Writing this blog has given my husband and I some great opportunities. We have gotten vacuum cleaners, strollers, cleaning products and snacks. We have even been given brand new cars to take on vacations. But what I have been trying to get for a while now finally arrived: a nice family trip. The people from Adler Planetarium invited my whole family up to Chicago for a weekend to learn about the universe the cosmos and everything under the sun. Well… actually everything above the sun too. And around the sun. And…. Well, you get the idea!
The Adler Planetarium is America’s first ever Planetarium, opening in the 1930’s. It continues to lead the way today with the creation of their newest show, “Welcome to the Universe” shown in the Grainger Sky Theater, the most technologically-advanced theater in the world. This shows start with a view of the night sky and brings you way out into space, only to look back on where you came from; Earth. Looking back at Earth gives you the unique experience to see our home planet from that perspective. Then the trip will have you zipping around the moon and flying through canyons on Mars. You will get tour of the Milky Way and beyond, learning about how large the Universe really is.
We drove into Chicago early on Saturday afternoon and checked into the Swissotel right down the street from the Navy Pier. The location was unbelievable the view was breathtaking. We even saw the presidential helicopter flying by. We had heard he was in town as well, although probably for a different reason than we were!
By the time we got checked into the hotel, we didn’t have enough time to make it to the Adler Planetarium that afternoon. So we walked around Chicago and ate at Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria. As a family used to the suburbs, it was really neat to tote around a major city. It didn’t take long at all until we were used to the tall buildings, the crowds and all of the noise.
We got a good night’s sleep in a beautiful hotel room and woke up early the next morning to head to the Adler Planetarium. The Adler Planetarium is conveniently located right on the shores of Lake Michigan on the beautiful museum campus. The planetarium itself was very easy to find and parking was a very convenient, short walk away. You can also take the water taxi (Shoreline Sightseeing) from Navy Pier to the Field Museum which is a short walk away.
The staff was extremely helpful, kind and courteous from the first moment we were there. At the ticket counter as soon as we walked in, they explained everything we would need to know to get to most out of our visit. We didn’t have too much time and Jonah had made it clear that he wanted to see the show, “One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure”. We were given great directions from the staff on how to get to the theater and, once there, were again impressed by everyone working there. The staff at the theater made every effort to help my family out to make us comfortable. Caroline, my 3-month-old that never, ever cries…. Well… she started screaming her head off right as the show was about to start. The staff was so helpful getting me out of the theater so that I wouldn’t bother anyone else. My husband and Jonah stayed in to watch the show. My husband said he spent half the time watching the show and the other half watching Jonah, who was completely delighted by the whole experience. My son’s head was constantly whipping around to catch everything happening on the huge screen surrounding him. The show is about Big Bird and Elmo meeting a friend from China named Hu Hu Zhu. Together, they learn about the Big Dipper, the North Star, the sun and the moon. They also learn that we all share the same sky and that, despite the fact we are from different places, we are all joined by the cosmos. Jonah absolutely loved it. It was fun, informative and just the right length to hold his attention.
After the show, we had a little bit of time to tour the rest of the planetarium. Everything was very kid friendly and there was plenty to see and do between screening times if you have gone there mostly just to see the shows. Jonah especially liked the spaceship you can climb up into and simulate a launch, or a “blast off” as Jonah calls it.
We have so many amazing photos from our trip that we couldn’t possibly show them all here in this post. You can see more pictures in our Facebook Album HERE.
We were so thankful for our chance to experience this weekend. Thanks so much to Adler Planetarium. It is wonderful that locations like this exist. They are there to educate and entertain everyone from children to senior citizens. If you are in Chicago or planing a visit soon, I definitely recommend you spending some time there. You won’t regret it.
Be sure to check back next week to hear more about our fantastic trip to Chicago and our stay at the Swissotel as well as our water taxi adventure and dinner at Malnati’s Pizzeria!
A huge thank you to Alder Planetarium and partners for putting us up in a hotel room as well as admission into the planetarium. All opinions are mine!