The Adler Planetarium is one of the many, many museums downtown and this month it is having a ton of free days for Illinois residents. Lucky for me yesterday was one of them, I had the day off, and am an Illinois resident. Obviously I took advantage.
I used to love the Planetarium when I was kid. It was my favorite field trip, the one I looked forward to all year long. The shows were the best part. Leaning back in my chair and getting lost in the fake sky always made me wonder about what was out there, made me want to pursue being an astronaut even though I had no interest in science. The chance to go back literally made me giddy.
As with most museums, the Adler has tons of exhibits for kids. While I didn’t get into the actual play-land designed for kids, I did take advantage of some of the other childlike games set up around the center. The first, and the hardest to try out, was the Lunar Leap.
It was this device created to simulate how heavy you would on the moon. You lay down on this thing and then push up. The laying-down-thingy is on an incline, so it’s tough work. The exhibit was open to anyone and I really wanted to try it out but felt embarrassed about being in such a compromising position in a public place. That and when I walked up no one was using it so I really didn’t know what I would be getting in to. But wanting to try it and knowing I shouldn’t pass up the risk, I climbed on. It was cool and I giggled all the way through it. At least my shirt didn’t come up like the woman next to me.
I continued the childlike wonder with a create your own crater game. There was already a guy up there when I walked up and, seeing me looking, he struck up a conversation. We waited for the path to clear and then he let me launch the crater. I wasn’t expected the big pop and yelped a bit. Laughing and embarrassed, I slunk away.
It immediately became apparent to me that I had to see a show. The only way I was going to adequately relive my childhood joys was to see a show in the dome. It was awesome! I stared up in awe and sighed loudly. It always reminds me of how small I am, how I’m a simple little blip in the grand scheme.
When I left I felt lighter, more focused. Things seemed to shift into prospective and I suddenly felt a sense of relief at the insignificance of all the day to day drama that sometimes seems to be so important.
I love planetariums.