312.294.0364.
4. Send us your final headcount—which includes ALL students, teachers, and adult chaperones—and your payment no later than two weeks prior to your visit date.
5. Once we receive your payment, we will email you a final confirmation agreement and receipt.
6. You’re all set! Enjoy your field trip to the Adler Planetarium!
All of the Adler’s exhibitions (including Planet Explorers which is great for preschool–3rd grade) and world-class collections are included with your admission—free for Illinois schools or included with Museum Entry. All other experiences are hands-on, educator-guided, and available to school groups on a first-come, first-served drop-in basis.
Our sky shows can be added to any field trip for an additional rate. All shows are 30 minutes in length and take place in one of our domed theaters. Trailers for our sky shows can be found here, and information on the newly available sky show Big Astronomy can be found here so you can choose the best show for your group. We recommend the following shows per grade level:
Destination Solar System: Grades 1–5
Big Astronomy: People, Places, Discoveries: Grades 6–8
Imagine the Moon: Grades 3–12
One World, One Sky: PreK–1
Skywatch Live!: Grades 4–12
Planet Nine: Grades 6–12
Request tickets when submitting your school group reservation request.
Full payment is due two weeks before your visit. No deposit is required at the time of booking. Payment can be made either by check or credit card. We accept CPS Purchase Orders.
Illinois School Student (K–12)
Museum Entry: Free
First Show: +$8
Second Show: +$6
Illinois School Chaperone – Free
Out-Of-State School Student (K–12)
Museum Entry: $7
First Show: +$8
Second Show: +$6
Out-of-State School Chaperone
Museum Entry: $16
First Show: +$8
Second Show: +$6
NOTE: Any increase in group numbers day-of will be charged full-price admission and show fees for each additional person. All same-day admissions and sky show tickets are based on availability. Groups that arrive at the museum with fewer numbers than were paid for at the time of scheduling will not receive a refund.
Additional Field Trip Frequently Asked Questions
Complete our online field trip reservation request form. Once we receive your request, we will send confirmation of the group reservation via email within five business days. If we are unable to accommodate your request, we will contact you to discuss alternatives for your group.
- Sky shows
- A space to eat lunch
- Pre-purchased lunches from the Cosmic Cafe
All groups must have at least one adult for every 10 students (one chaperone for every seven students is preferred; especially for younger children). Chaperones are adults ages 21+ and are responsible for all students in your group and their behavior while visiting.
Field Trip Day reservations must be made at least three weeks prior to your earliest preferred visit date. There are no lead times required if visiting on a non-Field Trip Day (Monday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday). Head over to this page and use the applicable self-service links to make your non-Field Trip Day reservation.
- Select three possible dates for your field trip. Check school calendars for any potential conflicts, and contact your bus company to check transportation availability before making your reservation request.
- Select the sky show(s) you would like to see.
- Determine the total number of students, teachers, and adult chaperones in your group. If your final head count changes after you make your reservation, please contact us before submitting payment (due two weeks prior to your visit). Changes to your reservation cannot be made less than TWO weeks prior to your visit. Additions to your group on the day of your visit will be charged full price admission and sky show fees. All same-day admissions are subject to availability.
School groups can book any day of the week, except for Wednesdays, but on days that are not designated as Field Trip Days, school groups will be exploring alongside the general public and our exhibitions and shows can get crowded and sell out.
Additionally, outside of Tuesdays and Thursdays, no pre-purchased bag lunches or lunch space is available. All items/coats must be left on the bus or carried throughout the museum. Please see the Group Registration Policies & Procedures for more information.
Use the links below to book your visit on a non-Field Trip Day.
Illinois school groups will be admitted to view exhibits without charge and can optionally reserve show tickets at the group rate. Payment via credit card is due at the time of booking.
Yes, groups needs a reservation. Advanced ticket purchases are required for all guests including groups.
Confirmation of group size (head count) and any payment for additional experiences such as sky shows are required two weeks prior to your field trip date to avoid cancellation of your reservation. After the final head count is received, all payments are considered final and not eligible for a refund.
Please contact us prior to your payment due date (more than two weeks prior to your field trip date) by calling (312) 294-0364. We will do our best to work out an alternative arrangement; however, if we do not hear from you and payment is not received, your visit will be canceled.
Contact us as soon as possible—no later than two weeks prior to your visit date—so that we can reschedule your trip for another date. Cancellations made less than two weeks prior do not receive a refund.
If you visit on a designated Field Trip Day (Tuesday or Thursday), an Adler staff member will board your bus to greet you and provide information and instructions about your visit, including sky show information. They will then walk you in and show you where to leave your coats and store your lunches, and if you reserved a space, where you will be eating at lunch time.
If your group did not travel to the Adler via school bus or are visiting on a non-Field Trip Day, you may enter through the Main Entrance (up the main staircase) or use the Accessible Entrance, located on the ground level to the right of the main staircase.
If you bring MORE students, teachers, or adult chaperones than is indicated on your group confirmation, you will be charged full price admission and show fees for each additional person. All same-day admissions and sky show tickets are based on availability. If you bring FEWER students, teachers, or adult chaperones than were paid for at the time of scheduling, you will not receive a refund.
Late arrivals for sky shows cannot be seated. If you are late for an educational program or sky show, the Adler may not be able to adjust the reservation time to accommodate. Therefore, please take timing and travel distance into account when making your reservation. We recommend an additional 15–20 minutes for travel and traffic to ensure that you arrive no later than 30 minutes prior to your first scheduled sky show or program.
Backpacks are permitted in the museum, but they must be carried at all times. The Adler does not have storage space for backpacks. We recommend leaving backpacks and other personal items on your school bus so that you don’t have to carry them around the museum.
Cameras are also permitted and you are welcome to take photos in all of our exhibits. However, photography is not permitted in any of the theaters during sky shows.
Adler Planetarium memberships and annual Star Passes are designed for use during family and individual visits during public hours and are not valid for group visits.
Yes! Teachers are welcome to visit the Adler for free year round so that they can prepare for their field trips and help support their classroom curriculum. Teachers are granted free Museum Entry with a valid school ID. However, sky show tickets, as well as admission for any accompanying guests, must be paid at full rates. You can reserve your free Museum Entry here.
School groups are officially defined as a group consisting of students in Kindergarten through 12th grade accompanied by a teacher. We follow a Illinois state statute that reads:
“Any city or park district may charge, or permit such an aquarium or museum to charge, an admission fee. Any such aquarium or museum, however, shall be open without charge, when accompanied by a teacher, to the children in actual attendance upon grades kindergarten through twelve in any of the schools in this State at all times.”
If you have a group that exceeds 175, please divide into two or more groups with separate registrations for each.
We love to support educators however we can. Visit our educator hub for space resources to help supplement your classroom curriculum.
Thanks To Our Sponsors
The Adler Planetarium is grateful to Bank of America, the IDP Foundation, the Knowles Foundation, and Discover Financial Services, Inc. for supporting field trips.
Your all-access pass to our universe!