Logistics and FAQ

Field Trips at the Adler Planetarium

Bus Scholarships

Through the generosity of the William McDaniel Charitable Foundation, the Adler Planetarium is pleased to offer bus scholarships for field trips to the museum.

Schools must meet the following criteria:

  1. Part of the Chicago Public School system. Unfortunately, we cannot offer scholarships to private or suburban schools at this time.
  2. At least 51% of students must be classified as Low Income with the CPS Office of Research, Evaluation, and Accountability.

Schools may request funding for a maximum of two buses per school year.  There are a limited number of scholarships available and they are distributed on a first come, first served basis.

Questions? Please email busscholarship@adlerplanetarium.org.

**Please note that funding for the 2018-2019 school year has been allocated.

2019-2020 school year applications for the McDaniel Bus Scholarship program will be accepted starting September 3, 2019.

The application consists of an online form, a letter of intent on CPS letterhead, and proof of low-income status.

The Adler Planetarium is grateful to the William McDaniel Charitable Foundation for supporting bus scholarships. 

Adler Field Trip Logistical Resources

Length of Field Trip

The length of field trips varies from group to group, depending on how you choose to spend your time with programs, shows, and exhibits. Generally, a field trip to the Adler Planetarium is two to three hours in length. Visit our Plan Your Trip webpage for resources to help you plan your visit.


Students in the museum must be supervised at all times. Teachers and adult chaperones must stay with students while in the building, both to monitor behavior and to ensure students’ safety.

All groups with children between preschool and high school are required to have chaperones:

Preschool – Grade 3 = at least 1 chaperone for every 7 students
Grades 4 – 12 = at least 1 chaperone for every 10 students

However, we encourage you to bring 1 chaperone for every 5 students at any grade level to have the best experience. All chaperones included in your advance reservation will receive chaperone rates.*


  • Groups without the required number of chaperones will not be admitted to the museum.
  • *Recruit chaperones in advance. Chaperones not included in your reservation must pay full-price admission and show fees on the day of your visit.
Group Size

Minimum group size is 15 and maximum group size is 125, which includes everyone in your group: students, teachers, and adult chaperones.


Lunch space is extremely limited and must be reserved in advance. Students may not carry lunches into exhibits.

Lunch Option 1: Bring Your Own


  • Place student lunches all together in boxes or coolers labeled with your school name. Lunches that are boxed together are less likely to get lost or misplaced. When you arrive, we will collect your boxes or coolers and keep them in the lunchroom until your assigned lunchtime.
  • Your group will be assigned a 20-minute lunchtime. Please arrive at the lunchroom a few minutes early. Unfortunately, if you are late or miss your lunchtime, we won’t be able to give you additional time as other groups will be waiting to use the lunch space.
  • Due to space limitations, backpacks and coats cannot be stored with lunches. Backpacks and coats should either be left on your bus or carried through the museum.

If it’s a nice day, consider eating your bag lunches outside picnic-style in the park area around the museum. This gives you greater flexibility with your schedule and timing.

Lunch options 2: Buy Lunch in Galileo’s Café

Depending on the size of your group, you may buy lunches to eat in the Adler’s on-site café—Galileo’s Café. Several lunch options are available for groups. Please contact Café Manager Lupe Solis at (312) 322-0310 for more information and to make a Café reservation.


  • Only groups with reservations will be allowed into the Café
  • Café lunches must be paid for in advance of your visit
  • Café seating is for Café customers only
Pricing and Payment

Full payment is due TWO weeks before your visit. No deposit is required at the time of booking, unless you are visiting less than two weeks from the time of scheduling (in which case full payment is due at the time of scheduling).

If payment is not received within TWO weeks of your visit, your reservation will be canceled.

School Group Pricing: September – June

General AdmissionFirst ShowEach Additional Show
Illinois School StudentFree$7.00$3.00
Illinois School Chaperone (with ratio of 1:7 or lower)FreeFreeFree
Out-of-State School Student$6.50$7.00$3.00
Out-of-State School Adult$10.50$7.00$3.00

NOTE: Any increase in group numbers not made TWO weeks prior to your visit date will be charged full-price admission and show fees on the day of the visit.

Groups that arrive at the museum with fewer numbers than were paid for at the time of scheduling will not receive a refund.

We accept checks and credit card payments. We do not accept purchase orders.

Please send your check to:
Adler Planetarium
Attention: Reservations Department
1300 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60605

For credit card payment, call 312-294-0364.

Arrival and Bus Drop-Off

Plan to arrive as close to your designated arrival time as possible to allow for orientation and check-in, and at least 30 minutes before your first scheduled show or program.

School buses must drop off and pick up on the north side of the Adler, in the west-bound lane of Solidarity Drive. Look for our bus drop-off and pick-up loading zone signs. Download the Group Pick-Up and Drop-Off Guide (PDF). Please print and share this guide with your bus drivers.

Buses are not permitted to stage drop-offs or pick-ups on the south side or in front of the Adler, per Chicago Police Department and Chicago Transit Authority regulations.

Please remain on your bus until an Adler staff member has greeted you and given directions for your visit. Then your group will be directed to the South Entrance, which is a 550-foot walk from the bus drop-off area. If accessible accommodations are needed, please let us know when making your reservation.

Bus Parking and Parking Fees

All parking on Museum Campus is managed by Soldier Field. Parking for school buses and individual cars is available in the lot adjacent to the Adler Planetarium near our South Entrance. The fee for school bus parking starts at $35 but can be raised by Soldier Field if a special event is taking place on Museum Campus.

Download the Group Pick-Up and Drop-Off Guide (PDF)

Parking fees are not included in your Adler group visit fees and are not collected or handled by the museum. Parking fees may be paid in cash or credit card on the day of your visit directly to Soldier Field Parking staff.

For more information on pricing and Museum Campus events, visit soldierfieldparking.com or call (312) 235-7701.

Coats and Backpacks

The Adler does not have storage space for backpacks and coats. We recommend leaving backpacks, coats, and other personal items on your school bus so that you don’t have to carry them around the museum.

Adler Store

Supervised field trip groups are welcome to visit the Adler Store. The Store contains a wide variety of items under $20, including do-it-yourself science kits, clothing, books, and toys.


The Adler Planetarium is dedicated to providing an experience that is accessible to all visitors. Our wheelchair accessible entrance is located at the South Box Office. For assistance planning your visit, specific questions, or feedback, please contact guestservices@adlerplanetarium.org.


Elevators are located throughout the museum and provide access to all floors.


Accessible restrooms are located on the mid-level in both the north and south areas of the building. There is a family restroom on the mid-level south area, just inside the Leffmann Education Center.


Each of our three theaters has designated seating for guests using wheelchairs and their companions. We offer closed captioning for all shows except Skywatch Live! on mobile devices when connected to Adler Universe WiFi and visiting Adlercaps.org.

Mobility Devices

Mobility devices are permitted in all public areas of the Museum. Manually operated wheelchairs are available free of charge at both box offices on a first-come, first-served basis with photo identification. Advance reservations are not available.

Assisted Listening Devices

The Adler provides assistive listening devices free of charge for guests that may need support hearing shows and presentations in all three theaters on a first-come, first-served basis with photo identification. Guests can learn more and check out the system at either box office.

Get quick answers to most of our frequently asked questions by browsing our Field Trip FAQ. If you still have questions, or your question isn’t covered, feel free to contact us at schools@adlerplanetarium.org.