Alan ‘Ferris’ Ward’s Day Off pt1


Now, on my previous blog post, I made the point of saying that Chicago is my new favourite City to visit in the States. Quite a bold statement some might say, but at the point of writing that, I had just completed my 4th day in the city, I had done the Skydeck and just finished 12 hours on the go, taking in the 3 doozy museum’s covered later in this piece.

I got the City pass and after a fair swatcher on Goggle Maps, the fact 3 attractions are all side by side is a massive bonus. If I get out early, I can hit all 3 and have some change to spare for a late tea and a hockey game – Go Pens!!

Adler Planetarium

First stop is the planetarium. Not just cos it the farest away and I can work my way back. There are school buses around and most have hit the Shedd first. It’s a fantastic day yet again and the clear blue water is enticing me to jump in. Once in and queue jumped, i’m booked in for a couple of shows, but I have some time for a wander around.

I’m following the map which starts with Capt. Jim Lovell and the States first mission to the Moon. This leads into massive displays detailing information about all the planets and moons in our Solar System. There are a couple of areas specifically for kids and in fairness, the whole place is well suited for young, enquiring minds. With that said, before I looked at the board I tried to name the planets from the sun in order and i seriously struggled. The first floor rounds off with some intriguing detail about Astronomy in Culture and through the ages. Fascinating to think that some smart people some 200-300 years ago, with fairly basic instruments, were able to determine so much about our place in the Universe.

As i go up to floors 2 & 3, the place keeps getting better and better. Interesting stuff on what approaches scientists are taking now to define worlds and help you and me to virtually explore the universe. There’s a doozy exhibit on the Atwood Sphere and the night sky as it appeared in 1913. A ‘from the big bang’ and how it formed our world to date and the extraordinary beauty and technology of some of the world’s most important telescopes called ‘Through the looking Glass.’

If I thought that was great, my mind was about to be well and truly blown. I had signed up for 2 shows. I kick off with Destination Solar System in the Grainger Sky Theater. It’s an interactive dome full of ground level seats, that are tilted back somewhat, to help you see all sides of the dome, incl the top. It has a bit of a disneyland feel with a young chap playing the role of a first time space traveller, but its interactive and the kids (including Wardy), love it, love it, love it!

It takes from from the inside view of a spaceship, to the sun, to our moon, to the Rings of Saturn and back to Earth again. It publicised as a ‘Family friendly space adventure set in 2096 – A fast-paced tour of our cosmic neighborhood.’

The second blew my mind if I am being honest. It was called Skywatch Live, where again it was interactive and your looking up at the stars and constellations. They show you the sky at that time, then turn down the city lights and see the constellations as they appear at night.

Did you know that City Lights, have a direct impact on how you and me see the stars!

They walk you through the Big Bear, The Plough, The Little Bear and Casio Watch, telling you the history behind them all and what to look for. They talk about what a star is and how many they are and how the Milky Way Bar is made up. It blew my mind and somewayhow, I came out wanting to go buy a telescope and get into this stuff.

You come to Chicago, you have to come here brothers and sisters. I went to two shows, but there are 6 in total you can go see, each lasts about 20-25 mins and you could spend a whole day here. £ hours was my max as i have other places to go and Sharks to meet.






3 thoughts on “Alan ‘Ferris’ Ward’s Day Off pt1

  1. Entertaining as ever, Alan, and glad you’re enjoying Chicago and its suitably windy weather – but I read some of the small print in the exhibit photos and there are (at least) two things I don’t understand: how the universe being ‘flat’ can be compared to an inflating balloon, and why would anybody build an observatory on top of a dormant volcano? Dormant isn’t the same as extinct!


    1. Ahh, the old 2D v 3D debate brother. They talk about the universe expanding, however, if it is, we can only see it happening from our reference point ‘Earth’. If you inflate a balloon bigger and bigger, the surface area gets flatter and hence it is argued the Universe could be ‘flat’. If you did not know the Earth was round, you could easily believe it was flat. From what I learned – There was the Big Bang, when the universe underwent an extremely brief and dramatic period of inflation, expanding faster than the speed of light, until those bad boys dark matter smoothened it out. They used a word ‘homogeneous’, but I don’t know its meaning. **What I did find amusing was a graphic of the universe, big bang to date, in the form of a cylinder, which looked like a graphic once used in a SSE ‘future of Sales’ presentation, when they talked about call waiting call backs.**


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