We offer various educational programs for school field trips, Scout troops, day care groups, park recreation, civic groups, and others.
Our World of Science lectures provides a monthly forum in which a local scientist discusses his or her specialties.
Enjoy weekend public Planetarium shows for residents of all ages. Explore this website for descriptions of our current shows. See our calendar for what's playing.
A "Bonus" World of Science talk on May 3, 7pm
The Staerkel Planetarium welcomes UI Physicist Dr. Paul Debevec to the dome for a talk on "Understanding the Energy Challenge." The world runs on fossil fuels. However, fossil fuels won’t last forever, even though technological advances in fossil fuel extraction may extend the resource. This makes renewable energy a must for the future. The connection between fossil fuel use, environmental damage, and climate change should drive a more rapid transition, but the route is blocked by many challenges. In his planetarium talk, Debevec and the audience will search for solutions: How can we drive cars and trucks without gasoline or generate electricity without coal or natural gas? How can we have enough energy for a growing and developing world population? The sun and the wind provide options, but when the sun does not shine and the wind does not blow, what’s next?
"Music from the Magellanic Clouds" from "Sound Source 6" May 3, 8:30pm
The improvisatory collective Sound Source 6 will “generate experimental musical soundscapes of ethereal, chaotic, serene and explosive qualities, reflective of the primal forces at work deep within the Magellanic Clouds.” Enjoy fleeting one-of-a-kind performances of pure sound as the planetarium improvises images on the dome to support the sound. Join us for this love concert . . .all on laptop computers! All tickets $5 at the door (sorry, no doubleheader discounts)
Violent Universe opens May 3-4 at 8pm
The beauty of a starlit sky conceals violent forces at work within our universe. From the upheaval of a giant star that explodes to black holes, to a possible encounter between the Earth and a large asteroid that is too close for comfort, we will witness the forces that hold the universe together and occasionally try to rip it apart. Narrated by Patrick Stewart of Star Trek: The Next Generation and the X-Men films. Admission is $5 adults; $4 students, seniors and children under 12, available at the door.
"Sesame Street" returns to the dome on May 4!
See "One World, One Sky: Big Bird's Adventure"
Explore the night sky with our friends from Sesame StreetTM. Join Big Bird, Elmo, and Hu Hu Zhu as they take an imaginary trip to the Moon. See how the Moon is different from the Earth and learn how to find the Big Dipper and North Star from your backyard. This interactive show for young children was co-produced by the Adler Planetarium, Sesame Workshop, the Beijing Planetarium, and Liberty Science Center. Admission is $5 adults; $4 students, seniors and children under 12, available at the door.
Take to the air with "Flight Adventures!" See the calendar for show times!
Discover the science of flight through the eyes of a young girl and her grandfather as they explore how birds, kites, planes, and models fly. Learn about the history and future of flight and how NASA is discovering new and safer ways to travel with the help of future engineers and aviators—like you! Join us in this collaboration with the Chanute Air Museum in Rantoul! Make a foam plate glider!
Summer matinees coming this June!
Beginning the week of June 11, the planetarium will suspend Saturday programming and add Tuesday & Thursday matinees. Come see our Sesame Street show at 1pm on Tuesdays and 10am Thursdays, then see "Flight Adventures" at 2pm on Tuesdays and "Solar System Safari" at 11am on Thursdays. See our calendar for a full schedule!
Special shows coming up!
What to do when the kids are out of school? Bring them to the planetarium! We'll have a special "School Improvement Day" matinees on Wednesday, May 8 when you can see "Flight Adventures" at 2pm. Regular ticket prices apply.We salute our moms on the May 10-11 weekend as moms get in free with a paying kid!